Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein
Amazon Digital Services
The Steerswoman. ISBN: 9780991354689
The Outskirter's secret. ISBN: 9780991354658
The lost Steersman. ISBN: 9780991354665
The language of power. ISBN: 9780991354672
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Intrigued by the following quote by Jo Walton, Hugo and Nebula Awards winner, I picked up the first in the Steerswoman series and was hooked:
"If you like science, and if you like watching someone work out mysteries, and if you like detailed weird alien worlds and human cultures, if really good prose appeals . . . you're really in luck." I then went on to read the next three books in the series and really wish that there were more.
Rowan is a Steerswoman. If she is asked a question, she must speak the truth and if she asks a question, the truth must be given to her. As a Steerswoman, she travels around the world, observing, questioning and recording what she discovers, making maps and always on the quest for more information and more knowledge, which she shares with all. When she finds some little blue jewels that seem to be made of a magical material, she is determined to find out their origin. The wizards are the only ones who have knowledge of magic, and her determination to uncover the secrets of the jewels leads her into danger from them. With every wizard in the land determined to find her, Rowan, accompanied by Bel, a warrior from the Outskirts, meets many dangers as she gradually uncovers the truth.
Readers will meet many fascinating characters as she travels around the land. Bel is surprising - not only is she a wonderful fighter but is a poet as well. William is a young teen who can blow up buildings with his magic and longs to know more. The leaders of the Outskirters are fascinating as is their nomadic way of life, and Rowan's liaison with Fletcher is beguiling and her dealings with the lost steersman are heartbreaking.
The countryside is described in detail and readers will enjoy travelling with Rowan as she navigates dangerous seas, lives with nomadic people and then in towns in the Inner Lands. But it is the melding of science (Magic) and the mystery of the little blue jewels that will keep the reader glued to every page of these four volumes. There are hints along the way about the Guidestars that hang in the skies and help travellers navigate and the material that William uses to blow up structures. The language of power brings many answers but leaves room for more books to come.
This is a series to give to any reader who enjoys a combination of science fiction and fantasy, dealing with big questions of science and knowledge, truth and humanity. It is a must read for young women and men and would encourage many to look at STEM subjects with a different and inquisitive eye.