cover image Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga

Paul Krueger. Del Rey, $27 (528p) ISBN 978-0-593-12822-0

Four cultures collide in this disjointed journey across a land reminiscent of post-colonial Southeast Asia. Iron Prince Jimuro of Tomoda, last of his bloodline, fights to make it to his own coronation, hoping to establish an unprecedented reign of peace. Bitter and remorseful Tala of the Sanbu Islands wears her anger like a shield, and ensuring the safety of Prince Jimuro is the only goal that spurs her on. Lee Yeon-Ji of the Jeongson vassal state of Shang, who lives by her rule of “leave them before they leave you,” is recruited into the powerful Li-Quan police force and sent to capture the prince. Princess Shang Xiulan vies for the Shang throne against her own sister by using the Iron Prince as an offering. Magic abilities pop up without notice as the plot requires, and the geographical staging and overlapping territories are confusing. Krueger (Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge) does little to develop the plot or the fantastical aspects of the setting, but the book teems with cultural references in the characters’ personalities. Readers with a taste for Southeast Asian culture will appreciate the backdrop, even if they are less than won over by the story itself. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Sept.)