About the Book
Book: The Queen of Steel and Fire
Author: Steven South
Genre: Young Adult, Epic Fantasy
Release date: April 21, 2021
When her father is murdered, Princess Claire Erinn is thrust onto the throne of Keldaren. Unprepared to rule, Claire has to act like a strong queen until she learns how to be one. But an enemy queen and Claire’s half-mad brother don’t intend to let her live that long. They’re coming for her crown—and her head. With Death herself hunting her, Claire struggles to become the warrior her kingdom needs. As war engulfs an entire world, only one queen can rule—through steel and fire.
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The Queen of Steel and Fire was an interesting read. However, I’ll admit that I had a hard time getting into it, and even thought about putting it down. But I am glad that I didn’t because the payoff was great and it made me want to read more about this world, as well as the characters, especially after the ending!
Before I continue, I should probably share a little bit of why I almost put this book down. There are several reasons. First, I was in the middle of a reading slump while reading it. Second, it started out really slow and I had a little bit of difficulty understanding some of the aspects of the world and culture that we are transported to.
As I mentioned before though, once I hit the 100 page mark, I was hooked and struggled to put it down. I enjoyed the plot and found it really interesting, I loved learning more along with Claire about certain things, and I think she was a great character. I love how we see her try to adjust to her new role as queen and even how she has a little bit of imposter syndrome along the way. And I enjoyed watching her character development throughout the novel.
While this is mainly a fantasy, I also loved that it had quite a bit of political intrigue too. I found myself wondering who exactly Claire could trust, and who was using her as a pawn. Also, the villain was great and I liked how she was developed over the course of the novel.
Overall, I really liked The Queen of Steel and Fire . I think it is a great book for readers who are just getting into fantasy and don’t know where to start. I hope I get t read more about Claire and her friends in the future. 3.5/5 Stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author
Steve lives in Minnesota with his wife. When he’s not reading, working, or writing, he loves to travel…his goal is to make it to at least six continents in his lifetime. Just three more to go! Beside traveling, he also loves karaoke, although he’ll be the first to admit that he’s terrible at it. You can contact him through his Facebook page:
More from Steven
This project began as a bit of a lark to see if I actually had it in me to write a book. I first “finished” the book in 2006. Then I discovered the meaning of the phrase “writing is re-writing”. It took me over thirty attempts to get the beginning right. Six complete re-writes of the book and 13 years later, it won the 2019 Minnesota Author Project award for young adult fiction. Many query letters later, I found a publisher. After several more revisions with Mel Hughes—the excellent editor that I was very fortunate to work with—Elk Lake Publishing released the book this year.
When I first started writing this book, there weren’t a lot of Fantasy novels with female main characters. I felt it was a really under-represented area within the genre, and I wanted to write a book that imagined what a world with more strong female characters—and especially a strong female protagonist—might look like. I also wanted to write a book that explored the struggle with reconciling faith and reason, and how to be good in a world of moral relativism.
I was raised in a strong Catholic household, but I drifted away from faith in my late teens. In my mid-twenties, I decided that I was being intellectually dishonest with myself, having one foot in religion, and one foot in a kind of lukewarm agnosticism. I took some time to “wander in the desert” and really wrestle with religion and my beliefs, did a lot of studying of different religions and Christian denominations, and as a result of that, found myself really strongly drawn back to the Church.
There’s a saying that all first novels are autobiographies. I guess that’s somewhat true for this novel too. Claire has to struggle to answer the fundamental question about faith that all honest skeptics have to confront at some point in their lives—what if could be true? The Queen of Steel and Fire was born of my journey through that question, and the answer I found.
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To celebrate his tour, Steven is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.