frayadjacent: Xena on Argo, charging forward & waving her sword (Xena: Charging on Argo)
[personal profile] frayadjacent
I finished The Steerswoman and am now reading the second book in the series, The Outskirter's Secret.  And...I kinda feel like these books were written for me!  I love the characters -- Rowan and Bel, obvs, but also a lot of the minor characters too.  Kerstein writes people with such sympathy -- and Rowan's POV is one that's so interested in understanding people, and cultures, and how they tick, and RESPECTS them.  It's just really great.  Also things like the pacing, level of sex and violence, etc, are just about right for this gen-loving squeamish fangirl.

Like, I loved how the two teen wizards from the end of The Steerswoman were not the conniving evil lords I expected, but, well, the type of people you might imagine that curious, well-educated teenagers with way too much power would be. 

And I loved Rowan's speech to the wizard whose name I forget about why he won't kill them: because they're not special, and if they don't do this, someone else will.  I don't love the speech so much for the speech itself*, but for the way the entirety of the book backs it up.  We see that the other Steerswomen are, indeed, as good as Rowan.  We see that there are plenty of curious and clever people throughout the world.  And now, with The Outskirter's Secret, we learn -- along with Rowan-- that Bel, wonderful as she is, is nothing all that special either.  She's a product of her people.

*I actually found the speech itself a little too...speechy.  It was one of those moments that a good actor could probably sell easily, but the Voice Inside My Head isn't all that good an actor.  But I did really appreciate the content of the speech.

The slow reveal that This World is Not What You Thought has been an utter delight.  I tend to skim descriptions when I read, and I've been forcing myself to slow down, to actually visualise what's being described, because the world-building that's done through description of objects and scenery is part of the book's awesomeness.



Date: 23/04/2014 03:48 am (UTC)
chaila: Elizabeth Bennet reading a book, from the 2005 movie. (austen - lizzie/books)
From: [personal profile] chaila
Yaaaaaay yes all of this! I love Rowan and Bel so much, but it's such a great point that they aren't special I mean, they are to us, because we heart them! But they're the people on these adventures largely by chance and happenstance, not because they have super special destinies or are The Only Ones Who Can, or some other quest cliche. And I really love that even Rowan has to consciously adjust her assumptions about the Outskirters, because she had been automatically assuming that Bel was special and different than the other Outskirters. I also love that Rowan can be a bit of a failboat about social situations, and is fiercely independent. Rowan. <3

And haha, yes I totally agree about the speechifying, especially for Rowan. But the content was great! And the gen, THE GEN. It is like the perfect level of character stuff, adventures, swordfights, violence, sex, etc. which is so rare.

I kind of miss reading without really knowing What Is Going On, and trying to read slowly and figure out what things are via Rowan's descriptions, when she has no language or framework to describe it. I think I kind of forget how cool and well-done it all is, with the way it just drops crumbs until you figure it out.

I wish I could have a Steerswoman icon.
Edited Date: 23/04/2014 03:53 am (UTC)

Date: 24/04/2014 01:24 am (UTC)
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (books)
From: [personal profile] chaila
Oh awesome! I was embarrassingly excited to see that cover, because it had both the ring and the jewel on it. Both were pretty much how I had pictured them, but it was still cool to SEE them. Yay! :D

Date: 23/04/2014 03:49 am (UTC)
giglet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] giglet
Yay! I'm glad you are the perfect reader for these books! I liked and admired them, and I championed them, but they aren't the perfect books for me

Date: 23/04/2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
likeadeuce: (Default)
From: [personal profile] likeadeuce
Oooh, I've had Steerswoman highly recommended to me -- I don't even remember in what context -- and I bought the first book as soon as it came out in ebook. Will have to bump that up the list.

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frayadjacent: Buffy circa late S6, smiling slightly. I think she just broke up with Spike (Default)
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