The Iron Ship (K. M. McKinley)

25 November 2020

The Iron Ship

Merchant, industrialist and explorer Trassan Kressind has an audacious plan – combining the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship to navigate an uncrossed ocean, seeking the city of the extinct Morfaan to uncover the secrets of their lost sciences.

Ambition runs strongly in the Kressind family, and for each of Trassan’s siblings fate beckons. Soldier Rel is banished to a vital frontier, bureaucrat Garten balances responsibility with family loyalty, sister Katriona is determined to carve herself a place in a world of men, outcast Guis struggles to contain the energies of his soul, while priest Aarin dabbles in forbidden sorcery. The world is in turmoil as new money brings new power, and the old social order crumbles. And as mankind’s arts grow stronger, a terror from the ancient past awakens...

This highly original fantasy depicts a unique world, where tired gods walk industrial streets and the tide’s rise and fall is extreme enough to swamp continents. Magic collides with science to create a rich backdrop for intrigue and adventure in the opening book of this epic saga.

Average Rating:

Sean Aaron (29 December 2020 02:24)

Doesn’t work as a stand-alone novel, but characters are well-developed and interesting and the author’s writing is good enough that I want to carry on with the series.

Sinclair Manson (28 November 2020 21:10)

I enjoyed this book a lot, although I struggled to understand why. The first part of a trilogy, it in no way stands alone, reading like the first third of a much longer book. The writing is occasionally clunky. The different plot strands are not obviously connected. Some important moments are skipped over. At times it felt at risk of being swamped by all the ideas in play. There was a slight worry that the author wouldn't actually get around to launching the titular iron ship by the end of the book. Yet, despite all this, I'm really keen to read the sequels. There's a real energy to the story and it was clearly a labour of love. Every character, no matter how minor, feels deeply inhabited, which makes it easy to care about them. There were surprises and mysteries enough to stop it ever being boring. Surprisingly good!