Review: Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga is the character-focused fantasy I’ve been dreaming of. It’s also so much more than that.

Steel Crow Saga CoverFour destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

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. (Goodreads)


I loved Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. Steel Crow Saga honestly blew me out of the water in every single way. I mean, it was pitched as Pokemon meets Avatar: The Last Airbender. What could get better than that? Well, this book did.

I listened to the audiobook while I drove across the country and it was the perfect choice. All four of our main characters are distinctly themselves and only get better through the story, which made listening to Steel Crow Saga a delight.

All of the countries in this book are pretty clear analogs to Asian countries – The Phillippines, India Japan, China and Korea – based on the language and foods that Krueger incorporated. It deals with Asian colonialism in a way that I’ve never seen before – in a good way. The reality of what war and colonization have done to various countries is so central to the plot that you can’t help but interrogate these things yourself. That’s the mark of great writing.

I won’t say much about the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, foxy friends. What I will say is that I loved the nuanced magical systems and all of the characters. Also, both romances are fabulous – both m/f and f/f for your reading pleasure. You will love them both.

I believe there is another standalone book planned in this universe, and I will definitely be buying it.

If I’ve convinced you to pick up Steel Crow Saga for yourself, then good for me! You can pick up a copy through our affiliate links on Amazon, Indiebound and Book Depository. I think you’ll love it.


Title: Steel Crow Saga

Author: Paul Krueger

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Length: 528 Pages

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Rating: Highly Recommended

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Representation: wlw main characters, mlm side character, fantasy analog Japanese character, fantasy analog Filipino character, Filipino author, fantasy analog Chinese character, fantasy analog Korean character


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