Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review of The Dark Defiles (A Land Fit For Heroes #3)-Richard Morgan

The Dark Defiles
by Richard K. Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Writing 4/5
Imagination 5/5
Plot 3.5/5
Setting 4.5/5
Characters 3/5

My Overall Enjoyment (Not an average) 3/5

Summary from Goodreads

The final part of Richard Morgan's fast-moving and brutal fantasy brings Ringil to his final reckoning and sees the world tipping into another war with the dragon folk. And, most terrifying of all, the prophecy of a dark lord come to rule may be coming true very close to home ...
After completing The Steel Remains, book 1 in in Richard Morgan's fantasy series A Land Fit for Heroes, I knew I found something that would forever live in the canon of grimdark. I did not review the second book, The Cold Commands, but I rated it 4/5 stars and thought it was good but lacking the intensity of the first. So The Dark Defiles had a lot to live up to. Sadly, this book did not live up to my expectations but it was not a bad book either.

Some of the magic of books 1 and 2 was just gone for me. This book was a lot longer and I felt needlessly so. It did not seem as tight, clear, and concise as previous installments. I felt at least 150 pages could easily have been cut. I felt it was a bit meandering, without direction. At times I was completely lost. Partly because of the style of jumping back and forth between characters and past and present.

The writing was still very good but looking at my bookmarks in his other books, I did not see much in this one that could rival his most wonderful passages in those. As in the last 2 books, there is an excellent blend of science fiction and fantasy and some very complex ideas are articulated and done well. There is a good deal about this world I did not understand, but it was due to the complexity of the subject, not the writing.

This book is full of lore and history, my favorite part of reading fantasy. I love backstory. This is one of the most unique and fascinating worlds I have ever come across and all the questions I had about previous books were answered in this book. A large portion of this book concerns itself with explaining the history of the races and gods and their interactions with one another. Loose ends were tied up and I enjoyed the ending. The book really moved quickly the last 200 pages plotwise.

Overall, a satisfying ending but somewhat underwhelming overall book in one of my favorite series. I don't see any reason one would read this book without having read the first 2. If you have read and enjoyed those, I believe you will enjoy this final book, especially if you are a patient, thoughtful reader, which I am not. If you have not read The Steel Remains (Book 1 in the series), I consider it essential and you should give it a try. Richard Morgan is no doubt one of the best current authors in science fiction and fantasy and I anxiously await his next project

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