Thursday, January 10, 2013


Review of The Steel Queen by Karen Azinger
The Silk and Steel Saga #1

5 stars

I surprised myself with this novel, or perhaps the novel surprised me. I am not totally a fan of the fantasy genre, with exceptions: Karen Azinger is one of those. "The Steel Queen" proved to be so much more than I expected. Yes, Constant Readers, there is sword and sorcery contained herein (is there ever), but that's not all.

We have a heroine who, in some senses, has a "male spirit trapped in a female body," and I say that only because in her culture and society, as the youngest child and only daughter of a fierce but honourable King, she should only be feminine, fostered, trained in Queencraft--and then married off, for political reasons of course (think the Hapsburgs of Europe tied to England's royalty throughout the centuries).

Then there is the very appealing "dark" nature of this story: the Dark Oracle, that really terrifying Flame God cult, the Mordant, and so forth. I liked that; I appreciated that the novel wasn't all "sweetness and light," but included some seriously horrifying (thinking, for example, of the scene with the old crone in the cave, and of the Flame God [shudder]) elements. And it's not just the Dark Lord that is evil; there's evil in humans here too (example, that greedy, covetous, bigoted, concupiscent Sir Raymond and his ilk), so that the story becomes very three-dimensional and realistic.

I'm really anticipating the next novel in this series.

An e-book copy was provided by the author in return for my fair and impartial review.

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