Heroes for hire. If you can pay.
The Sin in the Steel // by Ryan Van Loan
Pub Day: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Tor/Forge Books
Length: 432 pages
Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It’s been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city’s trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her. Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker’s ship…. Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans. Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc.
I cannot believe that this is the author’s debut novel. I was hooked on this story as soon as it started and am in love with the two main characters, Buc and Eld. The setting has a Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it with a modern twist as well as magic. A big difference though is that men and women seem to be seen as equals, holding high ranking positions in companies and what are seen as male-dominated spaces usually, such as the captain of a ship. This itself is a huge reason why I enjoyed the setup. There are also several times where the men of the story have no issue looking at two of the main female characters as the smartest people in the room. Despite the focus on the strength of the characters (especially the women) though, it was also nice to see those same characters recognize their weaknesses as well. It made them seem even more realistic. The only thing I was not super sure about was Buc’s age. Even with a brilliant mind, that does seem very young.
I loved the story itself just as much as the characters and the setting. Being a bookworm myself, I enjoyed the many references to the books that Buc has read and how she uses that knowledge to her advantage during their adventures. Eld, being only a little older than her, seems to have years of real-world experience on her and uses his own military training to their advantage as well, despite the fact that he does not like to talk about it. The story moves along at a steady pace with a lot of action happening throughout the entire book. It was fun to be able to decipher the problems along with Buc, though I do have to admit that I am not nearly as smart as her and was unable to predict several things in this book, which is not something I am used to in these types of stories. I especially enjoyed the part of the story that resulted in the name of this book!
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About the Author:
Ryan Van Loan is an up and coming Science Fiction and Fantasy author. He started reading his Grandfather’s Reader’s Digest when he was four years old. Soon after, he read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer before eventually discovering science fiction and fantasy through the works of Robin McKinley, Robert Jordan, Stephen King and many more. He moved around a lot in his childhood from Montana to Georgia to Puerto Rico before finally ending up in Pennsylvania. Ryan served six years as a Sergeant in the United States Army Infantry (PA National Guard) where he served on the front lines of Afghanistan. All of that travel got into his blood and Ryan has traveled around the world with his wife, wandering Caribbean island haunts, exploring the palaces and cathedrals of Europe, and hiking with elephants in the rain forests of Southeast Asia. When he’s not traveling Ryan enjoys hiking, soccer (football), tabletop gaming, weightlifting (with his personal best coming from deadlifting three times his body weight), and all things culinary. Ryan’s debut novel, The Sin in the Steel (Tor Books), Book One in the Fall of the Gods series came out on July 21, 2020. Today, Ryan lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with his wife and two dogs where he’s hard at work on his next novel.
About the Publisher:
Tor Books is the most successful science fiction and fantasy publisher in the world. Winner of the Locus Award for best SF publisher 20 years in a row, Tor regularly puts books like Robert Jordan’s Knife of Dreams and Terry Goodkind’s Chainfire atop national bestseller lists. Tor’s Orb imprint offers trade paperback editions of outstanding, award-winning SF and fantasy backlist titles. Additionally, the Tor Kids program includes Starscape, Tor Teen, and one of the largest classics lines in North America.
The Forge imprint publishes a wide range of fiction, including a strong line of historical novels and thrillers, plus mysteries, women’s fiction, and a variety of nonfiction titles. Tor/Forge has also become the leading modern publisher of American westerns.
Well-known authors recently published by Tor and Forge include Andrew M. Greeley, Douglas Preston, Orson Scott Card, Michael & Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Harold Robbins, Susan Kearney, Jonathan Carroll, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Andre Norton, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, former Secretary of Defense William B. Cohen, Susanna Clarke, Allan Folsom, Eric Lustbader, Elizabeth Haydon, Gene Wolfe, Morgan Llewelyn, David Lubar, David Weber, Christopher Pike, and Philip K. Dick.
Thank you to the author, publisher, and BookishFirst for providing me with a free copy of this fantastic book. Again, I cannot believe that this is Van Ryan’s debut novel! I really hope I will be able to snag an ARC for the next book in this series as well.