Review: The Moonsteel Crown by Stephen Deas

55447293._sx318_This is a book that the publisher reached out to me about. And described it as ‘fun and sweary’ which, I mean come on. That’s like 2 of my top 5 things I love about books.

So many thanks to the author, as well as Angry Robot for the review copy!

The Emperor of Aria has been murdered, the Empire is in crisis, and Dead Men walk the streets…

But Myla, Fings, and Seth couldn’t care less. They’re too busy just trying to survive in the Sulk-struck city of Varr, committing petty violence and pettier crimes to earn their keep in the Unrulys, a motley gang led by Blackhand.

When the Unrulys are commissioned to steal a mysterious item to order, by an equally mysterious patron, the trio are thrust right into the bitter heart of a struggle for the Crown, where every faction is after what they have.

Forced to lie low in a city on lockdown, they will have to work together if they want to save their skins… and maybe just save the Empire as well.

This book follows 3 characters: Seth, Myla, and Fings. Seth is a disgraced former novice, thrown out of the church; Myla is a sword-monk, trained to kill so well it’s nearly instinct; and Fings is a superstitious thief, very skilled at not keeping his hands out of people’s pockets.

They are more or less part of a gang, known as the Unrulys, which is run by a man nobody really likes called Blackhand. The gang fights with another rival gang known as the Spicers, but one day Blackhand takes the Unrulys shenanigans a bit further by having them steal an item of very, very special significance to the emperor.

They do, and bury it, and then it seems that every faction in the city is after them for it. So, they do what they can to avoid trouble coming down on their heads, each in their own ways.

I liked this one, though I didn’t love it as much as I anticipated I would. It was sweary and fun though, so I’ll call it a win. I really liked Seth as a character. His excommunication from the church was interesting, and he more or less takes it in stride. As he sees it: ‘what are they going to do? Excommunicate me some more?’ – some of the shenanigans that he gets up to, especially in the latter half of the book, were quite interesting and a little funny. Especially when he makes a uh… special friend named Cleaver. 

Myla and Fings I also liked, but less so. I did enjoy Myla’s badassitude, and I thought that some of Fings’ adventures were quite interesting. I liked how each of the three main characters had a unique characteristic about them. For instance, Seth talks to himself. A lot. He answers himself too. He does it in his head, but having that internal dialogue visible helped me warm to him, because I totally have internal dialogue like that as well. 

All told, I thought that this was a fun, fast-paced book that laid a lot of groundwork in a story that I do hope continues along in more books. The ending left a lot of opening for more books, without leaving this one seeming incomplete. I’m interested to see where else this story goes in the future! 4/5 stars!~


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