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Review: Ship of Smoke and Steel

Ship of Smoke and Steel

Do you rotting like it when authors rotting use made-up curse words instead of just rotting swearing?

Biggest book pet peeve ever. But extra special here? Django Wexler only uses one curse word replacement … rot. Rotted. Rotting. Rot. Rot. Rot. I counted 15 times on one page the word rot was used as a curse. 15 times! 

Then the rutting.

This story is filled with everyone needing to rut. I get that he is trying to make this a gritty bunch of hard living criminals but do they have to go around rotting swearing and “rutting” all the time?!

If you can get beyond the rotting and rutting you might actually experience some pretty exceptional fantasy at work here … unfortunately this often gets drowned out by Django’s bloated, descriptive writing. He describes creatures and scenes in confounding, swirling detail that just left me lost. Maybe Django had this ultimate world in his mind, but he forgot to bring us along and then drowned us in confusing, disorienting detail. It was rotting frustrating.

I sincerely tried to like this novel and gave it my all … it was such a struggle. Maybe you can get past made up cursing, maybe you can get past the derogatory rutting, and overly drawn out high fantasy concepts … but I couldn’t get past how women were portrayed in this book. They are down right insulting and cookie cutter.

To make Isoka, he’s really just written a man. A stereotypical “man’s man” who binds her breasts, forms no attachments, “ruts” as/when she needs to and spends a lot of her time finding a good place to masturbate. The book features cringy masturbating scenes – more than once he has Isoka conflicted about where she can go “relieve her tensions” … you know, like most women need to do when faced with life and death everyday. His other leading lady, Meroe, is a cookie-cutter more-than-meats-the-eye princess …because she’s smart, caring, kind and brave! She just further exaggerates how awfully he has written Isoka – this tenderhearted princess who never lifts a finger to fight in this battle-happy novel and is always saved by the “manly” Isoka.

My last complaint is the confusing time period. Or simply the lack of one. Mostly this story seems to be set in a primitive medieval time period but then we have corrugated steel and, lord give me strength, he compares a hair pin to a stiletto high heel?!

Such a shame, because it really had amazing potential and some truly outstanding imaginative fantasy. Just lost among the confusing world building, frustrating, unexplained time period, disastrous overuse of a made up curse and insulting women characters. It was bad … just rotting bad.

(FYI I only used rotting 13 times here … )


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