Published Jan. 31, 2008 by Samhain Publishing.

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4 stars (2 reviews)

Thief, assassin, sellsword—Kaia Steelflower is famous. Well, mostly famous, and mostly for the wrong reasons. She’s made a good life for herself, despite being kicked out of her homeland for having no magic. She’s saving up for her retirement, when she can settle down, run an inn, and leave the excitement for others.

Then she picks the wrong pocket, wakes up with a hangover, and gets far more than she bargained for. Now she has a huge, furry barbarian to look after, a princeling from her homeland to fend off, and an old debt to fulfill. And for some reason, the God-Emperor’s assassins want to kill her.

It’s never easy being an elvish sellsword, and this time it just might be fatal…

1 edition

Tolkein adjacent, characterization, episode 1

4 stars

Content warning general plot discussion


4 stars

Steelflower was kind of a rollercoaster for me.

The world-building was nice, and I like that it avoided both the elves/orcs/humans/hobbits and fantasy-china/fantasy-italy/etc. tropes - I particularly enjoy the habit the author has of reconstructing words from their components (e.g. telescope => farseer).

I got really annoyed with the main character's level of melodrama and self-victimization around halfway in - I get that it was probably intentional, but I still found it aggravating. Overall I do enjoy that the characters are complex and that the protagonist isn't a perfect chosen one.

I don't feel like there was a whole lot of conclusion at the end, it kind of just segues into the next book without anything really being resolved. …so I immediately started the next book. 🙂