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The Steel Remains The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

This is supposed to be the first book of a trilogy.

Audiobook narrated by Simon Vance. He's a technically good narrator but I'm getting sick of how he overuses/misuses accents. In this book I'm just not convinced that nomads of the steppes should have cockney-esque accents.

Richard K. Morgan, prior to this novel, has written noir/cyberpunk; this is his first foray into sword & sorcery fantasy. I kind of think his writing style works better for cyberpunk. It's not that every fantasy has to be written in formal language, but the use of a term for sexual intercourse as punctuation (a feature of all Morgan's books) is kind of jarring in a fantasy book.

I like that the primary point-of-view character is gay in a society where homosexuality is illegal/shunned, because that makes the sexual politics more interesting. I like that the book explores some of the ways that war scars and changes people -- not just individuals, but whole populations. I like that there is a female point-of-view character who is a lesbian and a competent warrior, and who doesn't die in the end. (But Morgan doesn't let her have sex either, which is annoying.)

In the end I didn't care about these characters as much as I cared about Takeshi Kovacs, the hero of Morgan's cyberpunk trilogy. For most of the book the three main characters are not connected. I started caring a little more about them toward the end when they hooked up. But I don't feel compelled to continue to the next book in the trilogy the way I wanted to find out what would happen with Takeshi Kovacs.

View all my goodreads.com reviews.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
The Steel Remains review
I have to wonder (and chuckle) - you must be an American ?? You're not convinced steppe nomads would have a cockney accent. Okay, but what accent do you think they should have? Point being, it's a fantasy, they could have any accent the audio reader wanted to give them, I'd think.

Next point, you mention "use of a term for sexual intercourse" but you don't mention which word you are referring to. If it's the one I'm thinking of, the term does not have the same negative meaning it does here in the U.S.

Three, lesbian sex - maybe the next book will cover that??

Four, I love Takeshi Kovacs as well. But found Ringil to be just as engaging a character. Remeber, you got to know Takeshi over three books. I thought the emperor was a very interesting guy too.

Thanks for your review.
Jun. 27th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: The Steel Remains review
I am an American. I'm curious in what way this matters. How do you think a non-American would react differently?

It's not a question of whether steppe nomads "would" have a Cockney accent as whether the narrator "should" have given them one. I have associations with Cockney accents that are jarring when I encounter them in characters who are supposed to be steppe nomads. I found this to distract from my enjoyment of the book.

I don't really like heavy accents in audiobooks in general. In fantasies, I'd rather the reader use something close to their usual accent, so I can use my imagination.

The term for sexual intercourse is "fuck" and its variants. It's not a question of the degree to which it has a negative meaning. I'm not shocked by it. It just doesn't work for me to have it used as punctuation in a fantasy novel. There were a number of places where it was used to great effect, but there were many more places where I thought it didn't add much of anything.

I cared about Takeshi right away, in a way I never quite cared about Ringil. (I think it has something to do with the way Ringil doesn't care about himself, actually.) But of course not everyone will share my viewpoint on this matter. I'm glad you found Ringil engaging.
Jun. 28th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
I also really enjoyed the Takeshi Kovacs books, he was annoying and sympathetic all the way through the series.

Thirteen aka Black Man was also good, though I found the ending not as satisfying.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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