This Sunday I featured Steel Blood for my first offering in the ‘A Book By Its Cover’ series of humorous fake reviews. I haven’t yet read this third volume in J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series, but I have read the first two novels, Steel Victory and Steel Magic. Seems the perfect time to write real reviews on them.
In the most general sense, at least one part of that Steel Blood cover-inspired ‘review’ is correct. The Steel Empires series is a fusion of many different genre elements that make it hard to precisely classify. Urban Fantasy/Alternate History is the publisher’s cover labeling, and indeed the series overall recalls elements of The Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris (the basis of True Blood), built into an alternate history world. But added into this melting pot one can also find dashes of post-apocalyptic SF and Steampunk. All of these elements don’t mix equally, or as successfully, but on the whole the two novels have character-driven and plot-driven fun that is as solidly written as the most popular urban fantasy series out there. [Read more…]