The Steel Remains

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Book Reviews

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

392 pages

This is the frist time I have read anything by Richard Morgan. I picked up a couple of his books when I saw them listed on a top ten list somewhere. I don’t recal where but I do remember thinking this looks like it will be a good read. I will let you read to the end before you find out if it met my expectations or not.

The story takes place some years after a brutal war with what is referred to as the lizard people who came from the oceans. Our 3 main Characters, Ringil, Hero of Gallos Gap, Archeth, the last of her race and Egar Dragonbane, steppe nomad.

Ringil is a gay man who is simply mad at the world. There are very few interactions within this story where he is not angry, yelling, mad at someone or something. He is an outcast and despised by his society. He is looked down on and looked on as beneath contempt by all but a few. Often referred to as faggot, degenerate etc..

Egar Dragon Bane is leader of his tribe. He is a scared veteran of the war and tends to spend his time drinking having sex. He is viewed, along with his people as essentially pagans as they do not follow the state religion but the religion of the conquered northlands. His faith is barely tolerated by the Emperor

Archeth, the last of her race. Fierce warrior and subject and advisor to the Emperor. She is described as simply black. Her people are the Kiriath. She is described as being not human but a separate race all together. Beyond that we do not know much about her.

The common enemy of all 3 of our main characters is the Dwenda, A mysterious people who can move in and out of time and thus appear anywhere, anytime and are a fierce fighting force. When they appear they kill without remorse all who stand in their way, but they are mortal and can be killed the same as men, if you lucky enough to survive an encounter that is and kil them first.

Ringil is sent by his mother to rescue his cousin, Sherin, who has been taken captive by slave traders due to her husbands failure to pay off his debts. He must find her and bring her home.

Egar Dragonbane is warned of a plot to kill him and sent off through the marshlands after his lone suriviving assailant.

Archeth is sent off by the Emperor to learn the truth about what happened in the port city of khangset where she learns of the Dwenda attack and threat.

Eventually all 3 of our characters paths meet up where they must fight off the Dwenda together or die trying.

This book starts of quite slow I found. Through almost the entire first half our characters barley progressed at all in the story line and spent about as much time having flashbacks as they did in actual story progression. At some points I was beginning to wonder if the story would actually get started but thankfully it finally did.

Ringil sexual escapades got a bit much and overly done I found as well. The graphic descriptions of his sexuality and sexual encounters seemed to be over the top and went beyond what was really necessary for relevance to the story line and plot. I can appreciate that sex can play a role in any story, I feel like having sex involved needs to demonstrate some relevance to plot progression. For example a seductress using sex to distract her enemy and obtain an advantage. Within the book it is suggested that this is exactly what Ringil did however while reading through the book it comes off as a lame excuse and attempted cover story by the character more than anything else. His encounters with the Dwenda who held him captive and later escape did not seem to be the result of him plotting and using sex to his advantage but more like Ringil was in fact more of a sex slave to the Dwenda.

The conceptual design of the book and story line were really good and imaginative. Once the story gets going it really takes off in a fast paced high energy read with quick plot progression and high energy battle scenes. Everything comes together at the end in an epic clash and battle against the fearsome Dwenda. However as we learn at the end it comes a price no one, not even Ringil thought was possible and his story leaves off with his dawning realization of the price he has paid for this battle. The next book the Cold Commands I expect will pick up where this one leaves off.

Overall my impressions of this book are not bad, but not great. It seems to be written more for shock value than story value overall. Lots of sex, lots of violence in vivid graphic details. I rarely give up on an author after one read however because I realized that sometimes it can be hit or miss with some of their writing. As an introduction to Richard Morgan he was not so bad I could not stand to read any more and will give his second book The cold Commands a chance to improve upon The Steel Remains.

Overall I give this book 5/10 bookworms. Could have been much better, lets hop the second book is.

 

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  1. […] The Steel Remains March 28, 2017 […]

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