The Iron Ship
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.