The Language of Power is the fourth book of The Steerswoman series, which I adored through 1 and 2 and got lukewarm about in book 3. Reading between the lines of what is said on Goodreads and following through to Rosemary Kirstein’s blog, I think she may have an intention for a further book in the series, but may not be/have been well enough to get working on it to any great extent. Lots of fans are living in hope…

The Language of Power (Steerswoman #4)

by Rosemary Kirstein

The steerswoman Rowan has learned much about the master-wizard Slado: how his spells are devastating the distant lands known as the Outskirts, and how they will ultimately threaten even the Inner Lands. But she knows nothing else about him, not even why he is hiding his actions from the other wizards. He must be found, and stopped.

Now, following the slimmest of clues, Rowan arrives in the city of Donner hoping to learn more about Slado’s plans. But when the answers begin coming in faster than the questions can be asked, a strange tale from the past emerges, a tale behind all the secrets of the present…

Fortunate that Rowan has the Outskirter warrior Bel on hand to watch her back. Because there’s one sure way to know that the steerswoman is on the right track: Someone will try to kill her. [goodreads]

My Review

The Language of Power starts, as all the books in the series do, by drawing you into the Steerswoman’s world and immersing you in her current problems. Then the plot thickens, stews, bubbles, but never curdles. Not this time, anyway.

We meet friends old and new, enjoy numerous tours of the city Dennor while Rowan quests for information. It’s beautifully written with vivid characters. The atmosphere settles around you like an autumnal fog redolent with Halloween, Guy Fawkes or Diwali goodies, depending on your upbringing. There are episodes in this book that are so brilliant, they are hard to review without sounding trite. Both the psychology and the ecology of dragons come into focus. So exciting. The attempted break-in to the wizard‘s house… a beautiful meld of fantasy and sci-fi.

If this is the last in the series, it bows out with grace. Ms Kirstein clearly intended for there to be a 5th and 6th from the afterword, but these have not emerged in the elapsed decade. I can think of reasons for this, and despite wanting to know what Rowan discovers next, I think the author is wise to stop there. She has revealed enough for readers to guess what, if not how. And surpassing this tale would be a tough ask.

Book Review | The Language of Power (The Steerswoman #4)

2 thoughts on “Book Review | The Language of Power (The Steerswoman #4)

  • 25 May, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve found the 1st and 2nd books slow starts. The first definitely rewarded me for continuing; the second had to go back to the library before I reached the tipping point and I haven’t yet gotten back to it. But there is something about Rowan and Bel and their story that catches my imagination.


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