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Blue Steel: Solid Sci-Fi Story with a compelling plot

By Carcharocles, author of The Revelation

Aug 10, 2017: Note: I’ve only read about 8 chapters so far, but I’m hooked. This review is also done as part of a review trade.

Blue Steel is an entry in the ongoing Price series by TanaNari. It’s notably inspired by old sci-fi TV series, and has quite a bit of The Million Dollar Man in its DNA. However, it is at its core a more grounded take on the superhero genre, following a former military officer who recently discovered he’s had regenerative abilities for years, ones that he wasn’t aware of.

Despite several out-there elements you’d expect given its influences, the story so far seems to be a very pulp-like action tale. The character has been recruited to work for an international contractor to investigate supers—or Imbued as the story calls them—when they pose a significant threat. And he’s found himself quite the doozy.

The story is well written, told from a first person perspective that seems to come almost naturally to the author. It does however have the occasional typo or omitted word, which can be jarring due to how infrequently they pop up: the first few chapters had none that I noted, but after chapter four they hit a streak of about one per page. It doesn’t detract from the story itself however, which manages to keep the reader in suspense once the plot itself gets going.

So far, only three characters have been explored to any meaningful extent, but even the background characters have personality of their own. Of the three most notable, the Main Character sees most of the story told from his point of view, and he’s well developed. There are multiple references to his past that aren’t dwelt on, but they give you the sense that they might very well be important later. These references also help the character feel more real than most, implying a long and storied history behind him.

The second major character to get the most exploration is a gadgeteer genius of sorts, who seems to live to outright point out the fourth wall to the other characters. She has a rather disturbing past that has left her viewing her world as being not unlike a multiverse fiction; she sees herself as a secondary character—more specifically the love interest—correctly points out the main character as such, and has pointed out another character as being the main character of her own tale. She encourages the plot to move forward as she expects it—behaving very flirtatiously with the lead and behaving in a childlike manner. She’s also stated to be a very rare breed of Imbued as well. Like the main character, there are enough references to her past to make her feel like she’s lived beyond the page, and despite her seemingly two-note personality, the chapter she gets to herself early on shows her to be far more complex than one would think.

The third major character is in some ways a walking spoiler, as it ties in with several major plot developments. However, she’s been fleshed out, and definitely feels alive, and of the three important characters is probably the most human-feeling. Which is ironic, given her own power set.

As for the other characters, they’re not well developed, but they’re written well enough that they don’t seem flat.

I’d definitely recommend this one to anyone into superhero stories or sci-fi. It’s probably worth a check even if you wouldn’t normally read these stories, although if you’re into more character driven work the other tales in the Price series are likely a better bet for you.

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