Author: Carrie Vaughn
Publication: HarperTeen (March 15, 2011)
Description: It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.
This was the tip of a rapier.
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.
Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.
My Thoughts: STEEL was a fun romp with pirates, swordplay, time travel and a hint of romance. Jill is disappointed with herself for finishing fourth in the fencing tournament that would have taken her to nationals had she been able to finish in the top three. Her parents plan a Caribbean vacation and, while the rest of the family is having fun, Jill is brooding. She goes for a walk along the beach and find the tip of a rapier which she picks up and puts in her pocket.
The next day the family goes on a tour boat around the island. A sudden squall tips Jill overboard and when she get to the surface she has shifted time and is in the water after a pirate attack. She is rescued by one of the pirate ships and is given the choice of joining the crew or being put back overboard. She chooses joining the crew and is surprised to find out the captain really wants that piece of rapier that Jill has. The piece will lead her to the rest of the rapier which is in the hands of a fearsome pirate that is the bitter rival of Jill's captain.
A lot of time is spent talking about pirate life in the 1700s and Jill swabs a lot of decks as she learns to fit in with the crew. She meets another crew member named Henry who teaches her to use a rapier and fight the way pirates do.
All along, Jill is trying to find a way to get back home. She wonders if her captain's rival knows the way since he has the bigger part of the sword. The pirates have a few battles, visit some islands, and hunt for the dread Edmund Blane.
This was a fun story for fans of fencing and/or pirates.
Jill slept lightly and with dreams of falling, of being underwater and not being able to swim. She was a good swimmer; nothing should have been able to keep her from the surface. But something was holding her down, anchoring her. And she thrashed awake; the dreaming sense of vertigo didn't go away. She was still on a ship surrounded by strangers, uncertain of the place and time. She'd never felt so helpless.
I bought this one on March 15, 2011. You can buy your copy here.