Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.A soldier with a curseTala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has commi...

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Title:Steel Crow Saga
Author:Paul Krueger
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Steel Crow Saga Reviews

  • Katherine Locke

    I read this book as a beta reader and I am OBSESSED. It is so, so good. This fresh inventive world full of complex, fully realized characters. It made me laugh, it broke my heart, it mended it back together again. I can't wait for you all to get your hands on this.

  • c,

    Asian inspired characters and settings (China, Japan, and I think India, Philippines & Korea maybe), female and male bi mcs, lesbian mc, gay side character (fairly major), mlm trans side character (fairly major)

    This is probably the best book I have rea

    Asian inspired characters and settings (China, Japan, and I think India, Philippines & Korea maybe), female and male bi mcs, lesbian mc, gay side character (fairly major), mlm trans side character (fairly major)

    This is probably the best book I have read this year. Yes, I’ve read over 200 at this point, yes, I’ve read some excellent books (mostly sequels), but this book.

    I knew from the first few pages that this was going to be a 5-star read, it’s that good.

    is set in the aftermath of a revolution. The combined forces of Shang, Sanbuna and Dahal have fought and defeated their coloniser, Tomoda. But now they have to make this fragile peace permanent. For the past three years, the now sole remaining heir to the Empire, Jimuro, has been imprisoned by Sanbuna, but he is now the hope for peace. So, Tala is tasked with escorting him to Tomoda. Meanwhile, Lee and Xiulan, two investigators, are on Jimuro’s trail, themselves hoping to bring him in and gain the Shang Emperor’s respect.

    First and foremost, the best thing about this book is the characters and their development. The four major characters are: Lee, a thief who’s learnt only to look out for herself; Xiulan, a Shang Princess looking to prove herself; Tala, the warrior tasked with protecting her greatest enemy; and Jimuro, the next ruler of Tomoda whose life rests solely in the hands of those who despise him most. So already we’re set up with some fascinating and flawed characters. Recently, I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of books where the characters can be summed up in a single word. Not so here. They’re wonderfully fully fleshed-out, you could be right there with them they feel so realistic. And they get some excellent character development. Especially Jimuro. Gotta cop to never having seen

    here, but I’ve picked up enough about it to know that Jimuro gets a Zuko-esque redemption arc. Not some cop-out where he has a single heroic deed and is thus forgiven, but an arc where he works towards changing himself and his country. And the other three mains get similarly amazing development as well.

    Secondly, the worldbuilding is just epic. If you liked the kind of worldbuilding that

    and

    presented you with, fantasy allegories for real-life countries and events, then this book will be right up your alley. If you like the kind of steampunk fantasy that

    gives you, again, this book is for you. If you want a magic system that’s something like if you crossed

    with

    (go with it), then this book is most definitely for you. And if you’ve never seen or read any of those, or didn’t particularly like them, read the book anyway. Trust me you won’t regret it. It’s a book that’s been getting a lot of comparisons to anime, and that’s exactly right (also, it would make

    anime, but I digress).

    I feel like I’ve rambled on a lot here, but there’s no easy way to express how much I love this book. It’s 600+ pages and I read the bulk of it in a couple of hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I had to force myself to go to bed instead of just finishing it like I wanted to. I can’t remember the last time I felt like that about a book (probably a couple of months back, if we’re honest), but this book was one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had. Truly.

    Which means, you should absolutely go and preorder this, and then wait impatiently for September to come.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    This effing book broke me in half and made me soar!!

    Just when I’m down about reading, I find a freaking gem! This book is like nothing I have ever read before and it gave me all of the feels!!

    I love every single one of these characters immensely!

    What reeled me in from the summary was the animal stuff. I mean those who know me could have figured that one out! But there is so much more to this story and it ripped my heart out.

    The book is about family, war, vengeance, bonding with animals and t

    This effing book broke me in half and made me soar!!

    Just when I’m down about reading, I find a freaking gem! This book is like nothing I have ever read before and it gave me all of the feels!!

    I love every single one of these characters immensely!

    What reeled me in from the summary was the animal stuff. I mean those who know me could have figured that one out! But there is so much more to this story and it ripped my heart out.

    The book is about family, war, vengeance, bonding with animals and things, heartbreak and a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure.

    Bottom line, I loved it so very much!!

    *Thank you to Netgalley and the Pub for a digital copy of this wonderful book.*

    I must totter off now and pre-order my physical copy!

    Happy Reading!

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  • Alexa

    ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley | Buddy read with my friend

    !

    I had high hopes for Steel Crow Saga, considering the things I’d heard about it prior to picking it up, and I’m happy to be able to say that I really enjoyed it! This novel takes on the task of narrating the stories of four different individuals: a princess determined to earn her place as heir to the throne, a thief given a second chance, an exiled prince returning to claim his place on the throne, and a military s

    ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley | Buddy read with my friend

    !

    I had high hopes for Steel Crow Saga, considering the things I’d heard about it prior to picking it up, and I’m happy to be able to say that I really enjoyed it! This novel takes on the task of narrating the stories of four different individuals: a princess determined to earn her place as heir to the throne, a thief given a second chance, an exiled prince returning to claim his place on the throne, and a military sergeant tasked with the protection of said prince. Even though I tend to be partial to ensemble casts, it’s an undeniably difficult task for an author to juggle the multiple storylines and to alternate narrative voices in a way that is specific enough to be easy for readers to remember. Paul Krueger successfully accomplished this here, highlighting the individual experiences of Tala, Jimuro, Xiulan and Lee in a way that made it easy to tell them apart and giving them stakes and obstacles that kept me invested in all their stories. It helps that they happen to be a diverse bunch, both in terms of race, gender and sexuality (which also applies to the secondary characters).

    Apart from the strength of his character portrayals, Krueger also manages to bring an extremely interesting world to life from the magical lore to the complex political ties between the countries (including the effects of colonization and revolution, which I found particularly interesting). He also succeeds in weaving together a series of plots and tropes that will be fun for any reader but will be particularly recognizable for any anime fans (and his storytelling is very much like that of a shonen anime too).

    Honestly, I had so much fun devouring Steel Crow Saga and would certainly recommend adding it to your TBRs! (I also want to throw in that I particularly feel like if you enjoyed Fullmetal Alchemist, you might really like this, as there were elements and themes that reminded me of it.)

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  • Sahitya

    A solid 4.5 in my opinion but slightly fell short of a 5.

    I don’t think I even knew about this book until about a month ago. I think stumbled upon it by accident in someone’s blogpost about upcoming Asian inspired fantasy releases, and I was immediately fascinated. And while it took me a bit to immerse myself in it, I am so glad to have discovered this book and gotten hold of the ARC.

    The world building is one aspect that impressed me a lot. As the author is Filipino-American, I was expecting some

    A solid 4.5 in my opinion but slightly fell short of a 5.

    I don’t think I even knew about this book until about a month ago. I think stumbled upon it by accident in someone’s blogpost about upcoming Asian inspired fantasy releases, and I was immediately fascinated. And while it took me a bit to immerse myself in it, I am so glad to have discovered this book and gotten hold of the ARC.

    The world building is one aspect that impressed me a lot. As the author is Filipino-American, I was expecting some inspiration from his country and their culture, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize that each of the kingdom present in this book is drawn from a different Asian country, and it’s developed so well that we are able to distinguish them pretty well. I particularly loved that one of them was based on India but it’s also the one kingdom which is least talked about in the book, so I kept wishing for more.

    The other interesting aspect of this world is the pacting (or their version of magic). The people of Sanbuna and Shang are capable of shadepacting with animals - which is like forming a soul bond with an animal’s shade and then being able to call upon their familiar to fight alongside them. The Tomodanese on the other hand pact with metals, which helps them in controlling their weapons or using it to power their vehicles. The people of Dahal use their power internally to enhance their personal capabilities. Jeongsonese are the oppressed minority who are capable of pacting but have always been denied the right to gain the knowledge to do so. This distinction between the use of magic across various kingdoms is very helpful in developing differing motivations for each of them, letting us as readers experience varying perspectives and probably finding our own favorites.

    The writing style of this novel was also slightly different from what I’m used to but I’m unable to articulate exactly how that was. It is very introspective and we are subjected to many inner monologues of the characters - which I really enjoyed for the most part and helped me understand them better and invest in their development - but it also got long winded at times and may have contributed to the size of the book. I’m usually not a fan of dense writing, so the descriptive writing style should have put me off but I kinda enjoyed it and it made the settings feel more real. The main theme of the book is colonialism but despite the dark themes, there is also a very humorous undertone in the writing. The pacing is also a little slow throughout but it is relentless, with things changing quickly and the characters having to adapt and evolve all the time. This is also essentially a quest/ journey novel and those seem to be my thing this year, so it’s not a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed this journey with the characters. And the best part was that the author managed to give very distinct voices to each of them, so we are never confused about whose POV we are reading. I’m currently unsure if this is a standalone or a series, but the author did a wonderful job ending it very satisfactorily, so I’m happy if this the actual end; but there are also multiple threads that can be pursued to further this story and I would be delighted to jump into this world all over again.

    The characters are definitely the best and my most favorite part of this book, but I don’t wanna talk about them much. I think the beauty of this book is in discovering the various layers of each character and realizing what lays at the core of them. One thing common between all the POV characters is that they are real, flawed, pretty morally grey, not immune from being prejudiced and treating those different from them in a vile manner - but all of them go through a journey of unlearning all the wrong things, understanding others’ perspectives and building relationships with unlikely people. I felt very invested in knowing where the characters were going and what they might do next, so I never wanted to put the book down even though it was all a bit slow going. The characters do fall into familiar fantasy tropes like a grumpy soldier, an arrogant prince, a Sherlock inspired detective type character and a petty thief who gets roped into working for the other side - so it can feel a little predictable, but I enjoyed this slight predictability but also felt highly satisfied with the way things turned out for each of them.

    Though the author chose not to be very subtle in discussing some important themes, it didn’t in anyway lessen the impact of what was being told through the story. The impact of colonialism is very brutally described, along with the blatant disingenuous reasons that power hungry nations can come up with to colonize and occupy another country. It’s very evident that whatever noble the initial intentions may have been, the reality of occupation is always ugly. But the most important point that I think the author tried to make was that even if the colonizer is defeated by a revolution, war always brings out worst impulses and it doesn’t take much for the oppressed to turn into an oppressor. The nature of war and it’s impact on soldiers, and the utter lack of direction and purpose that they might feel during peace time is also deftly talked about.

    I also loved how the author decided to give equal weight to all kinds of relationships. The importance of family and sibling bonds, and how losing them can have far reaching consequences forms an important part of the character’s choices and the kind of people they turn out to be. I also enjoyed the way human/animal bonds are shown - while some people can truly treat their familiars as slaves and impose their will upon them, others form bonds based on mutual respect and it was wonderful of the author to show us both perspectives. The book is also very queer and I loved how normalized it was in this world. It was lovely to see lesbian, gay, bi and trans characters all be able to be their true selves without any judgement.

    I guess I’ve gone on long enough in this review. Basically, all I want to say is I really really enjoyed this book a lot and I’m glad I got this opportunity to discover a new to me Asian author. As it has been marketed, if you like anime or Pokémon or are a fan of Fullmetal Alchemist, then this book might be for you, but I can’t vouch for it because I know nothing about them. However, if you do love reading about an ensemble cast of characters going on a physical (as well as metaphorical) journey to discover some hard truths about the world and find themselves changing accordingly, then this might be the perfect book for you. It also works very well as a standalone, so you should definitely give this a try if you aren’t ready to invest your time in a new series.

  • jessica

    pierce brown

    about this book, and his word is law as far as i am concerned, so i went and tracked down a copy as fast as i could. and you should, too!

    many reviews are saying this story is

    meets

    and as i read this, i could sort of see where they got that idea, but i dont think really think the similarities are strong enough to pitch this story as such. this is wildly imaginative in its own right and hard to compare to anything else. its unique and quite

    pierce brown

    about this book, and his word is law as far as i am concerned, so i went and tracked down a copy as fast as i could. and you should, too!

    many reviews are saying this story is

    meets

    and as i read this, i could sort of see where they got that idea, but i dont think really think the similarities are strong enough to pitch this story as such. this is wildly imaginative in its own right and hard to compare to anything else. its unique and quite unlike anything else i have read before.

    while shadepacts (soul bonds between animals and humans) and the political discord created because of different views on the matter are the driving forces for the novel, what really sold me is the connection between the characters. particularly tala and her brother. my gosh, i got so emotional during some parts. the relationship between these two and how it impacts the overall story is such a high point and one i hope every reader will be able to appreciate. but there are so many great characters with so much representation, its difficult not to connect with at least one of them.

    so mark your calendar for september 26th, because you are gonna want to get your hands on this!

  • Sarah

    I have to say- I was a little disappointed with this. I’ll be up front and say that the premise: Pokemon meets Airbender, is in no way my thing- so your mileage may vary. In my defense I didn’t see it marketed that way until well after I started reading it, but the comparison is legitimate enough, and the Pokemon part was a lot of fun.

    However I couldn’t shake the feeling that the motivations for these characters and their countries didn’t always make sense. When the book starts we are with Diman

    I have to say- I was a little disappointed with this. I’ll be up front and say that the premise: Pokemon meets Airbender, is in no way my thing- so your mileage may vary. In my defense I didn’t see it marketed that way until well after I started reading it, but the comparison is legitimate enough, and the Pokemon part was a lot of fun.

    However I couldn’t shake the feeling that the motivations for these characters and their countries didn’t always make sense. When the book starts we are with Dimangan and Tala, observing them as children running errands in the market. While there, they see the prince of the Tomodanese people jetting through the streets. The Tomodanese people occupy Sanbuna by force, and the prince’s presence in the street starts a riot.

    The problem is: the Tomodanese view the Sanbuna and their shades (think Pokemon) as slavers and slaves respectively. The Tomodanese don’t eat meat and they don’t believe in utilizing animals for human benefit. Basically, they are PETA.

    And of course, the Sanbuna don’t view it that way. The pact between them and their shades is an agreement, with give and take, not slavery. (They do eat meat though…) Cultural views on animals aside, obviously the Sanbuna are angry at the attempted colonization and occupation of their country.

    Anyway- now that we’ve got that straightened out, what I don’t understand is what the other two cultures we are introduced to have anything to do with it. There are also the Shang, and the Jeongsonese. All of which seem to be against the Tomodanese, and then to top it off, the Shang, Sanbuna, and Tomodanese all look down upon the Jeongsonese, despite the fact that they don’t seem to have done anything.

    Sound complex? It is. And I’m okay with complex.. but without knowing the motivations of the other two countries involved I wasn’t sure why the author felt the need to include them. It seemed needlessly complex and without knowing the reasoning behind it I couldn’t help but feel like it was added to give the world building an illusion of depth.

    Does that sort of thing happen in real life? Yes. Of course. Is it right? Of course not. But I couldn’t help feeling throughout like Lee and Xiulan’s story really would have been better dedicated to a different plot and a different book, and being given the time it needed to establish how these cultures all fit together.

    The characters aren’t terrible, but occasionally felt like cartoons and caricatures. Xiulan runs around in an all white suit, calls herself the “White Rat,” wears a fedora and smokes a pipe in an endless to homage to her childhood hero, a detective from a book, Bai Junjie. Lee is a morally grey thief character, rogue archetype. She’s always imagining how it would feel to pick so-and-so’s pocket, or slip a lock or infiltrate a palace. I guess my issue is they came off as very one note.

    And to top it off… this book is long. Way too long. I think if it had been trimmed down to 300 pages and strictly followed Tala and Jimuro’s story, we’d have had a tightly paced plot with world building that didn’t feel flimsy and a truly unique take on fantasy. Lee and Xiulan’s parts in the story could easily have been removed without effecting the overall plot and end result.

    But I don’t have all negative things to say about it. There is LGBT+ representation. The f/f romance actually felt much stronger and sweeter than the m/f romance. At least one of the main characters is bisexual, and there is a transgender side character. And it was all done without any of them being shunned or feeling ashamed.

    And despite me not necessarily loving Pokemon or Airbender, I have to say, imagining the battle field running rampant with magical, mutated-animal creatures was lots of fun. Overall not a bad book that I think other readers will find more joy in than I did.

    Steel Crow Saga releases on September 24th. Thank you to Del Rey and NetGalley for providing an eARC for review.

  • Beth

    Meh, I struggled with this one. Another reviewer said it perfectly, beautiful written but it just went on and on. I found 1 page that caught my attention in about every 20 pages. Can you have too much, yup it was just way too much unnecessary stuff for me.

    I received

    from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine - Del Rey. This is my honest and voluntary review. < b>Steel Crow Saga is set for publication September 24, 2019.

  • ♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)

    This sounds like an Asian Six of Crows and even though I haven’t read Six of Crows(put your pitchforks away) this books sounds like it will be amazing.

  • Zainab

    ARC provided by netgalley

    Okay it's not bad but it's gotten extremely boring and I can't read any further. The starts great and all and I'm sure loads of you will enjoy it.

    Maybe I'd try it some other time.

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