Steele Alchemist by Deck Davis
Genre – LitRPG
About the Book – Irreverent and Boorish
“When bartender Jake Steele finds a portal in an abandoned building, he does what any bored guy would do – he walks through it.
He finds himself in a game-like world where his life is measured in stats and his violence is rewarded with experience points. Under the tutelage of an animal-butchering, whore-loving master, he learns to become an alchemist.
He used to mix drinks, but from now on he’s going to be mixing things that are far deadlier.” – Publisher Blurb
The Review – Steele Alchemist is Crude but Developed
Once again we were torn. We did not like this book, we will be frank. The copious usage of coarse language made the dialogue unbelievable at best. People simply don’t speak like they do in Steele Alchemist. Jake Steele is not the most believable character we have ever encountered either. So what are we left with? A tome riddled with rudeness and a main character who comes off as completely unlikeable. It’s not hard to see why we didn’t like the book. That being said, why aren’t we ending the review right here?
We often talk about the importance of taste when it comes to reviewing, or at least we like to think we do. This book was polarizing because, as much as it offended our sensibilities, it wasn’t a bad book. We even liked parts of it. While we can’t recommend it to younger readers, or readers who don’t want to be offended by every other passage, Mister Davis is clearly a man of talent, and we must give credit where credit is due. The story is an intriguing one, even if the protagonist is not our favorite person in the world. Because of our mixed feelings, we will allow the finer details to dictate the course of this review.
Why So Crude?
This is perhaps the question that drove most of our discussion. Could the book have been successful sans crudeness? Does Jake really need to curse every time he opens his flappy mouth? The more we discussed it, the more we realized that part of the book’s success is due to the crudeness, but that isn’t really a good thing. If you take all of the boorish dialogue away, what you are left with is a mediocre LitRPG story.
It doesn’t do much on its own, doesn’t push the genre, doesn’t tell us anything about ourselves. The book is devoid of deeper meaning, intended to be a fun if crude romp through an RPG like world, but nothing more. It is this lack of more that is perhaps the most damaging, for if a book needs to rely on shocking the reader to maintain their attention, then it isn’t much of a book at all.
The Rating C+
While we praise some of the technical aspects of the execution of the book, Steele Alchemist comes up short. Coarse language renders the dialogue forced and difficult to believe, and, unfortunately, that tarnishes what is left of the story. However, it was recognizing what the book was without the language that lead to the ultimate rating that we are giving it. Is it the worst book we have ever read? Not by a long shot. And if you’re a fan if course language and a bit too much violence then you may find Steele Alchemist to be a fun read. That being said, we won’t be returning to the series
Do you want to read Steele Alchemist? You can find it here.