Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

Ringil Eskiath was a hero in a bitter war against a sentient species of reptiles years ago. Now he rots in a backwater town, eking out a meager living on the back of his reputation. That is until his mother shows up and contracts Ringil to track down a cousin who has been sold into slavery. However more may be going on in the recently legalized slave trade then meets the eye. The lady kir-Archeth is a kiriath half breed left behind by her father's people when they attempted to return home and now adviser to the monarch of the Yhelteth empire. Tasked with investigating  a brutal massacre she fears the ancient enemy of her people, the Dwenda are returning. Egar is a clan chief among a people of nomads who can't quite settle back into his old life after seeing part of the larger world and fighting in terrible wars. However he may have made the wrong enemy when he crosses the clan's shaman and he finds himself a piece in a far larger game.

The world-building is a touch uneven to say the least. There are some very intriguing glimpses into cultures and history but it seems too rushed and doesn't quite fit together. I can't understand how peoples who have so recently been in contact  with each other in a major war can have have such disparate knowledge on the Dwenda. Archeth's lack in this regard is deeply troubling.

This ties into a major pacing issue; the story is simply too rushed, especially from Ringil's encounter with the Dwenda onwards.

The three main characters are interesting but everything is too rushed to see them really develop. I would have especially liked the see the relationship between the three protagonist's explored further.

I'm also not a fan of an author simply inserting graphic sex scenes  simply for the sake of shocking the reader without advancing the plot or character development. Morgan is certainly guilty of this.

Overall Morgan's novel is a promising one but is too rushed to develop into would it could have been. 6.75/10.