Saturday, May 14, 2016

Review: Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

Steeplejack (Alternative Detective, #1)Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 14th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, repairs the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of luxorite, is stolen, it makes the headlines. But no one cares about the murder of Ang's new apprentice, Berrit—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, who offers Ang a job investigating Berrit's death. On top of this, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister's newborn child.

As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon's theft rise, Ang navigates the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into chaos.
My thoughts:
Wow I am quite impressed with Steeplejack!  It wasn't at all what I was expecting and I really enjoyed the overall plot!

This story at it's core is very political and racial which surprised me.  I wasn't expecting that at all and at times it felt a little forced honestly.  I think the author was a little heavy handed with all the "white" and "black" descriptions.  I would have still gotten the message if he had left those out. I get why it was all important, but it was a bit much and took away from the story at times.

That being said I think the story was really well done.  There was so much evasiveness going on that I wasn't ever quite sure what was really going on.  At one point there were three story lines going on at once and I was totally into each of them!  It takes a skilled writer to be able to pull that off and A.J. Hartley did it brilliantly.  He wove in a tight story centered around a stolen item, a land on the brink of war, a girl who only wants vengeance for who killed her apprentice, and family drama that will leave you glad you don't have their problems.  I am very intrigued by the Drowning where Anglet is from and I would have loved more from that side of the tracks. 

As for the characters I really liked Anglet.  She was a strong character that even when she didn't know what she was doing improvised and managed to land on her feet.  She needed help and I liked the crowd she turned to.  They all had their own agenda's but on the street that seemed normal and inevitable.  She chose her help wisely and I am glad she trusted who she did.  She was fierce and just a great overall character.  She stood up for her people and did what she had to do to get the job done.  

I did have a few problems though.  One being Willinghouse.  I liked his character, but I felt he wasn't given enough page time.  Ang is working for him, but she never really goes to him unless she is in trouble.  Wouldn't he want to hear her progress??  I was left a bit frustrated that he wasn't a bigger player in the overall story.

My second issue is a small one, but it bugged me immensely!  When Ang has the baby she just leaves it for long periods of time!  This is a newborn and even if you've never had a baby you still know that newborns wake up all the time and every time she would leave this poor baby all I could think of was HURRY!  The baby needs you!!  This ruined the chapter for me each and every time this happened.  I was so glad when she took steps to help the baby.  I was so relieved I could finally focus on the story without having that whole thing over my head!  I know she was young, but still not okay.

Other than those two things I really did enjoy this story.  It was fresh and very unique and one that I hope will continue on with more adventures!  I will say one more thing, I am really starting to love reading books written by men.  As you know I am not into romance at the moment and well men tend to leave most of that out and this book was no exception.  There are sparks with a few people, but no drama and I appreciated that so much. 

4 snowflakes


  1. This is the first time I heard about the book and it sounds good, I think I will add it to my wishlist.

  2. This is a new to me title but your review definitely caught my interest Crystal^^ The story sounds really good and you're right: it takes serious skill to be able to pull off 3 different POV/storylines and keep the reader invested in all 3! The characters sound great too :) Despite a few minor issues, I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Lovely review^^ x

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