Thursday, March 10, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Steel by Carrie Vaughn.
Publisher: HarperTeen.
Pages: 304.
Release Date: March 15, 2011.
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.
Steel is engaging and action-packed, authentic with its pirate history, language and lifestyle. Aside from the Bloody Jack series, you don’t see a whole lot of pirates in YA nowadays, which is probably why I put this book on such a high pedestal and ended up disappointed in the end.

Carrie Vaughn is probably one of the most graceful writers I’ve ever read. There’s something almost melodic about the way her words flow together, if that makes any sense. I loved that about this book. But what I didn’t love was how stiff and impersonal it felt. A lot of it is summarized, which is understandable considering her stay on the pirate ship isn’t just a one day thing, but at times I felt like I was speed reading through beneficial parts of the novel. I also wish Jill would’ve had some depth to her. It’s clear that she has all these emotions that play a big part of the novel, especially with her fencing, but she was just a person on paper. She didn’t really come alive for me.

I did, however, very much enjoy the pirates in this book. It’s so obvious that Carrie probably worked her butt off researching pirate speak and terms. Even though you won’t have a clue what they’re saying (have no fear! I’m pretty positive the book comes with its own little pirate glossary) It adds a sense of realness to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed Steel, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Carrie Vaughn is a beautiful writer, but the story just didn’t capture me. The action and pirates are something to check out though, so if you’re in the mood for something fast-paced and full of pirate ass-kicking, I definitely recommend this!

Other reviews for Steel:
Novel Novice.
Ruby's Reads.
Moonlight Gleam.
wicked walker.


  1. This sounds a bit different from what I normally read but interesting! Thanks for recommending it.

  2. Pirates! Sounds like a fun read.

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