Review of Steel by Aiki Flinthart

Title:  Steel (Kalima Chronicles Book 3)

Author:  Aiki Flinthart

Reviewer:  Shelley Russell Nolan

Synopsis:  Even steel can be broken. 
Mamlakah is once again on the brink of war, this time over who sits on the throne. Alere, Jarran, and Mina race toward Madina to claim Jarran’s inheritance as Jun First. And with a Weishi House kill-contract on her head, Alere must unlock new yanstone powers – which lead her further down a destructive path Mina cannot condone.
But Nasra Connor and Jun Fourth Hassan Wen-Gates reach Madina first, and they pave the city’s streets with blood to secure the throne. Xintou House’s students and Bonded Xintou are murdered. Mistress Li, the two Jun Seconds, and Jarran’s daughters are imprisoned and slated for execution.
Even if Alere can reach Madina in time to prevent the executions, her fighting skills are no use against Nasra and Rohne – the two most powerful Xintou in existence. Her only chance is if she and a reluctant Mina can master the yanstones. But Mina is unwilling to use the yanstones’ brutal powers against her old friends. 
So Alere will gamble her mind, her life, and the sanity of everyone she loves on one, dubious, chance of victory. If she can’t prevail, Kalima will be subjugated beneath the steel will of the strongest xintou in history. 
All chance of freedom… lost.

Review:  I was pulled straight into the action with this book, once again losing myself in the wonderful world of Kalima. It was just as richly imagined and vividly written as the first two books in the series. I plunged into Alere’s next adventure with bated breath as the stakes were raised so high I didn’t see how she could survive let alone stop Rohne and Nasra from turning her home into a place of nightmare. As Alere’s fears for her sanity grew, and the yanstones exerted their pull on her, I knew that pain and sacrifice lay ahead for her and her companions, making this a book I did not want to put down.

Once again, Alere is shown as a courageous and yet flawed heroine, and I loved how she knew this about herself and was able to admit to her mistakes and work to stop making them. The support she received from those closest to her, the complications of her relationship with her twin sister, and the interactions with those around her made Alere feel like a real person. One I would not want to mess with.

As always, the fight scenes feel gritty and realistic, not shying away from the impact they would have on the characters. Death and injury take a toll on Alere’s supporters, and the weight of her losses is shown in her actions. This stops the story from becoming just about the action, the internal and external conflicts Alere and the others face giving a depth that is lacking in many other fantasy series. With an ending that left me gasping, this is one series that will stay with me. I would really love to read more stories set on the world of Kalima, and hope some of the secondary characters will get a chance to shine in future adventures.

Rating: 5 stars

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