In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka comes to collect when there’s money owing.
When her ability to access the Well of Combat is discovered by the Empire—an ability she should have declared and placed at His Imperial Majesty’s service—she’s sent on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship—a ship from which no one has ever returned.
If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.
All hail Meroe, Queen of my heart. I love her. So much. Plus Isoka and Meroe are such a perfect match. 😍😍😍
Right fangirling over (yeah right), onto the main review!
This book hooked me from the start. I actually wasn’t sure from the blurb, but picked it up as a buddy read and I struggled to put it down every day! The world is dark and grimy and Isoka is so tough and flawed and wonderful. The ship is AMAZING. I sort of want to see it even though that seems like a flat out terrible idea. The whole culture on board is brilliant cut-throat (sometimes literally) and hierarchical, which I loved. There were a few things I sort of saw coming, but I particularly liked the ghost twist (not a spoiler as I won’t say more!).
The way the ship works and the crabs and the angels is all fascinating to me, too. Same with the wells of magic.
There was a point where I realised not a lot had happened, and I text my friend to say that, but that I was still loving it. Lol. So that’s why this only gets 4 stars! But it is action packed at the end! And where not a lot happens at the start, the story still moves along and it’s not just info which is great.
I also really enjoyed the play of relationships in the book. Isoka and Meroe are perfect fouls for each other as they complement each other in their capabilities. Meroe is tough but more politically and socially adept. She stands her ground, and I adore her smarts and her conscience. Isoka is fierce but also more accepting that’s what she has to do than outright being blood thirsty. And she will just keeping getting up and keep fighting. But the side characters are also lovely – Jack and Thora are so cute. I particularly liked Jack, she made me laugh. And even the rest of the gang and the other gangs and heads were well fleshed out and I could feel their motivations.
I definitely can’t wait to get the next book and see what Isoka and Meroe (my Queen!!!) are getting up to.
Buy Ship of Smoke and Steel from Amazon UK.