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A sparkling debut fantasy set in a diverse world, featuring dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages, and a Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society. Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Buc: Brilliant street-rat Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye. Eld: Ex-soldier Buc's partner-in-crime. No. Not in crime--in crime-solving. They've been h A sparkling debut fantasy set in a diverse world, featuring dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages, and a Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society. Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Buc: Brilliant street-rat Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye. Eld: Ex-soldier Buc's partner-in-crime. No. Not in crime--in crime-solving. They've been hired for their biggest job yet--one that will set them up for a life of ease. If they survive. Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It's been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city's trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her. Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker's ship.... Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans. Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc.


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A sparkling debut fantasy set in a diverse world, featuring dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages, and a Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society. Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Buc: Brilliant street-rat Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye. Eld: Ex-soldier Buc's partner-in-crime. No. Not in crime--in crime-solving. They've been h A sparkling debut fantasy set in a diverse world, featuring dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages, and a Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society. Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Buc: Brilliant street-rat Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye. Eld: Ex-soldier Buc's partner-in-crime. No. Not in crime--in crime-solving. They've been hired for their biggest job yet--one that will set them up for a life of ease. If they survive. Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It's been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city's trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her. Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker's ship.... Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans. Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc.

30 review for The Sin in the Steel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    The Sin In The Steel is a fantastic debut, full of twists and turns and excellent world building. "A Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society"? Sign me up! I absolutely adore when authors blend classic mystery elements with a deeply engaging fantasy world, and Ryan Van Loan didn't disappoint in either department. As a huge sucker for any book that features pirates and unique fantastical religious entities, TSITS was right up my alley. The only thing that kept me from giving this the The Sin In The Steel is a fantastic debut, full of twists and turns and excellent world building. "A Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society"? Sign me up! I absolutely adore when authors blend classic mystery elements with a deeply engaging fantasy world, and Ryan Van Loan didn't disappoint in either department. As a huge sucker for any book that features pirates and unique fantastical religious entities, TSITS was right up my alley. The only thing that kept me from giving this the full 5 stars is that the pacing in the second half of the book is noticeably slower than in the first, but there is a banging ending that left me incredibly hungry for the next installment in the series. Won via raffle on Bookish First!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Ryan Von Loan's The Sin in the Steel is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure about a wicked-smahht, pissed-off, teenage revolutionary and her damaged soldier friend who are hired by a massive trading corporation to find out why their ships are disappearing along an important trade route. Could it be mad mages? Pirates? Asshole, vengeful gods and their mad cult followers? Perhaps a combination of all three? Buc is gifted with genius intelligence but was given a shitty lot in life. An orphan, growing u Ryan Von Loan's The Sin in the Steel is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure about a wicked-smahht, pissed-off, teenage revolutionary and her damaged soldier friend who are hired by a massive trading corporation to find out why their ships are disappearing along an important trade route. Could it be mad mages? Pirates? Asshole, vengeful gods and their mad cult followers? Perhaps a combination of all three? Buc is gifted with genius intelligence but was given a shitty lot in life. An orphan, growing up on the hard city streets, Buc learned how to wield knives and use her wits to stay alive. Her destitution and rebellious attitude evolved into arrogance and disgust for the way the world is: vengeful gods, nonsensical religions, corporate sleaze, and imperial politics around every corner. So she decided to make it her life’s mission to upend the status quo and change the world. Buc reminds of a sixteen-year-old Alexander Hamilton, if Hamilton were into stabbing and mayhem. Her companion Eld is a talented but despondent soldier with a tragic past and a deep hatred for magic after being dishonorably discharged from the military. He and Buc find each other at the right moment in time, pulling each other up by their bootstraps to form a strong bond of care and support with the same mission to accomplish: overturn the hierarchy responsible for the oppression that seeps through every pore of society. The book utlizes quite a bit of humor, but since this is mostly set in a world of pirates, it's not going to be Sesame Street jokes. I quite enjoyed the constant levity as well as the different magical engineering contraptions that were peppered through the story, but there are a couple of elements that prevented me from giving this book a higher score. First, Buc’s intelligence was often overshadowed by her total arrogance and kneejerk, poor decision-making. For someone who’s supposed to be so smart, it was tough to buy into her character completely. Even though she's only sixteen and is not expected to act as rational as she had planned, it still seemed a bit off that she was unable to hold back her temper or tongue and made everything much worse. This made her downright unlikeable at times. Also, many of her successful plans were circumstancial. She's more lucky -- incredibly, unbelievably lucky -- than a brilliant planner. She has a sharp memory, but I'm not sold on her being the Sherlock Holmes of this story. There was also a noticeable slowdown of pacing towards the back half of the book, and it took me about twice as long to get through it as the first half. The end, however, pulled the various strings together nicely. The story ends on a high note, and promises some very different, interesting perspectives for the next entry. There's some weird new dynamics -- in a good way -- and some new fish to fry. (Sailor's joke! Yarrrr.) So sharpen your poignards and buckle your swashes for some foul-mouthed, high seas, sacrilegious anarchy with your favorite teenage smartass and her soul-searching, shell-shocked best pal. Ryan Van Loan's has created a world thick with intrigue in his debut novel and I get a sense that the best is yet to come.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I am privileged to be in Ryan's writing group and from his first WIP, I knew he was going to be published. I'm so happy for him that SIN IN THE STEEL--which also passed through our group--is his debut, and what a debut it is! Adventure on the high seas, magic run rampant, and a heroine with a wit sharper than a sword's edge. Be prepared to keep flipping the page with this one, folks.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shilo Quetchenbach

    DNFed at page 236. I skimmed the rest, found more of the same, and figure I've given it a fair shot for 236 pages, and if I've nothing good to say now I might as well not waste any more time on it. I was drawn in by the description and thought it looked fabulous, and so used my bookishfirst points to claim an ARC. Which I regret now, tbh. At first I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and even found myself interested in the plot as it zipped along and growing slightly fond of Buc and E DNFed at page 236. I skimmed the rest, found more of the same, and figure I've given it a fair shot for 236 pages, and if I've nothing good to say now I might as well not waste any more time on it. I was drawn in by the description and thought it looked fabulous, and so used my bookishfirst points to claim an ARC. Which I regret now, tbh. At first I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and even found myself interested in the plot as it zipped along and growing slightly fond of Buc and Eld. That quickly soured. Buc is supposed to be this Sherlock Holmes character - and in some ways she is, from her rapid mind to her drug habit. But in other ways, she really isn't. She jumps to conclusions, refuses to take care of herself (causing her more problems later) and is so sure that she's brilliant when most of her successes seem to be down to dumb luck. The sheer improbability of the events that come rapid-fire on top of one another soon made me lose what little interest in the plot I had. But those aren't my main problem. The biggest problem I have with this novel is the way it treats women. Now, you might say 'oh, but Buc is a woman! and the widowmaker as well!" and that's true. However. -Buc seems to despise all women. She even calls one a c*** to her face which strikes me as a little over the top, even with the amount of profanity and crude language in the book. -*Every* woman is beautiful and has a propensity to wear threadbare clothes and stand in front of bright lights... and has their figure described. -Buc is scrawny and several times mentions her lack of breasts and then after being so ill she loses weight she thinks about how it all goes on her butt and now even that curve is lessened. She really doesn't come off as a street rat here. -Aaaaaand the hints of romance. -The ARC has a sticker indicating the ages are wrong and Buc is 17 and Eld 19 in the finished copy. Which would be fine but in the ARC they’re 16 and nearly 22 which is a bit... uncomfortable. The ages are also brought up repeatedly so I'm not sure how much they changed in the finished copy. -Not only that, but Eld apparently rescued Buc from the streets when he was 19 and she 14. He wonders if he's a lecher for falling for her. Immediately afterward, she assures him 'age is just a number.' It just comes off as creepy in a lot of places tbh and I have wasted enough of my life reading this improbable and uncomfortable book. *thanks to bookishfirst and the publisher for an ARC

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Epic Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* The Sin in the Steel is the first novel in author Ryan Van Loan's The Fall of Gods series. It is also the authors debut novel. 17-year old Sambuciña (Buc) Alhurra is a smart, arrogant, and witty character who grew up living on the streets of Servenza not knowing who her parents were. For the past 2 years, she's been partnered with Eldritch (Eld) Rawlings a talented soldier she rescued who has a tragic past and a deep hatred for magic. T *Source* Publisher *Genre* Epic Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* The Sin in the Steel is the first novel in author Ryan Van Loan's The Fall of Gods series. It is also the authors debut novel. 17-year old Sambuciña (Buc) Alhurra is a smart, arrogant, and witty character who grew up living on the streets of Servenza not knowing who her parents were. For the past 2 years, she's been partnered with Eldritch (Eld) Rawlings a talented soldier she rescued who has a tragic past and a deep hatred for magic. The pair have worked together solving cases thought unsolvable. One of their cases ends with Buc and Eld being summoned by the Kanadas Trading Company. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    *4.5 This was genuinely so fun and exactly what I needed right now. Adventure! Pirates! Ships! Sarcasm and snark! A compelling duo! Really looking forward to seeing how this world will expand in future books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    The Sin in the Steel is a very pirate-y adventure story about two friends/amateur detectives (Buc and Eld) who are hired by one of the big trading companies to find out why their ships carrying sugar have been disappearing. This is a game changer for the duo, and if they succeed the results could be life-changing. Of course, nothing goes as planned as our protagonists are in for the ride of their life. Author Ryan Van Loan has hit a home run with The Sin in the Steel, the first in the The Fall of The Sin in the Steel is a very pirate-y adventure story about two friends/amateur detectives (Buc and Eld) who are hired by one of the big trading companies to find out why their ships carrying sugar have been disappearing. This is a game changer for the duo, and if they succeed the results could be life-changing. Of course, nothing goes as planned as our protagonists are in for the ride of their life. Author Ryan Van Loan has hit a home run with The Sin in the Steel, the first in the The Fall of the Gods series. I enjoyed just about everything about this book: the characters are easy to connect with, the world building is interesting, the plot is a whole lot of fun, and there are plenty of surprises to keep things fresh. Character-wise, the main character, Buc, is absolutely amazing. Not afraid to say what is on her mind, she is snarky and brash and has so many great one-liners. Buc's dialogue was so much fun I just kept a constant drumroll going on in my head. I also love that her weapon of choice is a slingshot, which might sound weak to you, but Buc has no qualm telling you why it is the best weapon to have on hand. She is clever and witty and has an intriguing backstory, too, which not only adds depth to her character and guides her decisions, but also has a larger effect on the overall narrative, as well. Buc also has a love for libraries, and I think we would probably be BFFs IRL (though she is so anti that she would probably reject that I just said that). Eld is the other protagonist, and Buc's partner in crime. We do not get much of Eld's backstory, just that he is a few years older than Buc and was there for her when she needed it. Eld has a much more calm demeanor, more pensive, less sharp of tongue. More of a Yin to Buc's Yang, Eld creates much-needed balance in a story that Buc threatens to spin out of control at times (though, he does not always succeed). The relationship between and Buc and Eld is one of the best aspects of the book. The rest of the cast of characters are really intriguing, as well. Chan Sha is another main-ish character that gains importance as the story goes on. She is the captain of a pirate ship Buc and Eld encounter. There are also gods and demi-gods (i think? more about that later), mages, scores of undead, plus others that I do not wish to mention out of fear of spoiling some things. For me, this is a very character-driven story, and the author has done a great job of creating a unique, diverse, balanced, and interesting character set that carried this book all the way through. Though I read the synopsis before picking up the book, I was still surprised at the direction of the plot. It turns out, this book is a sea adventure! And a fun one at that, with big ships, crazy crew members, pirates, people being made to walk the plank, lost islands, sword fights, and sea battles complete with cannons and mortars. The narrative was basically non-stop, cover-to-cover action. I was grateful for that, because Buc and Eld are so energetic that they deserve a plot with intensity to match. That is exactly what they got - a dynamic sea adventure worthy of their enthusiasm. I mentioned the world-building before, and I do find the world in this book intriguing. There are big trading companies that control commerce, and this is the backdrop for a haves-to-have-nots dynamic. You kind of get what you expect from that atmosphere: gangs fighting for power, pirates making a living on the sea, and people who pay for protection. There is also a situation with Gods and Demi-Gods, I think, that are in business with mages who use magic to assert a certain amount of control over the world. This was one of the drawbacks for me, as I did not quite understand this dynamic. They actually play a large role in the story, but their relationship to this world was unclear to me. I will say, it looks like the series sets it up for book 2 to explore that connection more. The Sin in the Steel is a fun book with great characters and a whole lot of adventure. It gets my recommendation for fans of fantasy, and for those looking for their next great maritime read, this is it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    Let a man think you weak, let him think you vulnerable, and he’ll never see the blade until it’s planted in his ribs. On my blog. Rep: lesbian side character CWs: violence, gore Galley provided by publisher You know those books where you can see there is a lot to like, and you do, to an extent, like it, but at the same time it’s not quite for you? That was The Sin in the Steel for me. The story follows Buc and Eld, a Sherlock and Watson-type pairing, who are somewhat coerced into solving the m Let a man think you weak, let him think you vulnerable, and he’ll never see the blade until it’s planted in his ribs. On my blog. Rep: lesbian side character CWs: violence, gore Galley provided by publisher You know those books where you can see there is a lot to like, and you do, to an extent, like it, but at the same time it’s not quite for you? That was The Sin in the Steel for me. The story follows Buc and Eld, a Sherlock and Watson-type pairing, who are somewhat coerced into solving the mystery of why a trading company’s ships are not returning to port. In doing so, they uncover a war between gods and mages, and zombie pirates (!!!). So first up, what’s good about this book? The worldbuilding. The world that Van Loan has created is so interesting, from the locations to the mythos and everything in between, and particularly how it all interacts. I feel like I say this about a lot of fantasy novels at the moment (possibly because it does feel like we’re going through a real glut of creative worldbuilding), but it was probably one of the most interesting I’ve read. The mystery. Give me a mystery and I’ll love it. Give me a mystery combined with another genre (e.g. sci fi, fantasy, historical) and I will enjoy it even more. And the mystery-slash-adventure here was definitely a good one. It’s fast-paced and exciting, and there are zombie pirates so… A definite win. The found family. I love a good found family, and Buc and Eld definitely provide that. And the combination of Buc who is prickly and argumentative with Eld who is, generally, kind-hearted and slow to anger (except when it involves someone threatening Buc). Beautiful. The voice. Buc’s narrative voice was so distinctive, I loved that about it. There were a few other POVs in the book, but Buc’s voice stood out above all (not only because it was first person I mean). And it reminded me a whole lot of that scene in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, where Arthur is describing (lying about) his day to the captain of the guard. But a quick note also on why it didn’t work for me. Firstly, as much as I liked the relationship between Buc and Eld, they were 16 and 22 respectively and I couldn’t get past that (didn’t help I kept getting reminded of it either). Yeah, so it’s fantasy, it’s a different world and all, but that age gap was just a no from me. Secondly, while Buc’s voice was distinctive, it also came to grate on me just the slightest. I think it’s a book I needed to spend time on rather than trying to race through. But overall, it was a solid debut, and an author I will be looking out for more from.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melliane

    >Mon avis en Français My English review I must admit that the synopsis of this novel attracted me immediately. When I saw the mention of pirates, mages and detective, it didn’t take much to make me read it! Buc and Eld are two acolytes who didn’t think they had to deal with blackmail. Indeed, captured in an unfortunate situation, they have no choice but to work for a powerful young woman who wants to understand why ships no longer return to port. Between that and death, our heroes quickly choose >Mon avis en Français My English review I must admit that the synopsis of this novel attracted me immediately. When I saw the mention of pirates, mages and detective, it didn’t take much to make me read it! Buc and Eld are two acolytes who didn’t think they had to deal with blackmail. Indeed, captured in an unfortunate situation, they have no choice but to work for a powerful young woman who wants to understand why ships no longer return to port. Between that and death, our heroes quickly choose to leave in search of answers. Yet they may well discover a lot of trouble at the same time. I had a great time with the story and our heroes. Buc is a smartass and Eld is more settled. They’re about to be thrust into a story that’s bigger than they are and attract the attention of the Gods. I was curious to see how they were going to cope and I must say the whole thing was very nice. A new novel to discover!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan Beamon

    Here we have a rip roaring adventure tale, set maybe on this planet centuries in the future or on another planet entirely. I tend to lean toward the first, but it doesn't make much difference to the story. We are presented with two teenagers, one a military veteran and the other a super smart "street rat". The young man Eld was a soldier for a while. After he left, he met Buc, and they have been together as friends ever since. Before we go any further, I liked this story. It was filled with with Here we have a rip roaring adventure tale, set maybe on this planet centuries in the future or on another planet entirely. I tend to lean toward the first, but it doesn't make much difference to the story. We are presented with two teenagers, one a military veteran and the other a super smart "street rat". The young man Eld was a soldier for a while. After he left, he met Buc, and they have been together as friends ever since. Before we go any further, I liked this story. It was filled with with all kinds of action. There are Gods. There are Mages who are connected to a particular God for their power. There are pirates. Who doesn't love pirates? There are walking, fighting corpses which are not zombies. I really got into it. I do have a couple of things that pulled me out of the story. The ages of the main characters were a problem for me. Keeping Buc at 17 makes it easier to call this a YA book. Making Eld 19 presents even more problems. Buc gets to go first. She takes drugs to "slow her mind down". Okay, she has a bad case of ADHD and had discovered a way to self-medicate. This is a good thing for her. She doesn't abuse the drug she takes. She is 14 when she first meets Eld. They form a fast friendship and have many adventures. Plus he teaches her how to read. She had been living on the streets, meaning she lies, steals, uses whatever comes to hand to survive. She is not an innocent. She should be in her early 20's, at least 4 to 5 years older than listed. By the way, most people who have read the number of books Buc is credited with reading after the age of 14 have taken more than 3 years to do it, especially when they are also earning a living and solving mysteries like Buc is reported to have done. Now we come to Eld. How do you even say that combination of letters? It's actually worse when you learn in his full first name, the l and the d are in different syllables. That is minor, though, when I consider his age. He is supposed to be 19. Originally, he was older, but that made the age difference noticeable and upset some readers. This means he met Buc when he was 16. It's possible, but Eld is a younger son of an important, possible noble, family. He is a veteran. He lead men fighting in military action. Anybody but me getting the idea of child soldiers? Ignore that. Based on what I remember of medieval noble families, sons started learning to be squires between 10 and 12. They didn't actually gain that rank for 2 to 4 years. Maybe a fast learner in a liberal family would be ready to be a junior knight by the time he was 17. Even then, he would not be leading troops into battle. He would have had a senior officer with him. And we have Eld as having done all that and "retired" from it by the time he's 16. Eld is too young. Other than that, the world building is imaginative. The Gods are interesting as they could be aliens or super computer AIs. There might be some kind of genetic modification done to Mages, considering the ability of some to regenerate. I guess we'll find out which when The Artifact is found. Which bring us to what this adventure story is all about. This is a quest and The Artifact is the prize. We are not told any more about it than it is something the Gods are looking for. They do not know where it is. They are counting on their Mages to find it. That is where Buc and Eld come in, although they don't know finding The Artifact is What they were really hired to do. They have their own plans, somehow involving changing the economic structure of their world. I look forward to the next book in the series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle

    The Sin in the Steel // by Ryan Van Loan Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Synopsis: Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It’s been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city’s trading companies but th The Sin in the Steel // by Ryan Van Loan Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Synopsis: Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It’s been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city’s trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her. Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker's ship…. Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans. Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc. I cannot believe that this is the author's debut novel. I was hooked on this story as soon as it started and am in love with the two main characters, Buc and Eld. The setting has a Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it with a modern twist as well as magic. A big difference though is that men and women seem to be seen as equals, holding high ranking positions in companies and what are seen as male-dominated spaces usually, such as the captain of a ship. This itself is a huge reason why I enjoyed the setup. There are also several times where the men of the story have no issue looking at two of the main female characters as the smartest people in the room. Despite the focus on the strength of the characters (especially the women) though, it was also nice to see those same characters recognize their weaknesses as well. It made them seem even more realistic.The only thing I was not top sure about was Buc's age. Even with a brilliant mind, that does seem very young. I loved the story itself just as much as the characters and the setting. Being a bookworm myself, I enjoyed the many references to the books that Buc has read and how she uses that knowledge to her advantage during their adventures. Eld, being only a little older than her, seems to have years of experience on her and uses his own military training to their advantage as well, despite the fact that he does not like to talk about it. the story moves along at a steady pace with a lot of action happening throughout the entire book. It was fun to be able to decipher the problems along with Buc, though I do have to admit that I am not nearly as smart as her and was unable to predict several things in this book, which is not something I am used to in these types of stories. I especially enjoyed the part of the story that resulted in the name of this book! Thank you to the author, publisher, and BookishFirst for providing me with a free copy of this fantastic book. Again, I cannot believe that this is Van Ryan's debut novel! I really hope I will be able to snag an ARC for the next book in this series as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graceley Knox

    One of my favorite partner in cime/crime-fighting is Sherlock and Watson... so if you're a fan of them, definitely add this one to your TBR! I was interested in this book when I saw “heroes for hire.” Then I met Buc, who’s too smart for her own good, and I couldn’t put it down! I received an ARC copy of this book from Tor, but that did not impact my review!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received The Sin in the Steel in exchange for a fair and honest review. The Sin in the Steel is the first novel in The Fall of the Gods series by Ryan Van Loan. It's a series that mixes many elements together in order to create something fun an exciting. Pirates, magic, dead gods can all be found. Oh and a Sherlockian twist as well. Buc is a prodigy, plain and simple. She grew up as a street rat, but once handed an ounce of knowledge she suddenly couldn't get enough of it. With the ex-soldier I received The Sin in the Steel in exchange for a fair and honest review. The Sin in the Steel is the first novel in The Fall of the Gods series by Ryan Van Loan. It's a series that mixes many elements together in order to create something fun an exciting. Pirates, magic, dead gods can all be found. Oh and a Sherlockian twist as well. Buc is a prodigy, plain and simple. She grew up as a street rat, but once handed an ounce of knowledge she suddenly couldn't get enough of it. With the ex-soldier Eld taking care of her, keeping her safe while she developed her mind, it felt like she was unstoppable. Now Buc and Eld have been tasked to solve a crime, under penalty of death if they fail. All they have to do is take on pirates, the infamous Widowmaker, and maybe a dead god or two. No big deal, right? “But while the world may be driven by knowledge, it runs on gold. The hard kind. And if my plans were to succeed, that was the kind of leverage I needed. I saw my chance, placed my wager, and took my seat at the table.” The Sin in the Steel is a brilliant and fast-paced read, one that you're not going to want to put down. At least, I know I didn't! I loved all of the themes that went into this book, but especially the combination of pirate vibes and Sherlockian logic. It made for something fun and different. Buc is the highlight of the novel, without a doubt. She's a brilliant mind, one that sometimes has too much processing all at once. I felt like this aspect was portrayed very nicely. That she grew up on the streets isn't forgotten, though it does make her love of reading all the more impressive. The world and magic within were absolutely fascinating. I would honestly read a dozen more books set in this world, and still feel like there was more to learn. For that reason, I am very much looking forward to any and all sequels. The Sherlockian elements were fun, and on the whole, pretty well done. I wouldn't have minded seeing just a touch more of that, as clearly Buc has a brilliant mind. Albeit it frequently felt like that mind was doing a better job of getting her into more trouble than anything (sound familiar?). I actually adore that other elements were pulled from Sherlock, instead of just his wits and need to solve mysteries. It's refreshing. Even if it sometimes results with people wanting to strangle Buc. I should probably mention one thing: the ages in the ARC I read are different from the ages in the finished book. Knowing that going into this read made a major difference (especially if looking at other reviews is any indication). The relationship between Buc and Eld is not nearly so creepy. Though it does take the edge off some of their age-related jokes, for good or for ill. I'm curious to see where this story is going to lead in the long run. It feels like whatever Buc has started will eventually change her world, on a smaller and more personal scale as well as on a much grander one. Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  14. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    Very well-defined characters make The Sin in the Steel an enjoyable read. Though, I did not care for the heroine, Buc (short for Sambuciña). She is said to be 16 years old, but acts more like 36. I thought she was a sociopath. Exhibiting few emotions, Buc believes she was always right and loves manipulating people. She also believes in success at any cost, despite her humble beginnings and her wish to change to world into something better. I did love that she practically drooled over books. On t Very well-defined characters make The Sin in the Steel an enjoyable read. Though, I did not care for the heroine, Buc (short for Sambuciña). She is said to be 16 years old, but acts more like 36. I thought she was a sociopath. Exhibiting few emotions, Buc believes she was always right and loves manipulating people. She also believes in success at any cost, despite her humble beginnings and her wish to change to world into something better. I did love that she practically drooled over books. On the flip side, I did not care for the corporate who didn’t care how many books Buc carted out her library. I mean, who treats books which such an offhand manner? Buc’s companion, Eld, is pretty cool. He has honor, courage, and steadfastness. He needs a bigger role. I hope in future installments, Eld will become a stronger character and temper Buc’s less desirable traits. Eld was the only character I had any kind of sympathy for. However, Eld’s role as second banana means my sympathy is not enough to make me really love this book. Chan Sha, also known as the Widowmaker, is an engaging pirate captain. She may be more than just a pirate. She has been targeting the Ghost Captain, also known as the Dead Walker. Chan Sha forms a tenuous alliance with Buc and Eld. Emphasis on the word ‘tenuous’. And through it all, there is magic. Magic comes from the gods. Dead and living gods. By the way, there seems to be a war between the gods. Power struggles between the gods is kind of like today’s power struggles. Success at any cost. Pay no mind to the people who get trampled. The Sin in the Steel is a swashbuckler. There are ships, pirates and blades. The Sin in the Steel is a horror story. There are zombies, aka, Shambles. The Sin in the Steel is a fantasy with dead gods and live gods going up against each other. As I read this book, I kept thinking – All this would make a pretty exciting action adventure film. Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ksandra

    4/5 Stars Two ruffians for hire. Missing shipments belonging to a very powerful group. Old and New Gods locked in a battle for millennia. What could go wrong? This novel was a whirlwind of a story. Every time the characters think they know what they are getting into, something more happens. I very much enjoyed that there was no simple answer to the mysteries laid before Buc and Eld. The complexities were intriguing but not over the top. Since I had received an ARC of this novel, there was a matter 4/5 Stars Two ruffians for hire. Missing shipments belonging to a very powerful group. Old and New Gods locked in a battle for millennia. What could go wrong? This novel was a whirlwind of a story. Every time the characters think they know what they are getting into, something more happens. I very much enjoyed that there was no simple answer to the mysteries laid before Buc and Eld. The complexities were intriguing but not over the top. Since I had received an ARC of this novel, there was a matter of their ages since there was a bit of a love story trying to brew. However, I think it was good on the author to make Buc and Eld closer in age-17 and 19 respectively, as opposed to the original 16 and 22. Had the author stuck with the original ages, I would have loved a more sibling esque relationship as opposed to romantic inclinations. Where this story left off leaves many questions, but thankfully that just tempts me to buy the second book once its published. I love when the unanswered questions roll around in my mind so I can make inferences and hypotheses before the next novel. I cannot wait for more. Disclaimer: Thanks to BookishFirst I received an ARC to read

  16. 5 out of 5

    Penny lurkykitty

    The main characters Buc and Eld have a Sherlock-Watson kind of vibe. Buc is a genius street rat who loves to read, and needs to slow her mind down with drugs to stop it from racing. Eld is a sensible ex-soldier, two years older than Buc, with a hatred for magic. They are employed by a trading company to find out why ships carrying sugar are going missing. The action was non-stop and there was a lot of humor. There are two warring religions with associated mages, action on the high seas with zomb The main characters Buc and Eld have a Sherlock-Watson kind of vibe. Buc is a genius street rat who loves to read, and needs to slow her mind down with drugs to stop it from racing. Eld is a sensible ex-soldier, two years older than Buc, with a hatred for magic. They are employed by a trading company to find out why ships carrying sugar are going missing. The action was non-stop and there was a lot of humor. There are two warring religions with associated mages, action on the high seas with zombie pirates and a variety of interesting islands. The world building is really good and enticing; I just felt there could have been more of it. I would have happily have read dozens of extra pages just to have more detail about this fascinating world. The start of the book is a little confusing as the reader is dropped in, just as Buc and Eld are extricated from a whole pile of trouble and launched into an impossible quest. Overall, The Sin in the Steel is a really enjoyable fantasy and I'll be looking for a second installment.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Dresker (read.breathe.repeat)

    Buc and Eld are hired/blackmailed to solve a case and discover why ships are disappearing. They must do this in a world full of magic, warring religions, and cutthroat pirates. Luckily, Buc and Eld themselves are cutthroat and do whatever they must to solve this mystery and win back their freedom through an adventure on the high seas. I am so impressed that this is a debut book for the author. The writing is well done and propels me forward in a complex world mixing magic and pirates. What reall Buc and Eld are hired/blackmailed to solve a case and discover why ships are disappearing. They must do this in a world full of magic, warring religions, and cutthroat pirates. Luckily, Buc and Eld themselves are cutthroat and do whatever they must to solve this mystery and win back their freedom through an adventure on the high seas. I am so impressed that this is a debut book for the author. The writing is well done and propels me forward in a complex world mixing magic and pirates. What really made this book for me are Buc and Eld. At just 17, Buc is a genius without mercy. At first I thought she was a little ridiculous and acted too tough, but soon I saw this was her and she is fully bada**. She takes charge in any situation and will swipe the head off a guy who insults her; thankfully, she doesn’t always have to as her bodyguard, Eld, will happily dispose of anyone who threatens her. They are a no-nonsense, violent pair who I was rooting for the entire time. There was a bit of romance that helped take away from the immense violence/gore that sometimes occurred, but that also gave it that darker, more mature adventure. What was missing for me in this novel was a bit more world building or explanation between the different religions and the magic they use. If you like a darker read, don’t mind a lot of killing, and like a strong, young female lead with a penchant for getting herself out of seemingly impossible dangerous situations, you will love this book! Thank you BookishFirst and Tor for a free copy in return for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    This was a really intriguing fantasy novel set in a unique world and I would hope more are written someday. The characters were great and even pulled through a couple of slower parts as I needed to know what happened next to Buc and Eld. The plot was a nice adventure with a touch of mystery. It was a little heavy in this world’s religious politics but that seemed to be intentional. The system of magic was quite unique which can be difficult to find so I thoroughly enjoyed that. Buc and Eld make This was a really intriguing fantasy novel set in a unique world and I would hope more are written someday. The characters were great and even pulled through a couple of slower parts as I needed to know what happened next to Buc and Eld. The plot was a nice adventure with a touch of mystery. It was a little heavy in this world’s religious politics but that seemed to be intentional. The system of magic was quite unique which can be difficult to find so I thoroughly enjoyed that. Buc and Eld make their living by solving the unsolvable and Buc seems like a young, female, version of Sherlock Holmes at times. They get caught up into a case that takes them far from home and in constant risk of peril.

  19. 5 out of 5

    jennifer cecil

    When I saw that this book was about pirates, dead gods, shape- shifting mages and a super smart teenager I was immediately intrigued. This looked like a crazy story and I wondered just how in the world would all of these elements come together to make a novel that wasn't goofy. The Sin In The Steel is an epic adventure novel. I loved the super smart totally crass Buc and her cohort Eld. Buc is a woman after my own heart and she has the mouth to match. The mages and their religions are interestin When I saw that this book was about pirates, dead gods, shape- shifting mages and a super smart teenager I was immediately intrigued. This looked like a crazy story and I wondered just how in the world would all of these elements come together to make a novel that wasn't goofy. The Sin In The Steel is an epic adventure novel. I loved the super smart totally crass Buc and her cohort Eld. Buc is a woman after my own heart and she has the mouth to match. The mages and their religions are interesting and I enjoyed the detail put into describing how each organization differs from the other. The story is not lacking in action and there was never a dull or boring moment while reading. I can not think of one bad thing to say about this novel and I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good adventure. I am looking forwarded to reading more from Ryan Van Loan!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    DONNA

    The Sin in the Steel is the first book in the Fall of the Gods series by Ryan Van Loan. The story is about two best friends Buc and Eld who are hired by a big trading company to find out why their ships carrying sugar are disappearing. Buc, 17 is street smart and Eld, 19, is an ex-soldier, both teenagers, both determined to take on the adventure of sinking the Widowmaker's ship, that will set them up for life, if they can survive. The book is full of pirates, mages, dead gods, swashbuckling viole The Sin in the Steel is the first book in the Fall of the Gods series by Ryan Van Loan. The story is about two best friends Buc and Eld who are hired by a big trading company to find out why their ships carrying sugar are disappearing. Buc, 17 is street smart and Eld, 19, is an ex-soldier, both teenagers, both determined to take on the adventure of sinking the Widowmaker's ship, that will set them up for life, if they can survive. The book is full of pirates, mages, dead gods, swashbuckling violence and gore. I must say this book is definitely a fantasy packed adventure with very interesting characters, that will keep you entertained, wanting more. Thank you to BookishFirst for my advanced copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    gwendalyn _books_

    The Sin in the Steel @gwendalun_books_ @torbooks Van Loan high stakes, dark intrigue, action-packed, coming-of-age debut, The Sin in the Steel is the first installment in the Fall of the Gods series. An incredible fantasy experience with swashbuckling, high seas adventures. A wonderful creative Sherlock/Watson duo. A teenage girl, known as Buc and her damaged soldier sidekick Eld. A sparkling world of dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages in a stunning set diverse world. #thesininthestee The Sin in the Steel @gwendalun_books_ @torbooks Van Loan high stakes, dark intrigue, action-packed, coming-of-age debut, The Sin in the Steel is the first installment in the Fall of the Gods series. An incredible fantasy experience with swashbuckling, high seas adventures. A wonderful creative Sherlock/Watson duo. A teenage girl, known as Buc and her damaged soldier sidekick Eld. A sparkling world of dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages in a stunning set diverse world. #thesininthestee out from @torbooks 07.21.2020 and they are amazing! one #book #bookstagram #fantasy #fantasyauthor #fantasybooks #books #creativity #fuel #read #booklover #readers #readersofinstagram #goal #goals #lifegoals #bestseller #goodreads #hope #dreams #motivation #dothework #debut #thriller #thrilling #goodreads

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    A fast paced, action packed, gripping and entertaining read. I liked the good world building and character development and the excellent storytelling. I can't wait to read the next installment. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Muna

    There wasn’t much to the sample, so I can’t say much, but I did want to read more, so it must’ve done something right! I liked all the characters that we met so far, and I can’t wait to read more, and see what happens to the characters in these stories. I hope that we get to see exactly what happened to the mage, and I hope we find out why he killed the guy that he was working for. I love the premise of the story and I definitely want to read more, and explore the world more because it sounds l There wasn’t much to the sample, so I can’t say much, but I did want to read more, so it must’ve done something right! I liked all the characters that we met so far, and I can’t wait to read more, and see what happens to the characters in these stories. I hope that we get to see exactly what happened to the mage, and I hope we find out why he killed the guy that he was working for. I love the premise of the story and I definitely want to read more, and explore the world more because it sounds like it’s a lot of fun, and something that I would enjoy reading! The main character seems very likable. I love her sass, her wit, and she loves books! That’s always a plus. I want to see more of her interaction with her partner! They seem like a fun duo!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Buhl

    I loved this story! It had everything. Action, mystery, horror, surprise twist at end and since it's the first of a series, the potential for more. Where better to read about shipwrecks, pirates and magic than the beach!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Clay Harmon

    The author is very talented with his prose and did a great job creating a voice that was authentic for the high seas. It was extremely fast-paced and the world building was on point; I love the term "Dead Gods" because it conjures up all sorts of cool images. A parallel can definitely be made between this book and Pirates of the Caribbean, from the (view spoiler)[undead featured prominently later in the book and the crew of the Black Pearl (hide spoiler)] , pirates and magic, to both this book an The author is very talented with his prose and did a great job creating a voice that was authentic for the high seas. It was extremely fast-paced and the world building was on point; I love the term "Dead Gods" because it conjures up all sorts of cool images. A parallel can definitely be made between this book and Pirates of the Caribbean, from the (view spoiler)[undead featured prominently later in the book and the crew of the Black Pearl (hide spoiler)] , pirates and magic, to both this book and the movie creating a fictional version of the East India Trading Company. I loved Pirates of the Caribbean, so being able to revisit a world like this was a treat. It'll be fun to see where Buc and Eld go in the sequel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    The Sin in Steel was fantastic! I really enjoy a good fantasy novel and it delivered. Buc was just what I would hope she would be for a female protagonist. The only downside to Buc was sometimes I felt her language and the story's language was more dicey than it needed to be at times. Like when there wasn't any action or anything they would be cussing a lot. It would make sense for a pirate to cuss that much but it might detour younger readers that would want to read the novel. The zombie pirat The Sin in Steel was fantastic! I really enjoy a good fantasy novel and it delivered. Buc was just what I would hope she would be for a female protagonist. The only downside to Buc was sometimes I felt her language and the story's language was more dicey than it needed to be at times. Like when there wasn't any action or anything they would be cussing a lot. It would make sense for a pirate to cuss that much but it might detour younger readers that would want to read the novel. The zombie pirate crew made the novel exceptionally more exciting. I feel like as critical to the story Buc's romantic interest was I felt like she was so self sufficient that the novel could have done without him. Maybe replace him with a canine companion instead. Overall great novel and very much enjoyed it. Thank you! Four Stars!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    ***NOTE: Originally posted on thecyberbard.com*** “Before I learned how to read, I thought knowledge was finite, dead and decaying inside old men’s skulls. Now I know the truth, that knowledge is living gold threaded through layers of dead parchment, just waiting to be mined. But while the world may be driven by knowledge, it runs on gold. The hard kind. And if my plans were to succeed, that was the kind of leverage I needed. I saw my chance, placed my wager, and took my seat at the table.” Synops ***NOTE: Originally posted on thecyberbard.com*** “Before I learned how to read, I thought knowledge was finite, dead and decaying inside old men’s skulls. Now I know the truth, that knowledge is living gold threaded through layers of dead parchment, just waiting to be mined. But while the world may be driven by knowledge, it runs on gold. The hard kind. And if my plans were to succeed, that was the kind of leverage I needed. I saw my chance, placed my wager, and took my seat at the table.” Synopsis: Buc and Eld are troubleshooters: she’s a young, street-smart girl with a genius intellect, and he’s a charming ex-soldier with a mysterious past. Together, they use their myriad skills to investigate mysteries and solve crimes. When a trading company blackmails the pair into solving the disruption of the Empire’s sugar trade, Buc and Eld are thrust into a dangerous conflict. Can the duo escape the clutches of vicious pirates and clashing gods to emerge victorious? Or is this a puzzle too complex even for Buc? Thank-you to Netgalley and Tor/Forge for the advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read the breadth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, and have even been lucky enough to acquire certain 1st edition copies (such as “His Last Bow”). I just can’t resist a good mystery! Ryan Van Loan’s debut novel promises a modern twist on the traditional Doyle pairing of Holmes and Watson in the form of Buc and Eld, and set in the Fantasy genre as opposed to Victorian England. It’s an interesting combination, and I praise Van Loan for stepping outside the narrow boundaries I see so often in other Fantasy offerings. It’s refreshing. Our primary protagonist is Buc, and much of the narrative is delivered from her in the 1st person (some chapters are delivered by a 3rd person omniscient narrator). She is young (16), precocious, clever, devious, and almost completely self-serving. Buc’s selfishness certainly makes it complicated to relate to her; it is a trait also exhibited at times by Sherlock Holmes, who put the need to solve mysteries above everything else. Both characters share the trait of chemical dependency (Holmes had a nasty cocaine habit, and Buc smokes “Kan”, a leaf which slows her racing mind just enough for her to think clearly). The difference is that Buc is more… damaged. Holmes, for all his faults, did not have the same sort of tragic backstory as Buc. She grew up on the streets, and it is only within the last 2 years that she has taken to reading (she was illiterate before Eld found her). While both Holmes and Buc share impressive powers of deduction, Buc does not share Holmes’ expertise on a wife array of topics useful to the solving of crimes. Instead, Buc relies on her street smarts and capacity for deceit to get her out of trouble. Buc is not a Mary Sue: she is strong… but very brittle. Her faults are very, very clear, and one grows to empathize with her in spite of her sometimes nasty disposition. The fact Van Loan was able to make me like this person by the end is a definite point in his favor. Eld clearly functions as a Watson analogue for the purpose of the story: he is a well-spoken individual, with a great capacity for smoothing out Buc’s rough edges. He retains the empathy which Buc lacks, and often helps her through (saves her from…) complex social interactions. Eld is a former soldier, and his background is revealed in part throughout the story; his fighting skills are impressive, and are given the spotlight at various times when Buc’s acid tongue lands them in hot water. Overall, the characters form a classic duo, complementing many of each others’ weaknesses and shortcomings. If you are a fan of this sort of interaction, I assure you that you will find it in abundance in this novel. I’d like to see a bit more of Eld, perhaps by giving him his own POV sections in the next novel; that would round things out nicely and offer a different perspective. He’s got some personality of his own, and I’d like him to be more fleshed out as opposed to being a sidekick along for the ride. There is another famous duo who should be mentioned when examining the relationship between Buc and Eld: Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen from “The Gentlemen Bastards Sequence” by Scott Lynch.For those who haven’t read this series, it follows the aforementioned characters, who are expert grifters, on their many misadventures. Locke is a genius, with middling combat prowess but a devious mind and a caustic personality; Jean is a polite and well-spoken warrior with a level head and kind disposition. Sound familiar? To be clear: I’m not implying anything here, as this sort of relationship has precedence in literature. I DO feel that there is a certain amount of homage to that other famous fantasy pairing though, and if this was Van Loan’s intent, he did so quite tastefully. In Buc and Eld’s case, their relationship is still very young (as opposed to Locke and Jean who have known each other since their early years), and so the edges have not yet been filed off (which presents occasional conflict); the male/female pairing also creates a different sort of dynamic, and I will simply leave it at that. Overall I’ve noted a number of similarities to Lynch’s work, but this effort is still its own thing. If you liked “The Lies of Locke Lamora”, you may find aspects of this novel to be greatly to your liking as well! I truly appreciated that this text was built around 1) driving action and 2) well-voiced characters. Van Loan’s characters acted in a consistent manner throughout the text, and their development felt real, not forced. World-building was not completely absent in this text (the world hinted at by the author is fairly rich), but it definitely takes a backseat to clever dialogue and furtherance of the plot. If that’s the sort of narrative you enjoy, then this is probably the right book for you. My main gripe with the story is that while the “Sherlock Holmes” aspect is pushed at the beginning of the story, this rapidly moves to the back burner in favor of a more action/thriller fantasy story. This is a shame to me, as a more dedicated Mystery tale firmly positioned in a Fantasy setting is something we don’t see particularly often at all! That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it: Van Loan’s tight prose and dialogue make it a pleasure to read. I just felt that I started reading Sherlock Holmes in a Fantasy land, and ended up with Locke and Jean trying to solve a mystery. Buc is introduced as a deductive genius, but this skill of hers is very rapidly phased out of the text in favor of her penchant for spinning elaborate lies. It’s a minor issue of consistency, that’s all. Still, I was happy to get swept up in the pull of it, doubly so because of the strong (flawed) female protagonist. If you’re into mysteries, magic, pirates, clever rogues, strong female protagonists, and huge stakes, you’re going to enjoy this book. It’s a pleasure to read, despite any minor gripes I may have, and I was pulled in VERY quickly (I haven’t read a book this fast in a while, because i couldn’t put it down!). If I hadn’t known before reading, I would have NEVER guessed that this was someone’s debut novel. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, as it is absolutely worth the time! Tor books made a good choice in picking this one. Please consider pre-ordering this one too as that is the single best thing you can do to help out a new author (or any author for that matter). Adventure beckons!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    This book kinda feels like Pirates of the Caribbean. I found the cover interesting but the book wasn’t really my genre. It seemed like it took forever to read this book.To be honest, it put me to sleep. The premise sounded good and I wanted to like it but I didn’t really. I had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Buc comes across at times harsh and not very likeable. I liked Eld much better. I don’t think I would compare Buc to Sherlock Holmes at all. I guess I was expecting a cross betw This book kinda feels like Pirates of the Caribbean. I found the cover interesting but the book wasn’t really my genre. It seemed like it took forever to read this book.To be honest, it put me to sleep. The premise sounded good and I wanted to like it but I didn’t really. I had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Buc comes across at times harsh and not very likeable. I liked Eld much better. I don’t think I would compare Buc to Sherlock Holmes at all. I guess I was expecting a cross between Sherlock Holmes and the archeologist with a mystery thrown it. The book did kinda remind me of a previous book I had read called The Sineater. Fantasy fans will be sure to like this book Thank you for the early copy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lee Sharp

    Thank you to BookishFirst and Ryan Van Loan for the chance to review the first two chapters of this book. Not fair! You can't limit the read of this book to just the first two chapters. This is the sort of book that you don't simply ease into like a cold lake on a hot day, but rather you fall into like being pushed into a pool by a jerky friend. The opening two chapters give the reader the basic background for the two primary characters, private investigators Eld and Buc, written from Buc's perspe Thank you to BookishFirst and Ryan Van Loan for the chance to review the first two chapters of this book. Not fair! You can't limit the read of this book to just the first two chapters. This is the sort of book that you don't simply ease into like a cold lake on a hot day, but rather you fall into like being pushed into a pool by a jerky friend. The opening two chapters give the reader the basic background for the two primary characters, private investigators Eld and Buc, written from Buc's perspective. The two chapters tell of their most recent exploits from within the context of a sham trial, which sets the stage for events to come in the book. I was completely dragged into the captivating narrative. The narrative establishes a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to fight for what's right on the part of the primary characters, with Buc displaying the characteristics of the witty investigator and Eld displaying the characteristics of the charismatic diplomat. Compelling characters, interesting story and social setting. The first two chapters did not establish much in terms of a landscape or geographical setting, so I'll be interested to see how that develops. It left me wanting to read more! Thank you to BookishFirst and Ryan Van Loan for the chance to review the first two chapters of this book. Not fair! You can't limit the read of this book to just the first two chapters. This is the sort of book that you don't simply ease into like a cold lake on a hot day, but rather you fall into like being pushed into a pool by a jerky friend. The opening two chapters give the reader the basic background for the two primary characters, private investigators Eld and Buc, written from Buc's perspective. The two chapters tell of their most recent exploits from within the context of a sham trial, which sets the stage for events to come in the book. I was completely dragged into the captivating narrative. The narrative establishes a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to fight for what's right on the part of the primary characters, with Buc displaying the characteristics of the witty investigator and Eld displaying the characteristics of the charismatic diplomat. Compelling characters, interesting story and social setting. The first two chapters did not establish much in terms of a landscape or geographical setting, so I'll be interested to see how that develops. It left me wanting to read more!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Buc and Eld are too much fun as protagonists. Buc is an old 17: smart, skilled, and brave. Eld is an even older 19: polite, strong, and mysterious. Together, they are a dynamic duo of pirate fighting geniuses. The back of the book describes Buc as a young, female Sherlock, and she certainly has some of his qualities, but Eld is much more like Watson than she is Sherlock. However, I am in love with the setup of this series. There are pirates, mages, and Gods. It left me wanting more without feelin Buc and Eld are too much fun as protagonists. Buc is an old 17: smart, skilled, and brave. Eld is an even older 19: polite, strong, and mysterious. Together, they are a dynamic duo of pirate fighting geniuses. The back of the book describes Buc as a young, female Sherlock, and she certainly has some of his qualities, but Eld is much more like Watson than she is Sherlock. However, I am in love with the setup of this series. There are pirates, mages, and Gods. It left me wanting more without feeling disappointing. Buc and Eld are hired for a mission: figure out who is cutting of The Company’s sugar supply. If they can figure it out, they will get a seat on The Company’s board. They take the first hunch that they are given and chase down the deadly pirate Widowmaker. She is not what they anticipated, and there is much more to the lack of sugar than anyone at The Company knew. Buc is our POV character, but sometimes it drops into third person so we can see somethings from other perspectives. I wish we had more of that. We get one chapter from Eld early on that seems like it will be a regular thing, but it isn’t. It is nice to sometimes get a break from Buc because she is an over explainer and a sassafras. But I still really liked her. Yes, she liked to remind us she was from the streets and explain to us her normal battle moves in the middle of a fight scene, but if you gloss over those parts, she isn’t annoying. I like her because she thinks she knows everything and is the master of all, but she isn’t and the reader gets to see her flaws and growth. I see a lot more room for her to grow as the series continues. Eld is a mystery. For some reason, Buc is obsessed with how old he is, but he is only nineteen! He’s a baby! But apparently, he has been through a lot, but Buc doesn’t know what (she doesn’t even learn his real name till the end). I really like the mystery of his backstory because the reader doesn’t know what motivates him except that he cares deeply for Buc. The pirates are awesome. The adventures at sea are awesome. As the book went on, I got more and more attached. The world is really cool. The islands they land on are fun. I really want to talk about more, but I want you to experience it for yourself. This is the kind of fantasy book that I like. Not too forced, some tropes, some subversions, and a romantic subplot. Let me know when you read it, and we can chat about the ending.

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