Ship of Smoke and Steel, by Django Wexler

Review copy provided by Tor Books. Also I’ve known Django for several years, we’ve taught a workshop together, he’s marrying a friend of mine, it’s all…like SFF generally is, there.

So. If you’ve liked Django’s MG work, and/or you’ve liked his adult work, but you thought, y’know, this stuff is just too shiny and perky for me? Good news, he is writing this YA series that makes his previous series look like the teddy bears are having their picnic. It is all Django all the time, and then more stabbing with magical blades. Also giant crabs.

If you have not read Django’s previous stuff and are not sure what sort of thing this might be: stabbing with magical blades! Giant crabs! Treachery and scheming and forbidden sources of magic! Self-propelled sentient ships of doom!

It’s not quite as dark as I’m making it out to be. (It’s pretty dark.) One of Django’s common themes that crops up here too is people finding out that they’re better than they thought they were, finding reserves of goodness either on their own or with a bit of inspiration or coaxing. Also this is a kissing book, and not all of it is meaningless and Machiavellian. (Some of it totally is, though.)

The ending is very open, so I’m anxious to see what comes next in this series.

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