Steel

( 71 )

Overview

A mysterious broken sword transports a modern teen through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past, and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as she learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain!

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Steel

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Overview

A mysterious broken sword transports a modern teen through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past, and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as she learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain!

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Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“Vivid period details add to the appeal of this unusual swashbuckler.”
VOYA - Nancy Wallace
Jill intends to win her final fencing tournament and qualify for the Junior World Fencing Championships, but at the last instant she hesitates, and the medal goes to her opponent instead. Even a trip to the Bahamas with her family does not ease her disappointment. Jill keeps to herself, reads, and walks the beach. One day she discovers the rusted tip of a rapier. She pockets it, imagining swashbuckling pirate duels. The next day, when Jill joins her family on an excursion boat, she is washed over the side during a freak storm. She is amazed to be yanked roughly out of the water and onto a real pirate ship. Alone in a violent historical past, Jill discovers that swordsmanship is not just a game—it can mean the difference between life and death. The author makes time travel believable by keeping Jill guessing. Familiar devices for such a transition, like a head injury or coma, are discarded as her life aboard the pirate ship stretches into weeks. The rapier tip, which allows her to be transported back in time, holds special significance to Jill's captain and ultimately provides Jill with a way home. Marjory Cooper, the female captain, provides an interesting variation to the traditional pirate crew. Historical details add a jarring, realistic touch to what might have been a predictable story as Jill discovers that daily life on a ship involves more drudgery than action. This unique story should have broad appeal among athletic girls, making it a good purchase for both school and public libraries. Reviewer: Nancy Wallace
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Jill has just lost a big fencing tournament, and now she's stuck on a Caribbean vacation with her parents, nursing her wounded ego. Walking along the beach, she picks up a broken, rusty rapier tip. The next day, she takes a boat trip with her family, falls into the ocean, and finds herself pulled out of the water and onto a pirate ship. Jill has a hard time accepting the fact that she's traveled 300 years into the past, but she eventually gets her sea legs and finds that her fencing skills come in handy in pirate life. But will she be able to save herself when it really counts? Details of shipboard life are well integrated into the narrative, with an emphasis on the endless hard work and real-life dangers of a pirate's existence. The Diana is captained by Marjory Cooper, a strong female character who wins Jill over with her courage and fairness. Magical elements, and the actions of an evil rival pirate captain determined to get his hands on the sword tip, enhance the time-travel premise, give the plot cohesion, and add suspense. Readers willing to suspend their disbelief will enjoy this swashbuckling adventure on the high seas.—Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews

In a thoroughly enjoyable take on the historical time-travel tale, Jill Archer, vacationing in the Bahamas with her family and depressed at having just missed qualifying for the Junior World Fencing Championships, uncovers the rusty tip of an old sword in the sand. With it, she's transported back 300 years onto the pirate ship Diana, captained by Margery Cooper. Recognizing the sword, Cooper claims it for her own, knowing it will lead her and her mostly loyal crew to its owner and Cooper's enemy, pirate Edmund Blane. Stuck in the past, Jill signs onto the crew, which operates as a loose democracy. Learning the ropes, setting sail and standing watch, Jill grows fond of her shipmates, but as Cooper closes in on Blane, Jill senses that he represents her only way home. As her attractive shipmate Henry teaches her to fight with a real sword, onboard and on land, Jill acquires a new, deeper understanding of her sport. The same bad move that in competition would only lose her points, in battle very likely could end her life. Through her assertive, appealing protagonist and a satisfying plot that sheds light on lesser-known aspects of pirate life, Vaughn introduces readers to an intriguing sport with an ancient pedigree. (author's note, glossary of fencing terms) (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)

Kirkus Reviews

In a thoroughly enjoyable take on the historical time-travel tale, Jill Archer, vacationing in the Bahamas with her family and depressed at having just missed qualifying for the Junior World Fencing Championships, uncovers the rusty tip of an old sword in the sand. With it, she's transported back 300 years onto the pirate ship Diana, captained by Margery Cooper. Recognizing the sword, Cooper claims it for her own, knowing it will lead her and her mostly loyal crew to its owner and Cooper's enemy, pirate Edmund Blane. Stuck in the past, Jill signs onto the crew, which operates as a loose democracy. Learning the ropes, setting sail and standing watch, Jill grows fond of her shipmates, but as Cooper closes in on Blane, Jill senses that he represents her only way home. As her attractive shipmate Henry teaches her to fight with a real sword, onboard and on land, Jill acquires a new, deeper understanding of her sport. The same bad move that in competition would only lose her points, in battle very likely could end her life. Through her assertive, appealing protagonist and a satisfying plot that sheds light on lesser-known aspects of pirate life, Vaughn introduces readers to an intriguing sport with an ancient pedigree. (author's note, glossary of fencing terms) (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061956508
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 514,900
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Carrie Vaughn survived her air force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado. Her first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, launched a popular series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk-radio advice show. She is also the author of Voices of Dragons, her debut novel for teen readers. Ms. Vaughn lives in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Unmemorable/Predictable Read

    (Contains some spoilers) Sixteen year old Jill thought that losing a fencing boute was the worst thing that could happen. She was mistaken. When Jill discovers a tip of a ancient rapier at the beach, it transports her back to the 1800s on a pirate ship led by a fierce pirate queen. Unwillingly, she finds herself in the middle of an adventure.

    I was excited to find out that a YA author wrote a pirate book. I thought that Vaughn's descriptions were vivid, especially during the battle scenes and when the ship was out at sea. I read the book in a day, excited to figure out how it was going to end, hoping for a twist. Problem is...nothing happened. In my opinion, none of the characters developed to the point that made me love them. I admire Jill's bravery, but her actions/ the plot of the story were also very predictable. I was also looking forward to the romance in this book, but there is barely any. The romance was an afterthought, something that seemed like it was just thrown in there. Lastly, the ending was VERY predictable and annoying in a way. It was as if the author just wanted to be done with the whole story.

    The pirate history was interesting indeed, but I felt that the book could have been longer and executed much better. Look at it this way...in a year, I won't even remember what this book was about.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    The idea behind this one was a new one to me, and I admit it intrigued me greatly. I think with the latest Pirates of the Caribbean coming out in 2011, HarperTeen probably has a hit on their hands.
    I thought Jill was a great character from the opening pages. She's dedicated to her sport and shows real discipline in it. I liked the fact that it was fencing because it was so appropriate to what happens to her. I enjoyed her character even more when she's transported back to the 18th century. She keeps her head on her shoulders, becomes part of the crew, and helps them overcome their own problems. When she's transported back to her own time, she takes the lessons she has learned with her.

    I also the pirate story. A female pirate captain with a heart was a great thought. But, the story has enough of an edge that you know this pirate ship is anything but typical. I liked how Jill was able to learn about the bad along with the good. Plus, it was great that the author included real pirates such as Blackbeard.

    The story seemed short, but well-rounded. It had the feel of a dream were the character wakes up at just the right moment. It was a fast read and I enjoyed it down to the last page!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Female Pirate Adventure!

    While other high school girls are cheerleaders or play volleyball, Jill Archer is sword fighting. Or fencing as it's called, and she's quite good at it. At least she thinks she is. Then Jill finds an old, rusty piece of sword sticking out of the sand during a family vacation and suddenly she is transported to a real life pirate ship! With no time to dwell on where she is and who these strangers are, Jill quickly adapts to life on the high-seas. But when a vindictive pirate begins to seek revenge on the crew she's with, will Jill finally get a chance to prove herself once and for all?

    This is my first Carrie Vaughn reading experience, and I was so pleased that I moved Voices of Dragons up the TBR pile, and put the forthcoming After the Golden Age on my purchase list! Steel was fun and kept me on the edge of my seat with adventure. At first I thought Jill was entirely too quick to accept her fate aboard the ship, but she was still a uniquely strong female character. She never complained about having to work as hard as the others or whined about not having her modern day comforts with her. I liked Captain Cooper too, as far as nurturing-type female pirates go. The battle scenes were vivid and not over-done. Carrie Vaughn was not afraid to get bloody, but kept it to a realistic amount, which I also appreciated. She manages to choose just the right amount of words for her descriptions, providing exactly what I want to read and not over doing it. Girls will love this book because of Jill's heroics. Guys will love this book for the awesome bilge-rat pirate action. I highly recommend you give it a try!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    A decent read, not well written.

    I bought this book for the pirates and the romance, and while i was more or less satisfied with the swashbuckling high seas adventure aspect, the romance was disapointing. There was no build up of emotions, just friends with benefits sort of. If ur a romantic, pass this one by. Also, alot of the characters actions were confusing because there was little to no reasoning for them. So..... ehhhh. It was okay

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This book was really entertaining with a fun plot & engaging

    This book was really entertaining with a fun plot & engaging characters that pull you into the story & make it hard to put the book down. I plan on reading more by this author, especially if she writes another book involving pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Metalclaw

    Stalks into the warriors den and lays down , thinking about his old life as a kittypet.

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  • Posted June 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I finally managed to read books from my own pile! And this read

    I finally managed to read books from my own pile! And this read was quick yet very exciting.
    1. Pirates. Yup, you heard right. Imagine Pirates of the Caribbean but with teens. Freaking awesome!
    2. Fighting. Lots of good fighting scenes that make your heart race. I simply adored every moment of the sword, the art of breathing in and out, taking note of every move that you make. Simply amazing.
    3. Crush. There really wasn’t a significant love interest but there was a crush that made the book much more adorable. I could tell just by their grins that being on the boat with them was going to be fun. Nothing  is ever boring.
    4. Pirate Talk. Let me tell you that talking like a pirate is harder than what I though. I tired talking like one for a while and instead found myself frustrated. The pirate talk is cool and it definitely inspire me to try something new for a while.
    5. Short. My only gripe is that the book is short. I long to go on another pirate adventure.  I want to be on the boat. See the waves crush against the ship. Scrub the deck.  I want to search for pirate booty and claim land!
    Steel is an awesome read! Fierce and action-packed, Steel takes the reader on pirate adventure you’d never forget.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    To Metalclaw

    Werent u just a kit?!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    Excuse me?

    The sample is 7 freaking pages long. My friend was reading this so I decided to too. Sample=ehma-no. The book seems dry from what I have heard. I hope it is good, it will cost me 6 bucks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Anonymous

    I read this story in one day, and enjoyed the action of it. However, the 'romance' just isn't there. *SPOILER!* Basically, she kisses her shipmate Henry once and decides that she loves him or something. After their kiss, there was no development to the 'romance'. There was also no real climax to the story and when I finished the book, I felt kind of disippointed with the ending. Overall, it was an okay book but I will not remember this book and I would not read it again.aa

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Not the caliber of her work for adults

    Interesting premise, the time slip of a young fencer into a pirate past. A little reminiscent of the Karate Kid (scrub that deck, you'll learn something) but its rather slow and short. The cover is great, the story simplistic. The technical details of life at sea and barnacle scraping appeared well researched but the thing reads like a textbook rather than an adventure. The short direct sentences and fragments that give the Kitty series its stream-of-consciousness immediacy do not work as well here and are a bit jarring and choppy, perhaps partly due to the lack of First Person perspective that makes it flow in Kitty.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Great book

    I couldn't put this book down for a second.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Great for fencers of all weapons!!!!

    As a competative sabre fencer myself, I absolutly loved this book! The decription of the feeling and presure of fencing was quite acurate, and the adventure was fast-pased and exiting! I wish that there were more books like this, staring fencers and our noble sport!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Not much of a sample..

    N..

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Love it!

    Great book about how jill finds a six inch tip of an old sword thats magical and sends her back in time of the pirates... she falls in love with a pirate too... sge has a long well written adventure that makes you want to keep reading!get this book you wont regret it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Not a great read

    I felt it was way too rushed. A lot more storyline could have been added to make it better. It started off pretty good but definetly by the middle, it starts to lack. At the end youre just left unimpressed and wonder why you read it in the first place. I definetly became more intrigued by the cover. Its really the only good part of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Good read

    This is a fast-paced read. The heroine is very well developed, likable, and believable. As the main character is a fencer, the book uses many fencing terms that may be a little confusing, but there is a glossary of some of the terms in the back. I highly enjoyed this book and would strongly recommend it.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    I liked the pirate adventue disappointed in the romance.

    This was a good book about pirates and dark magic fueled revenge but on the front it said there was romance in it. I was dissapointed thinking there would be a build up of a relationship between the two teens but the book doesn't do that so you are surprised when the end draws near.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Worth reading

    My second book by this author it was thrillimg and charming with action and plenty of good fights. The highly predictable ending does mothing to take away from the books appeal. The story line was a goodd one and full of interesting things aling the way. I felt that the book was a little short though and was hoping for a bit mire detail. It is a very fast paced story and although very descriptive three days pass by all on one page. Its just the stle. I enjoyed reading it butni pated $16 for the book edition so my advice isnget it in the nook it is cheaper. Other than that, beautiful cover art, beautiful story, worth your time for sure.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Entertaining but predictable

    . The ending was predictable from about the 3rd chapter. It was good enough to keep me reading but lacking enough to make me feel cheated by the end. Not up to "Kitty's" standard.

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