The Moonsteel Crown (Dominion #1) by Stephen Deas

My Five Word TL:DR Review : This One Puzzles Me Somehow

Moonsteel CrownThe Moonsteel Crown is a book that has definitely drawn me into its tangled web and I am curious to see what happens next and it is definitely a book with some curious characters but, it has left me feeling slightly puzzled.

As the story begins we meet our three central characters within fairly short order.  Seth, down on his luck, cast out of the church where he was a novice for displaying too much curiosity, now a very lowly member of a gang barely surviving.  Fings, long time friend of Seth and light fingered pickpocket.  Fings is also a member of the Unruly gang, a lowly member doing all he can to look after his family.  Finally, Myla, trained to be a sword-monk she is running from her past, her training incomplete.  She likes to drown her memories in the bottom of a bottle and is also currently running with the Unruly street gang.

Now, as it happens the Unruly gang are about to be handed a lucrative, can’t possibly go wrong opportunity and surprisingly, the job actually goes well, right up until the point that it doesn’t that is.  The gang have stolen something a lot more important than trinkets and baubles and everyone is on their case, now follows a strange tale of cat and mouse as everyone runs round in circles trying to outsmart each other.

So, on the face of it this has quite a lot going for it.  It’s well written, it has an epic feel but also has this lowlife, grimey almost urban fantasy feel.  The story revolves around three misfits, each so far down the ladder that things can’t really get much worse for them which gives them a singularly selfish outlook and brings something slightly different to the story in that you don’t really know who to trust.  These characters aren’t bothered about the ‘bigger’ picture – they’re concerned with staying alive and staying one step ahead of the next possible threat.  This gives the story a much smaller scale somehow because we move in their orbit but at the same time I liked the intimacy that it brings.

Now, on top of the gang business, and the heated rivalry between the Unruly and Spicer gangs there’s also strange goings on.  The Emperor dead, the succession in question, possible outside interference from other sources and another thread that suggests something hidden under the city, something creepy and perhaps more dangerous than anything else.

The first half of the book took a little while to get into to be honest, the second half certainly made up for that with much more action but I still have one real issue and it’s difficult to put my finger on other than an overall state of perplexity.  I think the crux of the matter is that I’m not entirely certain what’s really going on here and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself.  It’s just that I can’t help feeling as though the story was a little lost in places or at least the focus was meandering somewhat.  Anyway, that’s quite possibly more to do with me than anything else.

On the whole I would like to continue with the series.  There were some very interesting developments, the writing style was easy to get along with and I think there could be some surprises in store in book 2.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3.5 out of 5, 7 out of 10