Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga

by Paul Krueger

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress's army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress's crimes don't haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic . . . and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption - or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery - but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She's a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world's most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime - and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward - she can't say no, and soon finds she doesn't want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives - and begin to change the world.

Reviewed by alindstadtcorbeax on

5 of 5 stars

Star Rating: —> 5 Stars

I loved this beyond words— I really can’t put my finger on exactly the words to say to fully express the extent of my emotions, at the moment

I can say that I fell so unexpectedly, madly, head-over heels in love with this book. I mean, I knew that i’d probably like it, given its roots roughly based in asian history, & its fantasy elements which seem like something out of the pages of a beloved manga series. I mean, its pretty much a guarantee that i’ll love absolutely any novel with a magical system based upon even a rough sketch of asian culture & folklore, and although this touched on familiar, it is exceptional & original. With a plot drenched in humanity— bonds & relationships between fellow humans, between animals (also known as shades), and a even a small amount with metal, or “steel.”

The magic in this story is made through pacts- a magical bond between human and another source, namely, Shadepacts, a pact where a human and an animal create a pact, in which both parties trade a piece of soul with the other, the animal offering service to the human if their souls are harmonious to one another. They ask only a specific favor/ condition of the human in order to complete the pact. Think of this sort of like Pokémon, except with the cost of part of the soul, & people can only split their soul with one, or possibly two shades- more is unheard of- and an actual piece of a soul is what that gives a shade life. All that it takes to call on them during a time of need is the name given to them during the formation of the pact. Shades take damage magically, their corporeal form fading when they take TOO much physical harm, to heal; if the damage they take is fatal- they cease to be.

Others can create pacts with steel- and make steelpacts with metal to control it to their will. With the ability to control blades, bullets & the like, it comes in quite handy. It is a learned & sacred act, stemming from the thought that every part of the earth has a living force.

For the moment, I have SO MUCH MORE to say I need some more time to reflect, I think, because this story is so incredibly amazing & I want to do it justice! My frantic mind is struggling to get a firm grasp on the words that keep popping up in my brain, trying to form coherent sentences. So much is on the tip of my tongue... yet nothing that I write seems... exactly right. It may not even make sense! I have not drafted anything, because I have been pouring myself completely into reading, with no break to review (except for sleep, of source), as a result of my extreme anxiety lately.
Soooo yeah- I may just honestly be rambling strings of unintelligible words/ sentences for all I am aware of rn.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 3 June, 2020: Finished reading
  • 3 June, 2020: Reviewed