Good Reads: Steel

By Tess Bauer
Online Editor
What happens when you take the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and have a teen fiction author write it? You get the book Steel by Carrie Vaughn.
As you can guess this novel features pirates, ships and epic sword fights. The protagonist Jill is a nationally ranked fencer that is down on her luck. When she finds the tip of a corroded rapier, a thin sword used in fencing, she feels a strong connection to her treasure.
The rapier tip transfers Jill back in history to a time when pirates roamed the high seas. Jill is stuck on the ship Diana until she can figure out how to magically transport herself back to the present.
What makes this novel hard to put down is the interesting facts about what living and working on a pirate ship was like. It keeps the novel moving, even when the plot isn’t.
As Jill learns how to be a pirate, the reader learns as well. Jill’s first job on the ship is scrubbing the deck, a job that is always seen in pirate movies. When she asks why she needs to scrub the already spotless deck, her friend explains that if they don’t the wood will rot from the salt air and mildew.
Throughout the book it was hard to decide if Jill should stay on the ship with the crew or go back to her family and fencing that wouldn’t end with blood on the ground. Her friend Henry, who has the potential to be something more, kept me rooting for the former, but for a Harper Teen book the novel had surprisingly little romance.
Overall, this book had me hooked, no pun intended, and while Pirates of the Caribbean has Keira Knightley, Jill managed to become the Pirate Queen’s apprentice and did it all without an Orlando Bloom by her side.