43610634._sy475_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 curse
Tala 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 debt
Jimuro 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 grudge
Xiulan 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 heart
Lee 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.

SourceFormatPagesPublisherGenrePublication Date
NetgalleyeARC528 Gollancz FantasySeptember 26th, 2019

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!