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Title: Steel Victory

Author: J.LGribble

Published: July 2nd 2015

Length:  215 pages

Source: Received for review


It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done a review! There are many things that initially spark my interest in reading a book, and the promise of a strong female kick-ass protagonist is one of them.

The synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

One hundred years ago, the vampire Victory retired from a centuries-long mercenary career. She settled in Limani, the independent city-state acting as a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies on the New Continent.

Twenty years ago, Victory adopted a human baby girl, who soon showed signs of magical ability.

Today, Victory is a city councilwoman, balancing the human and supernatural populations within Limani. Her daughter Toria is a warrior-mage, balancing life as an apprentice mercenary with college chemistry courses.

Tomorrow, the Roman Empire invades.’

As someone who enjoys reading historical fiction and fantasy this seemed like the perfect match! This book has a fantastically diverse set of characters from wereleopards and weresnakes to vampires… However whenever I read a blurb like this and notice it’s a fantasy alarm bells ring. In my opinion fantasy relies heavily on the execution of many aspects (e.g. world building) to bring this fictional world to life, and I feel like to balance that with the development of an interesting and captivating plot line and to do it all in 215 pages… I have a few points I’d like to mention so, on with the review:

World Building: I generally enjoyed the premise of this book and the idea that we have a free city were different creatures are able to coexist sounded interesting. Now, the word building was there… but it came in chunks and got a bit difficult to get through at times. I also feel like we were given a lot of unnecessary information that didn’t deepen our understanding of the characters nor did it help understand the city’s current situation. Having said that I can’t deny that there was some form of world building, it did help to create a general picture and keep me somewhat interested.

Characters: There were some characters in this book that I appreciated whilst others that I thought were maybe a little irrelevant. Again I think that when writing a short story it’s difficult to include a lot of characters and allow each character to develop throughout the story. At some points I really couldn’t keep up with who is who. Maybe if there was less focus on some of the extra characters to provide development of Victory and most importantly Toria I would’ve been able to connect with these characters a little more.

Plot: I enjoyed that we had two different plot lines, we have the whole Humanists situation and we also have the impending Roman invasion. I also liked that the author linked these two towards the end of the book, the link made sense and felt realistic. I personally enjoy reading more about the military sort of battle aspects ( wow my English skills) that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading historical fiction. The author was able to create tension and suspense in these scenes and actually, managed to fit in quite a bit of content into this story without making the reader feel like their lost.

Maybe one of my biggest problems with this book was that it didn’t really know what it was. Sometimes it read like a really dense historical fiction others it was an action packed fantasy and sometimes it slowed down to a contemporary feel. I’m not saying these genres do not belong together in a book but when it leaves me a little confused as to what tone the author wanted to set at that that particular scene the books’ not really coming together for me as a reader. It weren’t a particularly bad book but it also didn’t blow my mind…

In other news I wanted to post more of a discussion blog post and the topic is ‘rating reviews’. I initially started rating the books but recently decided against it and I wanted to elaborate on that in a little more detail. Let me know in the comments below what you think of a rating system!