The Outskirter‘s Secret is the second book in the Steerswoman series, which took me completely by surprise when I read the first…two years ago? The Steerswoman had been lurking in my kindle for many years, and it looked promising but, you know, getting around to it… Then I read it and loved it. So what about the sequel?
The Outskirter’s Secret (Steerswoman #2)
By Rosemary Kirstein
The Guidestars: two shining lights that hang above, motionless in the night sky. The common folk know them well, and use them to count the hours and mark the seasons. But when the steerswoman Rowan discovers a number of broken blue jewels of clearly magical origin, her investigations lead to startling discoveries: there are other, unknown Guidestars — and something has caused one of those to fall. She knows one more thing: where the fallen Guidestar was located. To reach it, she must cross the Inner Lands and pass deep into the wild and deadly Outskirts. Rowan’s traveling companion, Bel, is an Outskirter herself, and together the steerswoman and the warrior-poet have a chance of surviving the cruel landscape, the barbarian tribes, and the bizarre native wildlife. But there are more secrets than one in the Outskirts. And each step closer to the Guidestar brings new truths, leading Rowan toward the deepest secret of all… [goodreads]
I wish I could write like this.
From the worldbuilding to the detail of the geology formations, the alien plantlife and totally coherent ecology that it produces… The societies of the Outskirts are also wholly consistent with the terrain, the weather and the problems they present.
And in among all this, Rosemary Kirstein has created a great adventure with really interesting and enjoyable characters.
But it was the torrnado or hurricane that blew my socks off. Such imagery, such mastery of language, oh, I was in there, desperate to escape its wrath…
Purists might complain that the Guidestars are rather reminiscent of Pern, and so we have a good idea of how the story might develop from here… but who cares, with writing like this.
If you’re happy with the blurb, I reckon you don’t need to start with the first in this series. This stands alone as a great adventure. I can’t think of anything better to call it.
Next… The Last Steersman. Intrigung!