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 committed against the laws of magic... and her own flesh and blood. A prince with a debtJimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.A detective with a grudgeXiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.A thief with a broken heartLee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind. This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.

Steel Crow Saga Details

TitleSteel Crow Saga
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 24th, 2019
PublisherDel Rey Books
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, LGBT, Fiction

Steel Crow Saga Review

  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsMulti-cultural, diverse characters & superbly character-driven narrative; Steel Crow Saga is a brilliant Asian/anime-inspired fantasy.As an Asian who loves watching anime and reading mangas and SFF novels, Steel Crow Saga is a novel that felt as if it was written for me. Steel Crow Saga has been published for more than a month now, and I feel like I’ve sinned—Sloth—for postponing reading this book. Full Metal ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsMulti-cultural, diverse characters & superbly character-driven narrative; Steel Crow Saga is a brilliant Asian/anime-inspired fantasy.As an Asian who loves watching anime and reading mangas and SFF novels, Steel Crow Saga is a novel that felt as if it was written for me. Steel Crow Saga has been published for more than a month now, and I feel like I’ve sinned—Sloth—for postponing reading this book. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my favorite anime of all time (seriously, watch the anime if you haven’t) and I also love Pokemon and Avatar: The Last Airbender; these three are the most dominant anime inspirations imbued into Steel Crow Saga. I REALLY would’ve read this book months ago, and I did have the chance to do that because I received the eARC from Gollancz in August. But here’s the thing, the eARC I received was so terribly formatted—it didn’t even include the entire prologue, for one—that I had to give up reading through it 15% in. Thankfully, what I’ve read so far back then was enough to solidify my decision to wait and read the finished copy instead. I’m super pleased that I made this decision; the wait was worth it because this is an amazing Anime/Asian-inspired fantasy book that’s worth reading without any hindrance. “All the books in the world will never convey the technical realities of a procedure.” Although Steel Crow Saga is marked as the first book of a series, do know that it is very much a standalone story; there’s no cliffhanger with the main stories whatsoever. The main plot revolves around four main characters: Tala, Jimuro, Xiulan, and Lee. Not only the four main characters have different roles in the story, but they also came from different countries that are deeply inspired by Asian countries in our real world. Tala is a soldier from Sanbu (Phillippines), Jimuro is a prince from Tomoda (Japanese), Xiulan is a detective from Shang (China), and Lee is a thief from Jeongson (Korea). As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, or maybe you’ve heard of it, Steel Crow Saga is enriched by both Anime and Asian inspirations; it makes for a refreshing read for me because incredible Asian-inspired fantasy novels are, in my opinion, relatively harder to find. I think Krueger did an awesome job writing this book; Steel Crow Saga is a book about what happened after the big war, a story about the neverending cycle of hatred caused by it, a story about forgiveness, and it’s a book that has everything readers usually love in their character-driven fantasy read. Do note that it’s better to not expect a fast-paced storyline, as per the case of the majority of character-driven fantasy, Krueger takes his time to progress the main story by making sure the characterizations and personality were on-point first, which he did spectacularly. “Sanbuna lore had countless monsters, but the worst of them wore a human face.” I’ve said this countless times before, but character-driven stories are my favorite type of novels to read. I loved that the book is slow-paced; I loved that the author takes his time to prioritize the characterizations foremost, making sure that I care about their journeys, feelings, struggles, and moral dilemmas. The characterizations given to the main characters were nothing short of incredible; it was rewarding to witness the characters’ development, both in attitudes and relationships. Furthermore, there were many passages that I found to be relatable. This one for example: “He took off his glasses and polished them with the end of his tie. She found it striking, how odd the sight was to her. She knew they were an artificial addition to his face, but that didn’t change the fact that he looked incomplete without them.” I feel seen through this little snippet; I’ve been wearing glasses for almost the entirety of my life, and I’m not kidding when I say that it has become a part of me and my look. I must say that I’m quite surprised by how few people mentioned Full Metal Alchemist inspiration in their review of this book; the inspirations were everywhere. For example, Tala and Dimangan's familial relationship reminded me of the Elric brothers in Full Metal Alchemist. Unfortunately, I can’t explain in detail as to why because I don’t want to spoil those who haven’t watched the anime masterpiece, which you really should. Moreover, there’s this obvious nod to the anime that filled me with glee: “Lieutenant Riza, Special Division,” she said, borrowing the name from her hawk-eyed firing instructor.” Picture: Riza Hawkeye from Full Metal AlchemistPlus, there’s a city called Hagane in this book. Hagane is “metal” in Japanese, and Full Metal Alchemist in Japan is called Hagane no Renkinjutsushi. Alright, I’m going to stop talking about Full Metal Alchemist inspirations here otherwise I risk expanding this review even longer than it already is; this entire review is just a long way of me saying “yes, read Steel Crow Saga and also watch Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood please.” The other two dominant anime inspirations that made this book more impressive were Pokemon and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Do you love reading about fantasy books that have animal companions in it? I do. Well, Krueger leveled it up by making these animal companions come in magic form called Shade, and a certain set of people in this book can Shadepact—creating a special bond with these magical animals and making them appear by calling their names, just like how it is in Pokemon. The second magic system is called Metalpact—bending/control metal to their will. “He was Tomodanese, and with metal in hand his people could work terrible miracles.” The magic systems were simple, easy to understand, and yet they also made the book, especially its actions, so much more entertaining. As I’ve mentioned before, Steel Crow Saga may be slow-paced and heavy on characterizations, but please don’t misunderstand this statement; there’s still plenty of well-written action sequences to be found in this book. The climax sequences, in particular, were intensely gripping and emotional. Combining the best of both magic and steel, Krueger crafted a concluding battle scene that ended Steel Crow Saga impactfully and satisfyingly.Before I close this review, I would like to praise Krueger on his Asian-inspiration world-building. Krueger is a Filipino-American author, and I’m not Filipino so I won’t claim to understand all the traditions and culture around it. The people of Dahal, if I’m not mistaken, is based on Indian. As for the other Asian countries’ traditions, languages, foods, and cultures that I’m more familiar with, I have to say that Krueger did a great job of implementing them into his world-building while making sure that this is still a fantasy book. Let’s take a look at this: “A Tomodanese surname for her was a tricky thing, since the Tomodanese language didn’t have an L sound.” In our real-world, the Japanese (Tomodanese in this book) language has the same rule applied. If I were to say my surname “Leo,” in Japanese it would be “Reo.” Then for the people of Shang (China), they called their little sister “meimei” (Chinese for little sister) and their big sister “jiejie” (Chinese for big sister. However, the usage of language isn’t the only thing that Krueger included, even the way the characters behave and the clothing the main characters wear respectively were simply on-point. Additionally, the variety of Asian food and beverages such as soju, kimchi, soba, gochujang, mapo tofu, adobo, etc and the way they’re consumed also enhanced the authenticity of the Asian-inspired world-building.Powerfully fueled by a palpable passion for anime, fantasy and everything Asian, Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger is a magnificently entertaining book you don’t want to miss reading. If you’ve been craving for an Asian/anime-inspired fantasy, or maybe character-driven fantasy in general, with on-point characterizations, I don’t see how you’ll go wrong with giving Steel Crow Saga a read. Sidenote:Both the US & UK editions—especially the US edition that’s illustrated by Chun Lo—has gorgeous cover art; I’m going to procure myself a physical copy as soon as I’m able.You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 🖤🐶🐺🐾ME BLOG
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    pierce brown tweeted 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 pokemon meets avatar: the last airbender. 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 tweeted 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 pokemon meets avatar: the last airbender. 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!a MASSIVE thanks to paul krueger and the wonderful people at penguin random house for sending me an ARC after i begged for one. you guys are the real MVP! ↠ 4 stars
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  • Zainab
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by netgalleyOkay 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.
  • c,
    January 1, 1970
    If my people run from the horror of what we’ve done, in time we would forget. And if we forget, we might one day do it again. Your peoples do not have the luxury of forgetting how you’ve suffered. On my blog. Rep: 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)Galley provided by publisherThis is probably the best book I have If my people run from the horror of what we’ve done, in time we would forget. And if we forget, we might one day do it again. Your peoples do not have the luxury of forgetting how you’ve suffered. On my blog. Rep: 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)Galley provided by publisherThis 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. This book. I knew from the first few pages that this was going to be a 5-star read, it’s that good.Steel Crow Saga 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 Avatar: The Last Airbender 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 Jade City and The Poppy War 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 Fullmetal Alchemist gives you, again, this book is for you. If you want a magic system that’s something like if you crossed FMA with Pokémon (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 the most epic 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.
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley | Buddy read with my friend Melanie!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 ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley | Buddy read with my friend Melanie!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.) Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
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  • ☾ h a d e e r ☽
    January 1, 1970
    Hats off to what is one of the best books I've read all year. Let me tell you: I've been in a really weird slump where I'm reading things and kind of enjoying them but not really loving anything, and then came along this book. Not to be dramatic, but it literally reminded me why I love reading. There are some books you can sink into with such relish that you forget you're reading, and you're just along for the ride. Steel Crow Saga is that book. plot & pacing I was hooked from the very Hats off to what is one of the best books I've read all year. Let me tell you: I've been in a really weird slump where I'm reading things and kind of enjoying them but not really loving anything, and then came along this book. Not to be dramatic, but it literally reminded me why I love reading. There are some books you can sink into with such relish that you forget you're reading, and you're just along for the ride. Steel Crow Saga is that book.→ plot & pacing ← I was hooked from the very first page, which is saying something because the book starts with a prologue. But there was something about the writing style that just drew me in immediately. And then the story began, and it moved at a breakneck pace, especially in the beginning. Even as we were getting introduced to new characters and a new world, the plot sprinted along.→ characters ← GOD. I loved all four main characters here so much. Do you know how long it's been since I truly cared about a character? All four of these characters were so richly layered and so different from one another, even in their speech patterns. You could always tell who was speaking, even without the dialogue tags, because the author took care to flesh out each characters speech patterns and diction in relation to their personality and upbringing. It all felt effortless in the end, resulting in four memorable and vibrant characters. → worldbuilding ← The book is set in a kind of Fantasy Asia in the mid-20th century. There are four distinct cultures/countries in the book, each heavy with real-life cultural influences which I absolutely loved. It was clear what real-life counterpart each nation in this book was meant to represent, but it was clearly a conscious choice made to pay homage to a variety of Asian cultures. It was done so colorfully and respectfully. Shadepacting is what's getting this book comparisons to Pokemon, and I concur. Pacting with an animal who becomes your superpowered familiar? Yes please. I really loved the relationships various characters had with their shades. Queerness in this book is just so...casual? Like it's just an accepted part of the world and it was incredible. → misc ← This book is hilarious. Like, truly laugh-out-loud hilarious, which is so rare to come across in fantasy, as it tends to revel in how grimdark it can be. Not that this book didn't grapple with serious issues with the appropriate respect, but there were just some truly hilarious scenes. And I feel like there was a kind of hope and humor underscoring everything? The anime influences are clear and as a former watcher of anime can I just say I really loved this. I just...really loved this book, guys. I had so much fun. I connected with all the characters. I genuinely enjoyed every second of reading this book. It just feels so new and fresh. As happy as I am that this is a standalone, which are so damn rare in fantasy, I would read so many other books about these characters, which you know is the mark of a really good book.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • ♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • TheBookSmugglers
    January 1, 1970
    ONE MILLION STARSThis book is so good, I am just sitting here quietly crying because it is over and I don't have more pages with these characters. THESE LOVABLE FOOLS.
  • ;3
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    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 Steel Crow Saga 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.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was mind-blowingly good 500+ pages of extraordinary characters, non-stop action and intrigue. These are the kind of books readers want to crack open – filled with rich cultures, a bit of (supposedly) anime-like magic, with a good helping of political history and intrigue to keep the conflict interesting! I am not a fan of anime myself but many reviews mention anime so I will take their word on it… The whole experience, indeed, felt rather enchanted! It’s the nature of life to gift us Well, this was mind-blowingly good 🙂 500+ pages of extraordinary characters, non-stop action and intrigue. These are the kind of books readers want to crack open – filled with rich cultures, a bit of (supposedly) anime-like magic, with a good helping of political history and intrigue to keep the conflict interesting! I am not a fan of anime myself but many reviews mention anime so I will take their word on it… The whole experience, indeed, felt rather enchanted! It’s the nature of life to gift us with clarity on the lives of others, while clouding our perception of our own. Steel Crow Saga doesn’t slow down in pace, doesn’t make you sit through intense episodes of infodumps, doesn’t bore with dull characters. I mean, did you read the blurb? Sounds good, right? And it is! It’s a proper entertaining book; one filled with above-mentioned cultures of rich detail and bloody history. Animal familiars and epic fight scenes.So, what is it really about? It’s about the usual ‘chafing’ in between countries and cultures and races. It’s about past crimes bleeding into present day… I can relate to that, every country can relate to that- their people being oppressed by another country for the sake of land and riches is something that will carry and echo through generations. At some point, however, the hate will have to turn into forgiveness. Or we’ll all end up blind, if you get my gist. It is such that 4 characters who by the preset norm should hate each other, end up coming together to defeat a common evil.But the book is not just this big mission of setting aside cultural differences and beliefs for a better future.. there is more to the story than an adventurous journey from A to B, there’s the character development towards becoming – (I can’t believe I’m saying this!) – woke, that adds an extra layer of conflict and internal battles. It’s wonderful! The way Krueger has pulled all of what and who is interesting together and made each element bounce off each other in perfect harmony. It must have been complex to write about maneuvering the future of peoples whilst each character has their own ambitions and own hearts to take care of at the same time. It must have been difficult to write, but it pays off. Reading it is simply an enjoyment!Steel Crow Saga will plate up relationships aplenty! F/f and m/f, incredible bonds in between human and animal by shadepacting, whilst putting to the test matters of loyalty and questioning authority. There’s a bit of magic involved in this story anyway, but the magic you feel as a reader- you’re just in tune with the story. When the fight scenes come to life in front of your eyes? Winning! When there’s heart and humour and grumpiness and character? Winning! When there’s a new, rich world opening up to you? Winning!With this first instalment, a great job has been done with completely shaking the pieces off the chessboard to realign the status quo. One can only wonder and wait for the next stage for our lovable characters!
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    A mix of pokemon and historical fictionAbsolutely loved this. Recommend it to anyone with a fondness for Pokemon, metalbending, and fantasy analogues to Asian cultures. There's a solid mix of politics, action, and comedy in here, as well as a couple solid twists.
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  • Adah Udechukwu
    January 1, 1970
    Steel Crow Saga is interesting. I like how all the awesome is compressed into a single novel. I am glad the novel is not a series. I love the novel how it is.
  • Clephiro
    January 1, 1970
    Not the book I planned on reading at all, but one I'm super happy I did.Steel Crow Saga definitely drew it's inspiration from Avatar: The Last Airbender. If not, then they definitely drew from similar sources, because as much as the material in Steel Crow Saga is darker, it still seems very reminiscent of Avatar.I loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the book. I think that maybe there could have been some pacing adjustments near the end, just because I would have liked some more detail Not the book I planned on reading at all, but one I'm super happy I did.Steel Crow Saga definitely drew it's inspiration from Avatar: The Last Airbender. If not, then they definitely drew from similar sources, because as much as the material in Steel Crow Saga is darker, it still seems very reminiscent of Avatar.I loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the book. I think that maybe there could have been some pacing adjustments near the end, just because I would have liked some more detail in a few scenes, but overall, it was a great, if unexpected read.Paul Kreuger has a talent for making me feel for the characters and I won't pretend that tears were not shed during the reading of this novel.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    anime as fuck
  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    The first major takeaway I have about Steel Crow Saga is that it’s unnecessarily long.To steal a phrasing from one of the characters, it was a long walk to a very anime battle scene.The way this book is written falls into very detailed descriptions. There’s not a lot of room for the reader’s imagination in way characters think, feel, or how the world works. Steel Crow Saga is written from four perspectives and by the time you reach the end of the book, you know pretty well how each of them The first major takeaway I have about Steel Crow Saga is that it’s unnecessarily long.To steal a phrasing from one of the characters, it was a long walk to a very anime battle scene.The way this book is written falls into very detailed descriptions. There’s not a lot of room for the reader’s imagination in way characters think, feel, or how the world works. Steel Crow Saga is written from four perspectives and by the time you reach the end of the book, you know pretty well how each of them thinks, multiple stories from their past, how they feel about their families, and their personal moral compasses. Regardless of how each flashback relates (or doesn’t) to the story… it’s all there. The wordiness in the writing style doubled with all this fleshing out made this a bit of a boring read for me.Behind the author’s particular style, there’s a uniqueness to this book. Steel Crow Saga definitely draws inspiration from anime, and that’s something you don’t see in your casual epic fantasy. The way character should-bind to their familiars (called “shades”) feels very similar to the anime fantasy relationship between heroes and their swords. The relationship between human and shade reminds me of a watered down, more mutually beneficial version of Naruto’s relationship with the nine-tailed fox demon trapped inside him.Like I said, very anime.And for that, I have to apologize, because anime really isn’t my thing. It’s my husband’s thing and my familiarity of it is limited to the bits and pieces of what I’ve seen of his playlists. Maybe Naruto isn’t the best choice, but that’s what I’ve got in my repertoire. As I said, it’s a style I haven’t seen before in this format and I respect that uniqueness, but I also have to acknowledge that for all the sappiness and drama and grand gestures, it’s not the style I personally prefer.The plot itself took the scenic route, with a lot of partner-swapping and sidetracked conversations to give a better idea of the political climate and the various character backgrounds. This may all play into the series plot, but there was some much time between plot sequences that I honestly forgot what the point of the whole thing was about halfway through. Then, fortunately, the villain made a quick appearance somewhere in the 300s and reminded me.In as far as the characters go, they were all developed and interesting enough in their own accord, but now that I’ve finished, I don’t think I was able to connect with them closely enough that they’ll stay with me now that I’ve finished. I never felt an emotional connection to the characters, who spent a lot of time in discussion and and flat inner monologues. Even the relationship between Lee and Xiulan felt forced and awkward.The character I liked best was Tala. Even though she was a sergeant, Tala had the most emotion and it was easiest to care about what her character thought and felt. Her actions didn’t always make sense, but she was the driving force that pushed me through some of the rougher bits; this is the advantage to a book with multiple POVs.There was one scene with Xiulan that stood out to me. It’s made abundantly clear throughout the book that Xiulan had some horrible, traumatic experience with mushrooms (explained near the end). At one point, Xiulan finds herself in a refrigerator essentially being mocked by a box of mushrooms and I’m not sure quite why, but the scene was a bit hilarious. The writing was on point there and I really liked that scene. I don’t want to say more about it and risk spoilers, but look out for the box of MUSHROOMS, y’all.I think this book would be more memorable to me, personally, if it had been trimmed down by at least 150 pages and condensed more effectively. However, as it stands, I think there will be an audience for this kind of writing. I’ve heard a few people excited for Steel Crow Saga, and I hope these people love it! Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a fit for me and I won’t be continuing the series.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Hiu Gregg
    January 1, 1970
    You want action? This book has that. You want magical animal companions? This book has that. You want colourful characters that compliment and clash against each other? You guessed it, this book has that.Much has been made about just how “anime” Steel Crow Saga is, and honestly, I can’t really dispute that claim. I’m not much of an anime fan myself (beyond enjoying Fullmetal Alchemist) but I am a fan of how Paul Krueger manages to pull from those influences to create an engaging and exciting You want action? This book has that. You want magical animal companions? This book has that. You want colourful characters that compliment and clash against each other? You guessed it, this book has that.Much has been made about just how “anime” Steel Crow Saga is, and honestly, I can’t really dispute that claim. I’m not much of an anime fan myself (beyond enjoying Fullmetal Alchemist) but I am a fan of how Paul Krueger manages to pull from those influences to create an engaging and exciting story that stands apart from the books I’ve read before.I love books that are unashamedly themselves. Those that celebrate their tropes and revel in them. So while I did admittedly find some of the dialogue to be a little cheesy, or some of the character’s reactions to be a little melodramatic at times, I didn’t really mind. Steel Crow Saga is proud of what it is, and what it is… is really fun.And not “fun” in that damning-with-faint-praise kind of way. I mean this book is a riot. The characters are vibrant and full of personality and pain and longing. The world is modern, but imbued with a sense of magic and complexity that keeps you reading just on the off-chance that you might learn more about it. Steel Crow Saga may be fun, but that doesn’t mean that it’s simple. It goes into a pretty in-depth exploration of the effects of colonialism on people adjacent to it, for one thing.And this, of course, ties into the characters. The blurb copied above does a great job of introducing them, but I want to comment on just how much I enjoyed how the history of the world, and each character’s individual background, ties into their worldviews. From the prince that doesn’t want to be a slave to his people’s colonialist past, to the impoverished thief trying to get over her innate distrust of her oppressors, to someone simply wanting to stand up for themselves against their family.Krueger is wonderful at crafting these characters that are deserving of sympathy. You want to see them succeed, all of them.But the catch there is that, a lot of the time, these characters are on opposite sides.Don’t get me wrong, there is a big bad. But the complexities of the world mean that it isn’t as simple as just teaming up to fight a Pokemon battle against Team Rocket. There are politics and feelings and all sorts of other stuff in the way.I love it when a world is that complex. But what I really loved about Steel Crow Saga is that it achieved that complexity without sacrificing its sense of wonder. The magic here feels magic. Whether that comes in the form of someone who can shape metal, or someone who can summon a giant animal to fight for them.Steel Crow Saga is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. There are lots of high-action scenes, plenty of heart-to-heart moments between characters, and a whole lot of magic. There is so much more to this book than I’ve touched on, but honestly it’s a book best experienced for yourself. If you’re strongly opposed to a little bit of cheesiness, I’d maybe look elsewhere. But if you aren’t, and if anything else I’ve said sounds up your alley, I really think you’ll enjoy this one.
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    “Pokémon, but make it ugly” ― this book, probablyDNF. The reason pretty much boils down to "life is too short to read boring books" and the fact that I just spent the first half of September reading a book I found boring hoping that it would get better, and it did not, so I'm not doing this again. Most of my feelings about this book were puzzlement about its choices in aesthetics and character design, so this didn't bode well anyway.I am shallow, but I usually have something to say about the “Pokémon, but make it ugly” ― this book, probablyDNF. The reason pretty much boils down to "life is too short to read boring books" and the fact that I just spent the first half of September reading a book I found boring hoping that it would get better, and it did not, so I'm not doing this again. Most of my feelings about this book were puzzlement about its choices in aesthetics and character design, so this didn't bode well anyway.I am shallow, but I usually have something to say about the characters as well, but here... no. They're fine. I don't care enough to spend 500 pages with them (especially Jimuro and Tala; at least I could see some potential in Lee and Xiulan's storyline).
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  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Travis
    January 1, 1970
    Steel Crow Saga is a terrific book that balances plot driven and character driven elements really really well. Also the Steel Crow Saga is literally a book that speaks to my inner soul. It is stocked with all my favorite tropes and elements that I love from a high fantasy story. I also really enjoy that even though there are hints of this being a series that Steel Crow Saga is in fact a self contained story. It does a wonderful job wrapping up the plot and all the characters have a clear and Steel Crow Saga is a terrific book that balances plot driven and character driven elements really really well. Also the Steel Crow Saga is literally a book that speaks to my inner soul. It is stocked with all my favorite tropes and elements that I love from a high fantasy story. I also really enjoy that even though there are hints of this being a series that Steel Crow Saga is in fact a self contained story. It does a wonderful job wrapping up the plot and all the characters have a clear and concise arc that comes full circle. This story also pays homage to elements of Pokemon and Full Metal Alchemist straight to its core. Even though this is fantasy, I would also say this is very steampunk as well because the characters actually travel via train and cars to get from destination to destination. So it gives this world and story that fresh identity that is so well deserves.Steel Crow Saga is very and highly underrated and more people need to be talking about this book. Just take my advice, take advice from other readers who have also loved this story and give it a shot and hopefully you won't be disappointed. Such a brilliant book and if this is the start of a series then I am looking forward to the sequel very much!
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    Their destinies were meant to collide as enemies become allies in an attempt to save an already battered and bruised world from the hands of a monster.Paul Krueger’s STEEL CROW SAGA has everything it needs to be a hard-hitting fantasy saga, but for me, it just missed the mark. The characters are predictable, they mimic the current trend in writing and while breathtakingly beautiful descriptions painted the backgrounds, it was too much of a good thing and seriously slowed this book down for me. Their destinies were meant to collide as enemies become allies in an attempt to save an already battered and bruised world from the hands of a monster.Paul Krueger’s STEEL CROW SAGA has everything it needs to be a hard-hitting fantasy saga, but for me, it just missed the mark. The characters are predictable, they mimic the current trend in writing and while breathtakingly beautiful descriptions painted the backgrounds, it was too much of a good thing and seriously slowed this book down for me. Sometimes less is more!This author has some incredible talent, but this time out, I didn’t fall into the story and live side by side with the characters, nor did I form an attachment to their world.I received a complimentary ARC edition from Del Rey! This is my honest and voluntary review.Publisher: Del Rey (September 24, 2019)Publication Date: September 24, 2019Genre: Myth & LegendPrint Length: 528 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting start...There are some who will absolutely love this fantasy. Sadly, I am not one of them. And while I appreciate the tribute to the multitudes of Asian culture, something felt missing to me. *Full review to come*
  • Shealea
    January 1, 1970
    Hello, this book made me cry a total of three times and I have yet to recover. But know that this is a new favorite of mine, and it has earned a special place in my fragile reader heart. Full review to follow.
  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 4.5 starsSteel Crow Saga is an epic Asian-inspired fantasy with intricate characters, magic systems, and world-building. It follows four characters with their own agendas as their stories intertwine in the aftermath of a war. I found this to be enjoyable and well-executed with a nice blend of action, character development, and world-building. It also includes Pokemon-like magical "shades" used in combat, and a strong dose of casually queer representation. (including characters who Actual Rating: 4.5 starsSteel Crow Saga is an epic Asian-inspired fantasy with intricate characters, magic systems, and world-building. It follows four characters with their own agendas as their stories intertwine in the aftermath of a war. I found this to be enjoyable and well-executed with a nice blend of action, character development, and world-building. It also includes Pokemon-like magical "shades" used in combat, and a strong dose of casually queer representation. (including characters who are transexual, bisexual, lesbian, and gay) You will find the richness of specific Asian cultures including traditional food woven into their alternate fantasy representations. Among the main ones found here are Korea, Japan, and Philippines, with mouth-watering and culturally nuanced descriptions of dishes like Adobo, Udon, and Bulgogi. Tala is a soldier with a mission from her general who lost her family to war and carries dark secrets. Jimuro is a prince traveling in secret to escape assassination and claim the throne of his broken empire. He is torn between what different factions want from him and must decide what kind of leader he will become.Xiulan is definitely my favorite character. She is a pipe-smoking detective who reads a lot, talks a lot, and uses big words. She is also secretly a low-ranking princess trying to find a way to claim the throne. Lee is a criminal who never stays long in one place or with one person to avoid getting hurt, but when Xiulan saves her life and invites her to join a partnership, she must decide whether she will stay with this lovely and intriguing woman. A lot happens through the course of this plot and it tackles everything from love and grief to racism, imperialism, and finding your purpose. It goes some dark places, but with a light touch and ultimately feels very hopeful. There is also plenty of fun for fans of Pokemon and similar. People can bond with animal spirits so that they become powerful, magical warriors who can be called upon known as shades. There is also some elemental magic, and interesting cultural divisions along magical lines. For instance, Jimuro's people can do magic with metal, but believe that having a shade is a form of enslavement. I can see this book appealing to wide range of people and there was a lot that I loved about it. I was living for the slow-burn f/f romance between Lee and the nerdy Xiulan.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Steel Crow Saga By: Paul Krueger *REVIEW* I've been on a run lately of okay books, but nothing I really love. Steel Crow Saga is yet another in this pile. Actually, if I had read that it was like Pokemon meets Airbender beforehand, I never would have requested it. That's not my thing at all. I could not connect with this story or the characters. It's long winded and Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Steel Crow Saga By: Paul Krueger *REVIEW* 🌟🌟🌟I've been on a run lately of okay books, but nothing I really love. Steel Crow Saga is yet another in this pile. Actually, if I had read that it was like Pokemon meets Airbender beforehand, I never would have requested it. That's not my thing at all. I could not connect with this story or the characters. It's long winded and too introspective with numerous characters to keep track of everywhere. There is a large audience, I know, for this exact type of story, and I do believe it will be wildly successful with those readers. I'm the wrong audience, however, and I found the whole thing flat.
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  • Maddie
    January 1, 1970
    Steel Crow Saga -4/5 Stars I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.Steel Crow Saga is a gorgeous novel that follows a cast of five incredibly well-developed characters living inside a politically chaotic fantasy world. That was a lot of words in one sentence.Basically, this book was everything I love. It was so character-driven, providing amazing development, riveting backstory, and great banter. It also focused heavily on politics and the various, Steel Crow Saga -4/5 Stars I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.Steel Crow Saga is a gorgeous novel that follows a cast of five incredibly well-developed characters living inside a politically chaotic fantasy world. That was a lot of words in one sentence.Basically, this book was everything I love. It was so character-driven, providing amazing development, riveting backstory, and great banter. It also focused heavily on politics and the various, opposing cultures that make up this Asian-inspired fantasy world. The world-building was so well done, especially seeing as it was so complex. Throughout the course of the book, you'll find yourself wholly immersed into the world, its customs, and its cultures. This book also has so much representation, and I'm not talking about the token side characters we're so used to seeing in fantasy novels. The cast of Steel Crow Saga is incredibly diverse, featuring gay, lesbian, bi, and trans characters--many of which are MAIN characters. It's very evident that this book uses tropes popularized by anime. For example, the magic system has many resemblances to popular animes like Fullmetal Alchemist and Pokemon. I was not surprised to find out that the author has publicly cited those two shows as inspiration for his work on social media. Basically, if you're a big anime fan, you'll probably enjoy this one. If not, I don't think it's a problem. I'm somewhere in the middle, and I really liked the book.The characters were definitely what made me love Steel Crow Saga, though. While the plot slowed down at times, my investment in them carried me through to the end. Dimangan, Tala, Jimuro, Lee, and Xiulian were fascinating to read about, and I loved their interactions with one another. One of my favorite things is when books force characters from clashing cultures to interact and settle their differences, and this one definitely did that. I also really enjoyed the author's focus on how war had affected people of different ranks in this world--from thieves to soldiers to royalty. Oh, and the few romantic scenes that we did get were SO cute. I'm really hoping for a sequel that gives us more of that.My big issue with the book was pacing. The plot did really slow down at times. I also didn't feel that the antagonistic "threats" were ever threatening enough. This takes place in a dangerous fantasy world; the stakes could've been WAY higher, and that would've easily made this a five-star read for me. Overall, I think the type of reader you are determines if this will be the book for you. If you love character-driven stories that focus on slow development and interactions, I think you'll love this. If you're interested in a fast-moving, no-fluff story, maybe skip. If you're unsure, I'd recommend picking it up. I LOVED this book and reading it was such a fun experience. I can't wait to see what Paul Krueger comes out with next.
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  • Umairah | Sereadipity
    January 1, 1970
    All the synonyms of amazing combined can't convey how good this book is!
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