Disclaimer: I read an advanced reviewer e-copy of this book from the author, who is a friend (and one of the former players in my Friday night D&D game). Didn't stop me from buying a dead tree copy for myself!
Yet another fast paced installment of the Steel Empire series. This is another squeal to Steel Victory, as it takes place concurrently to Steel Magic showing what Victory and Mikelos are doing while Kane and Toria were off doing their apprenticeship. Of course, what should be an easy bodyguard contract for Victory ends up turning into so much more...
While it doesn't move the plot elements from Steel Magic forward, don't think this is just a filler novel! Steel Blood brings in plenty more plot elements that have the possibility of reverberating through the author's world. And once again getting to see more of the world is one of the great delights of this series! In this installment we're introduced to the Qin Empire (aka China) and its were-dragon nobility, and the werewolf nobility of the British Empire. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Victory's meddling will bring about in future installments.
As with the other books in this series, it continues to defy easy classification. Yes, it's a fantasy alternative history, yet that only just scratches at the surface. What this series really is about is the characters, and the fact that some of them are wizards and were-creatures is truly incidental to that. This whole saga is the story of Victory and her family, whether they're dealing with the fate of nations, the warping weave of magic, or a pair of star crossed lovers, in the end it's all about family.
Once again, my major complaint is that it's so enjoyable and such a fast read that it's over too quickly. We all have to wait another year before we get the next installment! At least the fact that each book has been better than the last, that year is one of anticipation!
Cross-posted to Goodreads and Amazon