The Iron Ship

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Steam­ing into un­charted wa­ters

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

672 pages | Pa­per­back Au­thor: KM McKin­ley Pub­lisher: So­laris

Fan­tasy comes in many

flavours, from the swords and sorcery of epic fan­tasy to the clock­work and corsets of steam­punk. The Gates Of The World is a fan­tasy se­ries that fuses th­ese two dif­fer­ent spices into a brand new dish. The out­come is as un­usual as it is in­ter­est­ing, and will have fan­tasy fans com­ing back for sec­onds.

KM McKin­ley opens the se­ries in au­da­cious style with The Iron Ship. His­tory is present in McKin­ley’s fan­tasy in a way rare in the genre, at the beat­ing heart of a world be­ing trans­formed from magic to in­dus­try. The Kressind fam­ily are rich in both, an an­cient clan striv­ing to main­tain their power. Their story turns on the tit­u­lar Iron Ship, a ves­sel of magic and steam, that McKin­ley clev­erly crafts as a sym­bol for both.

The Iron Ship is a baroque fan­tasy novel, with world­build­ing in the style of China Miéville and sto­ry­telling on a par with Scott Lynch’s Gen­tle­men Bas­tard nov­els. As is com­mon with am­bi­tious first ef­forts, where it suc­ceeds in do­ing some­thing new it some­times falls down when it comes to the the sim­pler things. The core story be­comes lost in a fes­ti­val of world­build­ing and the in­tro­duc­tion of many char­ac­ters, with McKin­ley trad­ing on our ex­pec­ta­tion that th­ese will pay off in later books. Ca­sual read­ers look­ing only for a fan­tasy quest story may not come away sat­is­fied. But tasty new dishes are a rar­ity in the fan­tasy genre, and The Iron Ship is well worth the time of fan­tasy gour­mands. Damien Wal­ter The tit­u­lar Iron Ship was in­spired by Brunel’s SS Great Eastern, which was the largest ship ever built when launched in 1858.

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