Wars declared a thousand miles away suddenly darken our heroes' doors; gods appear mostly to unbelievers because they take more secular initiative.
The deliberately contemporary dialogue will either work for you or it won't. A good litmus test is the petulant god from the epigraph, who later laments: But in this intriguing grimdark world, Morgan seems to want to prove just how bad things really are. It's here the series suffers from an excess of excess. For him, the way to dismantle heroic battles is not to make fighting futile fighting is, it seems, the most effective way to manage anything , but to make it hyper-bloody, with blow-by-blow battles aplenty; the way to handle sexuality is to deliver sex scenes that are, well, blow-by-blow.
The Steel Remains is perhaps the worst offender, with a sex-slave MacGuffin and a veritable parade of throwaway rapes that function more as signposts for degenerate behavior than as anything the narrative addresses with particular care. Morgan's prose becomes more polished with every book any series is a time capsule of style , but his sexual politics are a streak of continued carelessness. That rescued MacGuffin vanishes without a word once her use as a plot point is served, and even with major characters, sexual violence lacks much weight beyond shock value: At one point, Ringil orders a gang rape, framed as just another downward step for him.
The cycles-of-violence concept — Ringil is a rape victim who uses it to terrorize others in turn — is present, but Ringil's unaware of it, and the book quickly dismisses it, undercutting any of its thematic power. Mixing issues of representation with grimdark is also delicate work, and Morgan often stumbles. Ringil lusts after most men who cross his path at one point, he's lost in thoughts of a colleague bathing — a homophobic standard brought to life without interrogation.
And amid Ringil's attempts to reclaim "faggot," Morgan keeps the word a punchline, aimed for the reader to share. Archeth's sexuality reads benignly but recognizably masculine, the Swimsuit Edition of lust. The rest is just so much carnal wallpaper through slavery or in brothels; the only profession available to women seems to be the oldest one.
It's an interesting lack of imagination for a series otherwise so wholehearted in its scope. Most notably, Morgan interweaves distinctly science-fictional elements into the more standard fantasy tropes with casual confidence: Archeth argues matters of state with the mechanical Helmsman of her ancestors' spaceships. Seemingly unconnected events cast them upon the path of action, and this group of misfits struggles to find purpose anew, bereft of the illusions of youth but armed with a dose of fatalism and anger which I truly relished.
They are full of contradictions and real. Actually, the whole cast vary from the utterly abhorrent to the truly questionable, anyway the narrative is very intriguing and little is revealed upfront. Another preeminent feature is the aspect of sexuality, deeply explored in its many forms A fantasy book with a male MC fooling around with women is not cause for much comment. One with a woman over? The world building is very good, the kind that allows for inference without generating jarring confusion, and I always love a good puzzle challenge! The descriptions though, were very vivid and skilled.
There are also unnecessary scenes for shock value's sake of both the sex and gore variety , grimdark it may be, but the author straddles a fine line here between a healthy serving size of violent amorality and plain over-the-top nastiness. This story is brutal, bleak and full of unsavory stuff — which I liked; there are a few more vulgarities than necessary, too, and I'm not overly impressed with the rushed finale, but the characters, the setting and the tight plot with its many tantalizing bits and few answers gave me a compelling case of the curiosities.
Books—the warm, leather-skinned weight of them in your hands, the way they smelled when you lifted them close to your face. Oct 10, Alex Ristea rated it really liked it Shelves: This is going to sound like a total cop-out and the worst description ever, but if I had to explain this book it would simply be a "modern fantasy. See where I'm going with this? I kno This is going to sound like a total cop-out and the worst description ever, but if I had to explain this book it would simply be a "modern fantasy.
I know this has sort of fallen out of fashion lately, but I'm still a big fan of grimdark fantasy, and this novel easily fits into that camp. You get that bleak feeling of old soldiers who are good at their jobs, but are jaded and fed up with the killing. It reminds me of Erikson in how it explores the true nature and brutality of war.
Yes, there is violence, but it doesn't revel in it. It is graphically explicit to make a point for the opposing view. Morgan has handled a few feet of steel in his time, and it wonderfully informs the writing. These are the battle scenes I want to read about. Also, the protagonist is gay and it's a big feature of the story, but I haven't made up my mind if I like how the author treated this aspect of the book though I'm leaning towards yes. I'll let you read it and come to your own conclusions. If you're not squeamish, and you can appreciate epic badassery, I encourage you to give this book a shot.
My only complaints are that there are a few too many in-scene flashbacks, and that sometimes The Steel Remains toes the line of dudebro fantasy, threatening to cross over without quite managing it. But if bloody and sweary Fantasy is what you're looking for, try this—you're in for a treat. View all 11 comments.
Feb 16, Stefan Bach rated it it was ok. View all 8 comments. A very interesting book. His website calls it noir fantasy. I guess I kind of get that. It's certainly not the lovely elves dancing under the moon kind of book. War, violence, intolerance, politics, and religion all play a part. There is a lot of crude language and some sexually explicit scenes. Ringil, is a self-proclaimed queer. If you find homosexuality, or outright heterosexuality, both in scenes and language, to be offensive, this is not the book for you.
I actually foun A very interesting book. I actually found it refreshingly honest. As I was reading this fantasy novel, I found myself trying to keep in mind what I know about the author's style and intentions from reading his other books and website; I'm VERY curious where he will take the characters and story. He always has a point, usually several, well masked in the guise of an amusing tale.
It was definitely the first book in a trilogy. It wrapped up at the end but clearly foreshadows continuing conflict. First engagement in the long battle and all of that. Overall, it was a joy to read a book by such a brilliant guy, who's intelligent observances and use of language makes him seem witty and fascinating instead of off-putting or uptight. His website is very enjoyable, I would recommend checking it out: I especially enjoy his article Sound and Fury, Signifying?
I enjoyed it even more the second time around. I got it from the library intending to skim through it as a reminder before reading The Cold Commands but I immediately became completely engrossed. Remembering a bit about the characters made me more interested in paying attention to their individual stories. I remember being a bit confused the first time because they don't meet up until almost the end of the book; it made me somewhat less interested in Egar's story in particular.
And there are just a lot of details and nuances that I absorbed more easily this time with a bit of familiarity. Since I joined Goodreads my to-read list has been so long that I very rarely re-read books, but I'm glad I made an exception for this one, it was fantastic. Incredible fantasy novel by one of my favorite authors. Morgan's first fantasy novel is an outstanding accomplishment. Jun 14, Liviu rated it it was amazing Shelves: I've been a big fan of R.
Morgan ultra violent, ultra dark and quite explicit novels since his extraordinary debut Altered Carbon. Though in his last novels the repetitions of themes, plot and gimmicks became a bit tiresome, in The Steel Remains Mr. While longtime readers of his novels will be less surprised at the twists and turns of this novel because of the echoes of previous works, there is a lot of new stuff here and the I've been a big fan of R.
While longtime readers of his novels will be less surprised at the twists and turns of this novel because of the echoes of previous works, there is a lot of new stuff here and the 3 main characters especially Ringil who gets the most face time are as engaging as ever. Apr 13, Michael Pang rated it really liked it. This was my first Richard Morgan fantasy novel and it won't be my last. The book can fall into the occasional lull; however, as a whole, it is a strong 1st novel of a series.
It is a no holds-barred introduction into a dark and epic world which has yo This was my first Richard Morgan fantasy novel and it won't be my last. It is a no holds-barred introduction into a dark and epic world which has you wanting to find out what happens next. Nov 21, Shaitarn. Another grimdark fantasy novel. The three main characters of this book are veterans from a war against the lizard folk over a decade ago.
All of them are damaged in some way: Ringil, our nominal hero, is gay in a culture where gay men are publicly executed. Ringil, living in a semi-exile, is summoned back to his family home by his mother: I enjoyed this book. I felt the world was interestingly detailed and I liked the characters. Glancing at the other reviews, most people seemed to find Archeth their favourite character, but I have a sneaking fondness for Egar; I suspect hope his character will be developed in the future books. I feel I should warn potential readers this is grimdark of the very blackest shade; there is a lot of detailed violence and sex and a lot of swearing.
If this disturbs you, you probably would be best advised to avoid this book. If not, you may enjoy this trip into an ultra-violent grim world. Me, I plan to be reading the sequels very soon. View all 12 comments. Jul 18, Freakout rated it it was amazing Shelves: Sep 22, Ben Babcock rated it it was ok Shelves: I was intrigued by the promise of a gritty approach to epic fantasy.
Much like in the shooter genre of video games, the term gritty as applied to fantasy can get tossed around a lot without much accuracy. But I was pretty certain Morgan would deliver. In this respect he did. As a novel, however, The Steel Remains still leaves much to be desired. Humanity used to co-exist with a species known as the Kiriath, but after the Scaled Folk were beaten back, the Kiriath decided to attempt the long journey back whence they came, leaving behind a single, solitary, half-Kiriath woman named Archeth.
Ringil also happens to be gay, which in a better world than ours would be nothing to write home about either, but because our society remains stubbornly heteronormative, a gay protagonist and gay sex! Despite his prowess and skill in the service of his people. He is an outcast in all but name. This is something, in fact, that all three main characters share in common.
They are people, with good points and bad points, and I can appreciate that. Morgan seems to have set out to write a fantasy novel, and boy has he ever. From the map at the front of the book to the names to the pacing of the story, The Steel Remains feels like an amateur effort. That surprises me so much, because I know Morgan is far from an amateur.
The three protagonists share a common bond from their past involvements in war, and as such they have similar scars and burdens. As they come together to defend the world against a great threat, those scars show. These are far from perfect people, and they are weary of doing what they see as their duty. It takes a long time for this to happen, though. Morgan, to his credit, manages to avoid much in the way of infodumping—to the point where I would have been grateful for when, because half the time I had no idea what was going on. There is one respect in which The Steel Remains strikes a chord with me.
Comentario de Joe Abercrombie en la portada del libro: View all 4 comments. Basically, this book takes high fantasy tropes and screws with them. This is not a parody; it's not so facile. But the author has clearly read and loved a great deal of fantasy in his life, and knows the basic stories well. And when he grew tired of the easy answers and Light vs Dark epic battles, he created this. The elves have left Middle Earth--but they were actually aliens, driven half-mad by their flight across the stars, and the half-Elven Princess they leave behind them is a black lesbian Basically, this book takes high fantasy tropes and screws with them.
The elves have left Middle Earth--but they were actually aliens, driven half-mad by their flight across the stars, and the half-Elven Princess they leave behind them is a black lesbian with a drug problem. I found Arceth to be the most fascinating character of all. Her eldritch family taught her modern concepts of morality, but she's been stuck in a feudal society for hundreds of years--her high-minded ideals are beginning to wear thin.
The "elves" also left behind a magical sword, wielded by war hero Gil. Like many war heroes in fantasy novels written lately, Gil has become a washed-up mercenary, only pulled back into the Epic Battle for Civilization by the danger posed to a long-lost female loved one. His former sword-brother, the barbarian Egar, is also pulled into the fray. Egar is a great play on the usual "savage tribe" trope. This book is not a criticism of High Fantasy--it takes it to the next level. The queer characters, the characters of color, the atheists, the questions of consent and privilege, the logical next step for a country that's just defeated their Big Foe Morgan uses all of it.
And the adventure is better for it. Morgan completists, fantasy haters. Before you ask, I got my copy of this book through Amazon. This is my habit with Morgan's books, rather than waiting another year for them in the United States. Morgan seems to have missed that point with the utterly unlikable Ringel, protagonist of The Steel Remains. Ringel is an empty husk of a human be Before you ask, I got my copy of this book through Amazon. Ringel is an empty husk of a human being, a war hero, a killing machine, in search of a reason to kill again.
Unsurprisingly, he finds it. Morgan's fantasy world is replete with brutally nasty ways to die, and not much worth fighting for, no causes, and no resolution to speak of. The only thing I carried away from this book was nausea, and a strong disinclination to re-read the book to try and track down all the loose threads of plot I was seeing.
Morgan is a pro. It seems unlikely the corrupt priest he creates with such lavish care is not subsequently used.
Likewise the corpsemites which are in the introductory scene, I'm sure somewhere they're used. I like Morgan's work, generally. If you're sick of the whole swords and sorcery meme, and you'd love to see it told the way it probably would have looked to anyone not romanticizing it, then you'll enjoy The Steel Remains. Hopefully you have a strong stomach.
Aug 29, Marc Aplin rated it really liked it Recommends it for: The Steel Remains is an interesting book to say the least It seems to be the results of renowned Sci-Fi author 'Richard K. Morgan's' attempt to shake up the at times stale Fantasy Genre.
In traditional fantasy we tend to expect a hero who is loved and admired, merciful, an honorable and triumphant past, women to swoon over him and of course; a noteworthy quest he must complete. Well, The Steel Remains gives us a character who is pretty much immoral, bloodthirsty, hated among his people, gay an The Steel Remains is an interesting book to say the least Well, The Steel Remains gives us a character who is pretty much immoral, bloodthirsty, hated among his people, gay and willing to cut to pieces anyone who pisses him off.
The Steel Remains () is a fantasy novel by British writer Richard K. Morgan. It is the first fantasy book by Morgan, a noted science fiction author known for the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy and the standalone novels Market Forces and Black Man. The Steel Remains is the first book of a trilogy named A Land Fit For Heroes, by his brothers after apparent divine intervention by one of the. The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes Series Book 1) and millions of other books are available for instant access. Kindle | Audible. Enter your mobile number.
He really isn't the kind of people you'd like to meet down a dark alley - put it that way. So, how on Earth does it work? Well, just because the main character is gay - doesn't mean he isn't rock solid and battle-ready. Ringil is about as tough as they come. Should he not have been gay, perhaps people would have sung his songs and put him up on the pedestal he deserved. However, because Ringil is openly gay people treat him like dirt and as such he has become bitter and full of spite for the people he had previously saved. They in turn have tried to write him out of the history books and pretty much ignore him.
Laying low in a small village away from the people who know he is gay, Ringil makes a living telling stories about his war days leaving out the parts where he sleeps with men and people in this small village pretty much adore him. It isn't until one day, when is cousin is kidnapped and taken by slave drivers that he has to head back to the main cities and meet with the people who know about his sexuality. His mother who charges him with getting his cousin back seems to accept Ringil's sexuality more than most, however his father and other family members would rather he stayed away.
Ringil has had a hard life so far, but the seemingly minor incident of a kidnapped cousin is quickly going to become his biggest struggle to date. When he finds out that apparently extinct Mages with almost Godlike powers are behind the kidnap he decides he should probably get to the bottom of things The quest aspect of the story now begins and to tell you too much about it would spoil things for you. What I can say though is that the search for Ringil's cousin is one full of blood, chaos, magic and above all treachery.
Morgan is as enjoyable and as fluent as ever. Author of 'Altered Carbon' a Sci-Fi book renowned among critics , he really is one of the most talented authors about. His experience of writing 'Sci-Fi' is certainly noticeable throughout the book. For example, when he talks about races moving across time and space you can see a Sci-Fi like thought process there and when he talks about other races, you almost feel as if they are aliens.
This isn't a bad thing though - because it moves us away from that 'elves have always existed over on that country' type narrative you get in many other Fantasy novels. The dialogue and inner-monologue is also very, very enjoyable. The characters are very sarcastic and ready to chip in the actual thoughts behind their politeness throughout conversations.
I really liked the fact that although Ringil is the main character, we did get a number of viewpoints from other characters who end up being very important later on in the novel. This worked very well and really enhanced the world building. Firstly, it isn't an erotic book written for gay people. It is a Fantasy novel written for Fantasy Fans Let us get over this aspect of it.
Fantasy fans are more open than most anyway and I don't think in it will shock too many people. In fact, I think the fact that Ringil isn't a camp gay or a rugged male who has women chasing over him is an important development for the genre. Gay people can be heroes and gay people can be just as tough and as mean and as nasty as straight people. Finally, the action scenes I think Richard K. Morgan is very, very crafty with how he deals with fight scenes. The world the books are set in is, like the First Law trilogy, very far into the cynical hand of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism , and the intention to subvert and deconstruct a certain number of Fantasy tropes.
The trilogy follows three heroes of a great war that took place 9 years before the beginning of the story, fought against the aquatic Scaled Folk who invaded the human lands from the western ocean hints are given that the Scaled Folk invaded human lands as they themselves were fleeing something even nastier in the west.
All three heroes, previously war-buddies, are now disgusted by their actions following the war, the way their various societies now mistreat and ignore them and are all haunted by the ones they lost during the conflict. Soon, however, they are drawn into a new adventure. Ringil Eskiath - A highly skilled human swordsman who led a now-legendary battle against the Scaled Folk and helped lift the siege of the city of Trelayne. A Straight Gay , which is something of a problem in the distinctly intolerant League, although as Ringil points out "You don't go queer baiting when your victim has a reputation of chopping trained swordsmen into dogmeat at the drop of a hat".
Egar Dragonbane - Clan chief of one of the numerous northern Majak Tribes. Possibly the only one.
Archeth Indamaninarnal - A human-kiriath half-breed who was left behind when the rest of her race abandoned the world in their 'fireships' due to her mixed blood. This trilogy provides examples of: Kiriath weapons, including but not limited to Ringil's greatsword Ravensfriend and Archeth's collection of throwing knives Bandgleam, Laughing Girl and others. Ringil describes the blade as "Kiriath-forged steel, it'll cut your very soul. Archeth, a master swordswoman who can hold her own alongside Ringil and Egar. I'd take you at my shoulder over anyone else I know with a blade, and be grateful for the company.
Anyone else you know with a blade, eh? Thought that'd be Gil. He's got the other shoulder. Kiriath do not die of old age, though they can die of other means. Even Archeth, who is only half-Kiriath, has lived for centuries with no sign of ageing further. There is no moon, just an accretion disc that the characters refer to as the 'Band'. All There in the Manual: Want to know what the last scene means? Go read the Kovacs novels! All three of the main characters. And I Must Scream: See the Losing Your Head entry. The most recent war was against a race of lizard men led by dragons alongside an immortal race that came from within the earth, but the Aldrain are still considered a mere fairytale.
Ringil, who was educated as a Trelayne noble and is well versed in literature. The gods of the Dark Court occasionally grant the prayers of their worshippers, but rarely is such intervention beneficial. Here's a young man — quite a number of young men in fact — all dreaming of battling monsters out of Skaranak legend, praying fervently for some opportunity to test their heroic mettle.
Wolves, steppe ghouls, flapping wraiths, it really doesn't matter which, their prayers are vague — as long as it's a monster, bring it on. Well, we choose one of these idiots and we answer his prayers. Emperor Jhiral, who has spent most of his reign conducting executions or playing with his Harem, seems like this on first glance. On the other hand though, he's actually fairly rational and intelligent in a crisis. Later on, he reverts back to type with no crisis to deal with.
Ringil's Kiriath-forged greatsword Ravensfriend. Cast Full of Gay: