Author: Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Young adult, Adventure, Romance, Swords, Time Travel
Pages: 309 pages
Rating: 2.5/ 3 stars
Blurb: (via Goodreads)Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.
WARNING! Some spoilers ahead. I tried to keep it to a minimum, but, well, judge for yourself.
So, I ventured a little outside my norm and took a chance on this book, and I wasn't extremely pleased with it. I picked up (or rather pick out, considering it was once again via amazon) this book when I saw the authors name on it. Carrie Vaughn, while not one of my favorite novelists, has written another series I had read (other than the last in the series which is on a To-Do List somewhere), the Kitty Norville series. (For those who are curious, and interested in Werewolf novels, you can check out this series. Not the best, but a 7/10 overall)
Anyways, because I had known who the author was, I decided to take a chance on another book she wrote. Steel, however, was nothing like her other series other than the actual style of writing, which is very hard to change in any author. I found that the overall plot of the story was very simplistic, but well thought out. The main character was annoying at times, always complaining to go home, back in the future, and I felt that the only times that I was really into her as a character was when she was in a duel or fighting with a sword.The relationship between her and other characters was lacking in development as well. I thought that the mother figure/ daughter figure aspect between her and Captain Marjory Cooper should have been developed more and that Vaughn could have done alot more with it. It was only mentioned briefly in certain aspects throughout the story. In addition, i would have loved to see the romantic relationship between her an Henry develop more. Especially in the end of the story. I felt that there was one major instance in the relationship (if you'd call it 'major') and one brief mention of it after word and, poof, that's it.
As a minor note, I wish we would have gotten more of a story about the surgeon (prisoner) on board. A back story of why he is a prisoner or how he became one. What happened to him afterward... something. He is just conveniently thrown in to hack off limbs and stitch up wounds without a story of his own. I briefly thought that maybe he and Jill were going to escape together or something would have happened on that dynamic, but, nope, nada.
Lastly, the ending. I felt that the ending was a major disappointment. She comes back to the future were she left, being pulled out of the water, no time lost, carrying the sword and a scar to prove that everything she went through wasn't just a dream or hallucination. That was basically it. The epilogue was ridiculous and I found that it gave me no closer to the story. The ending felt very abrupt and fast paced to me.
Now, I've said what I found lacking in the story in great detail, but don't let me misguide you. The fight scenes were well written and frequent and the plot of the story, while simple, was well put together. It is a short and simple read and something that I would read while waiting in line for opening night of a popular movie or on a decently long car ride. Overall, the book only took me a little under three hours to read. If you like pirates and fencing and time travel, this is a book to try out. Hey, maybe you'll like it more than I did! I'd rate the book 2.5/ 3 stars, but I didn't think that book was worth the $7 I spent on it. I have read $0.99 books on amazon that were better.