A CLASH OF STEEL: A TREASURE ISLAND REMIX , Book 1 of 4: Reclaimed Classics, by C.B. Lee, Feiwel & Friends, Sept. 7, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Two young women set out to find a legendary treasure in C.B. Lee’s A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix.
1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Head of the Dragon, is now only a story, like the ones Xiang has grown up with all her life. She desperately wants to prove her worth, especially to her mother, a shrewd businesswoman who never seems to have enough time for Xiang. Her father is also only a story, dead at sea before Xiang was born. Her single memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.
But the pendant’s true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. The revelation that Xiang’s father sailed with the Dragon Fleet and tucked away this secret changes everything. Rumor has it that the legendary Head of the Dragon had one last treasure―the plunder of a thousand ports―that for decades has only been a myth, a fool’s journey.
Xiang is convinced this map could lead to the fabled treasure. Captivated with the thrill of adventure, she joins Anh and her motley crew off in pursuit of the island. But the girls soon find that the sea―and especially those who sail it―are far more dangerous than the legends led them to believe. —Synopsis provided by Feiwel & Friends
I have to admit that I’ve never read Treasure Island, though I am somewhat familiar with the major plot points. Because of that, I had nothing to compare A Clash of Steel with. I have to admit that it was a fun way to approach this book, as I wasn’t expecting anything.
At the center of A Clash of Steel is Xiang. Xiang is a strong protagonist. As tends to be a theme in a lot of books — and real life — Xiang wants more than a good marriage. She doesn’t want to become a wife and mother. She sees value in her own abilities and interests. And she’s not afraid to cross her mother to prove herself.
Second to Xiang is Anh. Anh is the opposite of Xiang. She’s lived her entire life beyond society’s boundaries, and she likes it that way. But any path you follow has rules and limitations. Anh must also look beyond what she knows if she wants to secure the treasure.
Author C.B. Lee has created a lush world for readers to escape into. Whether on land or sea, the experience is immersive. Lee’s prose is smooth and her pacing spot on. There are a few predictable elements, and Lee occasionally gets too lost in the details, but it’s not enough to be bothersome. Though inspired by classic literature, A Clash of Steel is fresh and exciting. The book publishes on Sept. 7.
A Clash of Steel is the first of four Reclaimed Classics books in the works from Feiwel & Friends. The other books include So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix (Sept. 2021), Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix (March 2022), and What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix (July 2022).
*Read Cracking the Cover’s review of So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix.
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