What do you get when you mix ambition, magic, industry, innovation, and tradition? You get the lush tale of the Kressind family.

To appreciate the riddle of existence, and maintain one’s identity in the face of it requires an arrogance tantamount to lunacy. One has to be mad , from a certain point of view.

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Six siblings, all with different degrees of magical entanglement, huge plans, and one giant, iron vessel that’s slated to cross a body of water that’s never successfully been crossed.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

As a new author, KM McKinley’s debut novel was a must read, at least for me, based on the premise of this series. She’s not just dipping her toes in the water, she’s diving right into the deep end with a potentially huge, epic series. Uh… pardon the pun. You have to admire that kind of vision and intrepidness.

The Iron Ship is out May 26 from Solaris.

Rating (4 stars)

There’s something incredibly satisfying about exploring a new world, that’s so well crafted, it feels familiar. Granted, it does take place on Earth, during what amounts to the Industrial Revolution, but despite the obvious differences between our Earth and hers, everything feels right.

I think this is largely due to the fact that KM McKinley is exceptionally thorough in her descriptive narrative in the earlier portion of the novel. I almost felt too hand-held by what seemed like over-descriptiveness, though that feeling dissolved about a third of the way through.