Go read these books now. Don’t read reviews first. Trust me!
I’m late to the party on the Steerswoman series. The first book came out the year I graduated high school; but the last installment still isn’t out, so I’m giving myself permission to arrive fashionably late.
I came to this series as one should come to it: with no foreknowledge. I can think of no other book that so purely encapsulates – and translates to the reader – the joy of discovery. Which makes reviewing these practically impossible, because I don’t want to spoil one single thing.
I can tell you the following: the main character is Rowan, a Steerswoman, which is 100% what my career would be if it were a real thing. She basically walks around learning things and then helping people with her knowledge. Steerswomen must truthfully answer any question posed to them; in return, everyone must answer a Steerswoman’s question or be placed under the Ban (no more questions for you). Everyone pretty much adheres to this tradition except for the wizards, who are rotten, hoarding their magical knowledge and pressing people into fighting wars for no apparent reason.
Rowan quickly meets Bel, an Outskirter barbarian warrior who is also a master storyteller. The two become friends, and after that the series luxuriates in one of the best platonic friendships between women that I’ve ever seen in fiction. It’s enough to read it just for that. But the great pleasure comes as Rowan and Bel travel around, figuring things out – and you get to figure it out with them. Who knew applying the scientific method could be so satisfying?