Review – The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan

The Sin in the Steel

Book Title: The Sin in the Steel

Book Description: “A sparkling debut fantasy set in a diverse world, featuring dead gods, a pirate queen, shapeshifting mages, and a Sherlockian teenager determined to upend her society. Heroes for hire. If you can pay. Buc: Brilliant street-rat Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye. Eld: Ex-soldier Buc's partner-in-crime. No. Not in crime--in crime-solving. They've been hired for their biggest job yet--one that will set them up for a life of ease. If they survive. Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. It's been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city's trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her. Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker's ship.... Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans. Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc.”

Book Author: Ryan Van Loan

Publisher Logo:

Date published: 2020-07-21

  • Writing - 8/10
  • Development - 7/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)


The Sin in the Steel brings readers to a world of pirates, magic, and dead gods as Buc and Eld try to solve a mystery to end all mysteries.


Pirates, Gods, and Magic To Be Found in The Sin in the Steel


The Sin in the Steel is the debut novel of Ryan Van Loan, as well as being the first novel in The Fall of the Gods series. It’s a world where magic and pirates exist side by side – though not necessarily peacefully.

Buc is a street rat with a brilliant mind, one whose entire life was changed when Eld stepped up and rescued her. Together they’ve found a way to make use of her brains and his brawn. Solving mysteries (while staying alive, ideally).

That is until they’ve been handed the biggest mystery of their lives. Literally. Under pain of death, it must be solved, and it’s going to take them up against pirates, magic, and dead gods. And so much more.


The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan
The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan

The Sin in the Steel is a well-written novel, one that isn’t afraid to grab your attention right from the start. The characters are fascinating, from the main characters to the secondary ones, and especially the antagonists.

There’s no doubt that the world itself is a major highlight of this novel. The magical system, the politics, even the tone of it all is perfection. The merging of pirates with a Sherlockian theme was a good call, one that made it all surprisingly memorable.

They say you can define a series by its antagonists, and that feels right here. There are many layers to the enemies facing Buc and Eld, and that enhanced the read by leaps and bounds. I do not doubt that there is more to be revealed as far as that is concerned.

Ryan Van Loan’s writing style as well suited to the themes he chose to run with here. That includes the decision to show the good and the bad about his leading characters. All of it makes the world feel real and alive.


Reading The Sin in the Steel made the time go by quickly. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. Picture a female Sherlock Holmes who enjoys stabbing and using her slingshot, and you can guess how quickly the story moves.

That being said, I do feel like some elements could have used some fleshing out. Namely, I would have liked to see more of the motives of the antagonists, and more consequences for what has or will be done.

All things considered though, I found this to be an enjoyable read. Buc and Eld have set down on a path that they can no longer turn from. Only time will tell what that is going to do to them – and their world.



The Sin in the Steel was overall an enjoyable and interesting read. The world and tone were on-point, proving to be highlights of the novel. Using classic elements resulted in the book ultimately being highly memorable, as well as leaving readers wanting more.

I’m looking forward to seeing announcements about the sequel. Any news will potentially help indicate what sort of path the rest of the series is going to take from here.


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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