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The Dark Defiles A Land Fit for Heroes #3

L reckoning and sees the world tipping into another war with the dragon folk And most terri If you made it this far you probably like the tale and its hyperbolic elements This last installment is not going to disappoint the action is still very explicit the story is a triumph of cynicism and excess the character development reaches its apex and the author builds great tension across all the protagonists’ story arcs delivering an epic finale and skillfully leaving some ends open to speculationI liked the overall experience with this story and its damaged characters I particularly enjoyed the political intrigue the focus on the pitfalls of transition after a victorious war the reflection on people chained down by social s and their own competence; I also appreciated the sci fi touches the many uotable passages and the overarching dramaPlotwise I raised a few eyebrows at one of the main characters’ all encompassing prowess who’s hell bent on a my destiny is not mapped out for me course of destruction and there were some confusing events which I struggled to interpret Granted that’s probably normal considering there was little linearity and the tale did become even tangled with all the stakeholders openly joining the game board so maybe it was just me not getting the nuances as I should haveI believe the whole story was plotted from the outset; however I can’t shake this sense of something missingI don't mind difficultobliue nay I love it when there is coherence purpose and the author succeeds in making me care for the characters and for the reveals not to mention applaud the execution and the world building This is not an easy feat to pull off because it is but a short step from “subtle” to “abstruse” and Morgan treads a fine line between clever gory entertainment and highbrow ish pulpy driftIn this regard I still have mixed feelings about the trilogy although the third book is my favorite and it also marks an improvement over the narrative flaws of its predecessorsSome fantasy literature background helps in getting the most out of all the anti hero tropes counter tropes and fantasy clichés at large that the author plays both with and against since this series is clearly grimdark but it’s also a criticism to the “conventional” fantasy narrative and its readers’ expectations and to the anatomy of fantasy names unless he’s genuine about all those perverse Kiriath terms and that’s not a thought I want to entertainProblem is while some of his choices were fun and thought provoking the Gods priceless Morgan often goes overboard in his challenge to “mainstream” tastes with the escalating bloody rampage some paint by number plot devices the bleaker than black reality the devaluation of sexuality and his emphasis on shock value for shock value’s sakeHe laid it on a bit thick when dealing with Ringil’s proclivities too but I’m not really complaining hereA Land unFit for Heroes is not a light weight series for both themes and structure and it’s surely best appreciated back to back because it relies on the audience’s memory and perceptionsI would recommend it only to irony minded readers who like sexdirtgore because there is plenty and unbowdlerizedIt’s also rewarding to those who enjoy complex character driven grimdark stories with memorable casts Not only Ringil Egar and Archeth but also the Emperor the Kiriath the Dwenda the Gods and several supporting characters are well rounded and effectiveMorgan is an unuestionably gifted storyteller and character writer therefore I truly wonder about the point behind such exacerbated violencevulgarity in an otherwise interesting if a bit convoluted storyMaybe this series is deliberately designed to make you doubt your intelligence or maybe it’s a ground breaking grimdark which I failed to fully appreciate Nonetheless I liked it I was engaged and I had fun so the point is probably moot What else aside from slaughter with sharp steel are you really good for?There’s a long uiet pause broken only by the roar and suck of the sea Ringil feels the sound stuffing itself into his ears emptying him out They stand goddess and man a foot and a half apart like two statues carved from the granite underfootI suppose a blow job’s out of the uestion he says at last

Read & Download ð PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free µ Richard K. Morgan

The final part of Richard Morgan's fast moving and brutal fantasy brings Ringil to his fina I could hardly put down this dark sword and sorcery tale from it being so engaging and disturbing At 700 pages I admit I had to put it down sometimes to sleep and eat and work When I reached its satisfying conclusion I settled on three stars to balance feeling guilty getting so much pleasure from all its outrageous anger and violence betrayals and retributions surprising sexuality and thrills of battling dragons and monsters But after a couple of weeks I was still missing this world I have to up my stars Your mileage may differ I loved the three main characters all feisty trash talking outcasts of one sort or another rising to the occasion of saving the world Ringil is a highborn of the Empire weary of wars but always energized to a just cause or the chance to strike the greater of any two evils His comrade in arms Egar of peasant stock from the rural steppes has been driven from his path of becoming a clan leader by family violence and betrayal The third is black and beautiful Areth a warrior princess of the Empire She is blessed with an immortal lifespan due to being half Kiriath the race of “Sky People” who nurtured the Empire engineered marvels of the cities and then departed Ringil is in bad favor with the court in part because he is gay Areth readily accedes to her human brother sitting on the throne but is in some disfavor for her low class military pursuits and her lesbian ways More character development and world building can be had no doubt from reading the first two of the series but enough back story was presented here to keep me happyAll are in early stages of harnessing magical powers or magically enhanced weapons Ringil and Egar have learned some limited spells from “trips” to a dreamworld the Grey Places with cliffs bearing runes preserved by the mysterious Book Keepers Areth is mastering the use of knives that can leap to her hands when needed and help project trajectories in combat But what little magical skills the trio have gained often seem inadeuate to the powers of creatures who call themselves gods and seem to appear from some other dimension Or to the zoo of dangerous critters that inhabit the seas of this watery world and the wastelands of some terrible ancient war against beings known as the dwenda At the beginning of the book the trio’s party is sent on sea expedition to a distant land to seek artifacts in the grave of an ancient avatar of the dwenda But their party is attacked by a privateer fleet Ringil gets separated from Egar and Areth each in desperate straits they must surmount The narrative alternatingly follows their paths through much of the book They learn the Empire is now at war with a coalition of trader nations the League which the dwenda are corrupting for their task of world domination Fortunately at least some of the gods and a partly crippled AI left behind by the Kiriath do not favor that prospect In their forms of intervention they seem to have their own mysterious agendas With lovely chutzpah and hubris our heroes find righteous paths to stand up to being used as chess piecesIf you are unsure if this plot scheme will float your boat perhaps some prose samples can help clench your choice Such as here when Egar lives up to his nickname as Dragonbane Across the wind out of Kiriath pits below them it came and split the air A shrieking piercing cry he’d thought he’d never hear again outside of dreams A cry like sheets of metal tearing apart like the denial of some bereaved warrior goddess vast immortal grief tipping over into the insane fury of loss Like a drawn out echoing rage of some immense stooping bird of prey“It’s a dragon” he told them simply “Pretty big one too by the sound of it”And here is Areth when she finally gets a chance to press one of the goddesses Takavitch the “Lord of the Salt Wind” on their meddling and manipulation of people and gets some uite human pushback “How about a little respect” Not too much to ask it it?Archeth shrugged “Respect is earned”“Earned?” It came out in a whisper built rapidly to a rasping fury “Fucking earned? You cheeky half blood bitch You know what? I give up No I’m done Really This is too hard It isn’t fucking worth it Cannot believe you just said that We run around we answer prayers We grant wishes and favors by the shovel load try to fucking balance everything along the way You know what that is daughter of Flaradnam? It’s fucking ungracious”“I don’t pray To you or anybody else”And here is Ringil humbled by how little he really knows what’s going on after a pep talk from another goddess the “Mistress of Dice and Death” the Truth it turns out is a delicate ineffable thing It will not fit in his head any than the wind will fit in a helmet It tumbles and falls away instead Bruises on impact like fruit off some heavily laden market barrow while Ringil Eskiath sorcerer warlord apparent runs around grabbing and groping for the scattering rolling piecesHis fondness for a vision of a future society in blissful peace is something the goddess pooh poohs Do you think they could stand to have you in their midst—a bloody handed monster a living breathing reminder of all they do not appreciate or understand?But this—this is a lie to yourself that you carry around in your heart because you’d rather not face the truth That there is rest and there is motion And once set in motion none of us are ever truly at rest again as long as we live That the only truly important thing is to move well while you can to go to rest only when rest is all that remains“Yeah? So where does that leave me?”The dark ueen looks almost embarrassed for him “Well” she says “What else aside from slaughter with sharp steel are you really good for?””I suppose a blow job’s out of the uestion” he says at lastI have long snobbishly avoided fantasy books with magic and rode with “hard” science fiction because of its illusion of plausibility Even if say teleportation is highly unlikely its use in fiction doesn’t feel like an arbitrary phenomenon that magic usually seemed to me But if the story was good enough as with Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter books I would readily cross the lines These days there is so much writing talent devoted to fantasy it’s

Richard K. Morgan µ 5 review

Fying of all the prophecy of a dark lord come to rule may be coming true very close to home This was a bad book and a very bad ending to what I thought was a trilogy Most of the book was pointless wandering around by characters I used to care about It wasn't fun and it wasn't exciting Then Archeth took on a uest that made no sense to me I thought I was reading a story aboutI have no Idea what I thought the story was about by this book to tell you the truth but the mystery of the Helmsmen and magic and the dwenda definitely not an endless trip back into steppes for revenge for something that I barely remember happening and don't care about I seriously didn't understand so much about this book and about this series I loved the first book The second book was puzzling slow and wandering But this was a huge disappointing mess And then the end was just terrible everything about it was wrong I kept reading the long slow journeys because I was sure I'd be rewarded in the end But then it was as if Morgan had saved all of the interesting and exciting bits of books two and three and clumped them all in the last fifty pages It was deus ex machina after deus ex machina the answers had nothing to do with anything that had happened for the thousand plus pages I'd read for three books Why was I supposed to be excited thrilled or interested in any of that? The series wasn't full enough of mysterious creatures and rivalries and human politics and physical wars and rivalries so let's toss in a few things to confuse everyone? But let's do it too late for anything interesting to be done with them after I've wasted the last thousands of pages that I've just made my readers slog through great idea It` was supposed to explain some things to me where the Gray Places came from who the dwenda are but it made it even complex and confusing I like complex when it's useful But no now it's a whole new story The book really really needed recap and reminders I had no idea who Hjel and his people were who the gods supposedly were I vaguely remembered the dwenda from the first book but barely remembered anything from the second book at all I needed to be reminded who Anasharal was that was really significantly important It was all super confusing It wasn't just that I have a terrible memory which I do it had been an extra long time in between books two and three but the author plunged in and carried on throughout like I knew exactly what was going on The only time there was a reminder was when a minor character who had a grudge against Ringil was introduced It was very frustrating very often What's a Helmsman? What's the deal with Ringil's sword again? I did finally get some of it after about two hundred pages but I just bits and pieces I'm very glad not to have infodumps but there should be a happy medium And just as a design issue I couldn't tell the difference between italics because it was people primarily Ringil thinking to themselves and italics when people are having conversations in the Gray Places or various other circumstance or it was another language or honestly I just couldn't tell what was going on and what the italics are supposed to mean it was just very unclear It just added to to my overall confusion with this book I couldn't make rhyme or reason of it There's a point where Ringil makes a speech in italics then thinks to himself in italics a few lines later I can't tell what's internal and what's spoken And the point that he was making a speech was important but it got lost the italics de emphasized it I just don't understand the point of them Also there are no uotation marks in these sections though they're used in other parts of the book giving me even less cues to what's going on I just don't understand this editing choice or convention or maybe it was the author's choice I'm sure there was a logical system to it that I just didn't take the time to figure out because I shouldn't have to After 600 pages it should have come clear and made sense not been a constant annoyance It was constantly visually and comprehensively confusing in a book that couldn't afford any extra confusionThere's a scene very near the end where Archeth stares through the empty air still trying to figure out what just happened After a while she gave up trying to figure it out and just walked away I know exactly how she felt Throwing in a bunch of new elements in the last fifty pages of a huge fantasy trilogy isn't fun Changing all of the rules and switching up all of the explanations for your mystical elements isn't fun Reveals are fun but there has to have been some hints some build up so you can feel in on the reveal be amazed by how cool it was and how all of the pieces came together to form such a cool puzzle Not be amazed at what bizarro curves the author keeps throwing out at the last second one after the other after the other I put the time into the long slow slog of this book because I thought I'd be rewarded in the end and I was very disappointed The bulk of the book wasn't fun and the end wasn't fun There are a lot of intriguing elements that suddenly appeared at the end that it would have been fun to know about but the way that they're introduced takes all of the enjoyment out of them I just don't understand what Morgan was trying to do with this book And if there is going to be another book in the series I won't be reading it he's lost me on his fantasy books I'm terribly disappointed to say it I've been a huge fan of his but I just don't want to waste my time on these books any

  • Hardcover
  • 488
  • The Dark Defiles A Land Fit for Heroes #3
  • Richard K. Morgan
  • English
  • 10 October 2019
  • 9780575077942

About the Author: Richard K. Morgan

Defiles A PDF Ë See this thread for information Richard K Morgan sometimes credited as Richard Morgan is a science fiction and fantasy writer.



10 thoughts on “The Dark Defiles A Land Fit for Heroes #3

  1. says:

    700 fucking pages of characters running around without any kind of definite closing I loved the first book of the series i tolerated the second book and the third book this it fucking pissed me off there were good things in the book but the overall confusion of the plot and the useless characters stuffed in the book just dilute the good things and cover them with a sheen of bullshit that i just can't swallow reading this left me with a bad taste in my mouth i am so angry i don't even want to finish this review fuck this

  2. says:

    “It is there in the dark recesses in the cracks through the surface of things that you will find what you seek Ask yourself instead how deep into the defiles you are prepared to go”In spite of my rating the final journey to the Land Fit for Heroes was the only one I truly enjoyed In fact I surprised myself having so much fun up until the very end which was so terrible that it spoiled the whole tripOK where were we? Our trio of anti heroes is now aware that the antics they have been part of are not some random skirmishes but a prelude to the end of the world Their uest for the dark lord of legends is interrupted by an unexpected war and our team is not only stranded in a totally wrong place deep into the enemy territory but also becomes separated to make things even interesting In The Dark Defiles the personal dramas stop being significant and things gain decisively existential flavour It becomes apparent as the consecutive chapters switch from POV to POV And yet character development is one of the weakest aspects in the book; of the three arcs only two got Author’s proper attention while the third one Egar grew kind of obsolete and somewhat devoid of substance This leaves the readers with Ringil and Archeth and a choice between a special snowflake and a special snowflake Decisions decisionsRingil with his dark hair scarred gaunt face dead eyes and sexy swords yup both of them is not only a declared outlaw and self appointed societal scandal but also now becomes a sorcerer ascendant In the previous book he acuired the very useful cold command; in this volume he has the magic of ikinri’ska glyphs You are not surprised to learn that he is a natural “somehow he knew which ones to read where to look for them how to interpret them” and the magic just sinks into him and saves him every single time he needs it It all comes down to the fact that even disguised in gore snot and sperm Ringil steel remains an exemplary Gary StuArcheth which we knew as jet skinned 209 year old half human somewhat burned out and addicted to toxic substances suddenly and somewhat out of the blue gains a new edge Her development from an outsider to a leader is not entirely credible but interesting This is your typical anti hero distancing themselves from the anti and transforming into a beautiful black swanThese two stories are set against the background of a wider intrigue There are the political shenanigans of the Empire and the League the helmsmen with an agenda of their own and they don’t do half measures the dark pantheon of godlings and the menace of the dwenda But this path of heroic doom going from the Grey Places to lost Kiriath cities to the Wastes to the Majak steppe and back to the Grey Places is surprisingly well flat The plot doesn’t really matter because the moment the snowflake enters into the euation everybody knows the final outcome Additionally other factors and other actors are rendered irrelevant and so don’t be surprised that several motifs are abandoned view spoilerlike Ringil’s reckoning with his family is perfunctory Egar just dies without sorting out his family or love life and the looming figure of Emperor from an active agent changes into a prop convenience hide spoiler

  3. says:

    I could hardly put down this dark sword and sorcery tale from it being so engaging and disturbing At 700 pages I admit I had to put it down sometimes to sleep and eat and work When I reached its satisfying conclusion I settled on three stars to balance feeling guilty getting so much pleasure from all its outrageous anger and violence betrayals and retributions surprising sexuality and thrills of battling dragons and monsters But after a couple of weeks I was still missing this world I have to up my stars Your mileage may differ I loved the three main characters all feisty trash talking outcasts of one sort or another rising to the occasion of saving the world Ringil is a highborn of the Empire weary of wars but always energized to a just cause or the chance to strike the greater of any two evils His comrade in arms Egar of peasant stock from the rural steppes has been driven from his path of becoming a clan leader by family violence and betrayal The third is black and beautiful Areth a warrior princess of the Empire She is blessed with an immortal lifespan due to being half Kiriath the race of “Sky People” who nurtured the Empire engineered marvels of the cities and then departed Ringil is in bad favor with the court in part because he is gay Areth readily accedes to her human brother sitting on the throne but is in some disfavor for her low class military pursuits and her lesbian ways More character development and world building can be had no doubt from reading the first two of the series but enough back story was presented here to keep me happyAll are in early stages of harnessing magical powers or magically enhanced weapons Ringil and Egar have learned some limited spells from “trips” to a dreamworld the Grey Places with cliffs bearing runes preserved by the mysterious Book Keepers Areth is mastering the use of knives that can leap to her hands when needed and help project trajectories in combat But what little magical skills the trio have gained often seem inadeuate to the powers of creatures who call themselves gods and seem to appear from some other dimension Or to the zoo of dangerous critters that inhabit the seas of this watery world and the wastelands of some terrible ancient war against beings known as the dwenda At the beginning of the book the trio’s party is sent on sea expedition to a distant land to seek artifacts in the grave of an ancient avatar of the dwenda But their party is attacked by a privateer fleet Ringil gets separated from Egar and Areth each in desperate straits they must surmount The narrative alternatingly follows their paths through much of the book They learn the Empire is now at war with a coalition of trader nations the League which the dwenda are corrupting for their task of world domination Fortunately at least some of the gods and a partly crippled AI left behind by the Kiriath do not favor that prospect In their forms of intervention they seem to have their own mysterious agendas With lovely chutzpah and hubris our heroes find righteous paths to stand up to being used as chess piecesIf you are unsure if this plot scheme will float your boat perhaps some prose samples can help clench your choice Such as here when Egar lives up to his nickname as Dragonbane Across the wind out of Kiriath pits below them it came and split the air A shrieking piercing cry he’d thought he’d never hear again outside of dreams A cry like sheets of metal tearing apart like the denial of some bereaved warrior goddess vast immortal grief tipping over into the insane fury of loss Like a drawn out echoing rage of some immense stooping bird of prey“It’s a dragon” he told them simply “Pretty big one too by the sound of it”And here is Areth when she finally gets a chance to press one of the goddesses Takavitch the “Lord of the Salt Wind” on their meddling and manipulation of people and gets some uite human pushback “How about a little respect” Not too much to ask it it?Archeth shrugged “Respect is earned”“Earned?” It came out in a whisper built rapidly to a rasping fury “Fucking earned? You cheeky half blood bitch You know what? I give up No I’m done Really This is too hard It isn’t fucking worth it Cannot believe you just said that We run around we answer prayers We grant wishes and favors by the shovel load try to fucking balance everything along the way You know what that is daughter of Flaradnam? It’s fucking ungracious”“I don’t pray To you or anybody else”And here is Ringil humbled by how little he really knows what’s going on after a pep talk from another goddess the “Mistress of Dice and Death” the Truth it turns out is a delicate ineffable thing It will not fit in his head any than the wind will fit in a helmet It tumbles and falls away instead Bruises on impact like fruit off some heavily laden market barrow while Ringil Eskiath sorcerer warlord apparent runs around grabbing and groping for the scattering rolling piecesHis fondness for a vision of a future society in blissful peace is something the goddess pooh poohs Do you think they could stand to have you in their midst—a bloody handed monster a living breathing reminder of all they do not appreciate or understand?But this—this is a lie to yourself that you carry around in your heart because you’d rather not face the truth That there is rest and there is motion And once set in motion none of us are ever truly at rest again as long as we live That the only truly important thing is to move well while you can to go to rest only when rest is all that remains“Yeah? So where does that leave me?”The dark ueen looks almost embarrassed for him “Well” she says “What else aside from slaughter with sharp steel are you really good for?””I suppose a blow job’s out of the uestion” he says at lastI have long snobbishly avoided fantasy books with magic and rode with “hard” science fiction because of its illusion of plausibility Even if say teleportation is highly unlikely its use in fiction doesn’t feel like an arbitrary phenomenon that magic usually seemed to me But if the story was good enough as with Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter books I would readily cross the lines These days there is so much writing talent devoted to fantasy it’s foolish to deprive oneself from reading pleasures with such barriers of sensibilityWhat was it Arthur Clarke said about magic? Aha thank Google “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” And oh look a blog discussion headed “Technology isn't magic Why Clarke's Third Law always bugged me” Lively discussion there with one respondent posing the counterpoint “Any magic sufficiently analyzed with sufficient rigor is indistinguishable from science” Anyway it is no wonder that a sci fi fan might be taken with this noir fantasy tale Morgan is the author of the noir science fiction novel “Altered Carbon” which earned 5 stars from my pleasure meter less luck in my aborted attempt on a seuel volumeThis book was provided as an e book loan through the Netgalley program

  4. says:

    This was an OK ending to Richard Morgan's A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy The pacing could have been better but the story itself was good and importantly the wrap up was well done This was a satisfying way to finish what has been a pretty good dark fantasy series Morgan always got the balance right between the brutal and dark happenings and the moments when the reader got to cheer for the characters so this did not end up as one of those depressing misery porn style of stories that plague the modern grimdark fantasy genre The plot just picked up from where things left off in the second instalment Ringil Archeth and Egar went on their Helmsmen sent mission to find the Illwrack changeling's grave Things did not go smoothly as the party were being manipulated from all sides by the Aldrain the Dark Court the Helmsmen and other mysterious forces all intent on furthering their own agendas I felt like the story was entertaining enough and as always I liked the three POV characters They are not always likeable people but they were always interesting characters and it remained easy to root for them most of the time which I think is a key factor that a lot of authors miss when writing dark fantasy books like this I liked the explanations we got for the likes of the Aldrain and the Helmsmen This series finale gave answers to most of the ongoing mysteries I also really enjoyed the mix of fantasy and sci fi in this series It might be nothing new to mix both genres but it can still be a lot of fun when it is done correctlyIf this series has a flaw it is the fact that the world building does not feel as solid as what we got in Morgan's Altered Carbon books It hurts the series that stuff like the Grey Places and the other otherworldly stuff remain vague and hard to picture I never had those issues while reading Morgan's regular sci fi stuff so I feel he was being purposely vague but I still think that hurt the story a bit and ended up being a big weakness for the series All in all I'll remember this as a solid dark fantasy series It had tons of bad language and brutal violence but it never tipped into being an overly depressing read Most of the themes touched on in the story were things Morgan covered in his Altered Carbon books but they still felt fresh enough as different issues got focus in this series It likely helps that I'm on board with most of Morgan's messages and social criticisms Rating 35 stars It is probably a 4 star book but I lost a bit of enthusiasm for this one halfway through I blame that on having read all three books in the trilogy back to back and the fact that I picked up this series just after finishing my favourite read of the whole year I'll round up to 4 stars for my Goodreads ratingAudio Note Simon Vance did an OK job with the audio He will never be a favourite narrator of mine but he did not hurt my enjoyment of this series

  5. says:

    If you made it this far you probably like the tale and its hyperbolic elements This last installment is not going to disappoint the action is still very explicit the story is a triumph of cynicism and excess the character development reaches its apex and the author builds great tension across all the protagonists’ story arcs delivering an epic finale and skillfully leaving some ends open to speculationI liked the overall experience with this story and its damaged characters I particularly enjoyed the political intrigue the focus on the pitfalls of transition after a victorious war the reflection on people chained down by social s and their own competence; I also appreciated the sci fi touches the many uotable passages and the overarching dramaPlotwise I raised a few eyebrows at one of the main characters’ all encompassing prowess who’s hell bent on a my destiny is not mapped out for me course of destruction and there were some confusing events which I struggled to interpret Granted that’s probably normal considering there was little linearity and the tale did become even tangled with all the stakeholders openly joining the game board so maybe it was just me not getting the nuances as I should haveI believe the whole story was plotted from the outset; however I can’t shake this sense of something missingI don't mind difficultobliue nay I love it when there is coherence purpose and the author succeeds in making me care for the characters and for the reveals not to mention applaud the execution and the world building This is not an easy feat to pull off because it is but a short step from “subtle” to “abstruse” and Morgan treads a fine line between clever gory entertainment and highbrow ish pulpy driftIn this regard I still have mixed feelings about the trilogy although the third book is my favorite and it also marks an improvement over the narrative flaws of its predecessorsSome fantasy literature background helps in getting the most out of all the anti hero tropes counter tropes and fantasy clichés at large that the author plays both with and against since this series is clearly grimdark but it’s also a criticism to the “conventional” fantasy narrative and its readers’ expectations and to the anatomy of fantasy names unless he’s genuine about all those perverse Kiriath terms and that’s not a thought I want to entertainProblem is while some of his choices were fun and thought provoking the Gods priceless Morgan often goes overboard in his challenge to “mainstream” tastes with the escalating bloody rampage some paint by number plot devices the bleaker than black reality the devaluation of sexuality and his emphasis on shock value for shock value’s sakeHe laid it on a bit thick when dealing with Ringil’s proclivities too but I’m not really complaining hereA Land unFit for Heroes is not a light weight series for both themes and structure and it’s surely best appreciated back to back because it relies on the audience’s memory and perceptionsI would recommend it only to irony minded readers who like sexdirtgore because there is plenty and unbowdlerizedIt’s also rewarding to those who enjoy complex character driven grimdark stories with memorable casts Not only Ringil Egar and Archeth but also the Emperor the Kiriath the Dwenda the Gods and several supporting characters are well rounded and effectiveMorgan is an unuestionably gifted storyteller and character writer therefore I truly wonder about the point behind such exacerbated violencevulgarity in an otherwise interesting if a bit convoluted storyMaybe this series is deliberately designed to make you doubt your intelligence or maybe it’s a ground breaking grimdark which I failed to fully appreciate Nonetheless I liked it I was engaged and I had fun so the point is probably moot What else aside from slaughter with sharp steel are you really good for?There’s a long uiet pause broken only by the roar and suck of the sea Ringil feels the sound stuffing itself into his ears emptying him out They stand goddess and man a foot and a half apart like two statues carved from the granite underfootI suppose a blow job’s out of the uestion he says at last

  6. says:

    One long rambling and vague to avoid spoilers review aheadI will have to think thoroughly about what I have read and possibly re read the series once but I am disappointed The book illuminates the flaws of its predecessors I enjoyed the books both times I've read them but that is the thing you cannot judge a part of the whole completely until the whole is in front of you Having read all the books now I am left dissatisfiedThe lost opportunities are the first thing that comes to mind Starting as a personal uest first book only to turn into possible fight for the fate of the Empire and possibly the world second book I expected the trilogy to end with the big bang With all three protagonists being scarred and irreverent war veterans the forces that rise against them and gods circling around like vultures with fantasy merging with science fiction see what Arthur Clarke says about technology and magic I expected The Dark Defiles to explode and blow our minds What we got was not a bang but a whimperThe first third of the book was slow but than it rushes on so fast you can hardly catch up with it As the pages vanish you start to wonder how will Morgan have the time to give you a satisfactory ending Well he doesn't Our antiheroes are sent on their meandering ways they stumble across a few info dumps get the power boosts that seem tacked on have a few admittedly great fights though not as great as the ending of the second book and never fully reach the promised potential I wanted to be on the edge of my seat worrying about them I wanted to scream at the pages when something bad happened to them I wanted to see the depth of their friendship and weight of their shared history Morgan never managed to get me fully involved with them as he did in the first and to some extent the second book I had to remind myself several times why they were doing some things When he ended one of the protagonists less than two thirds into the book instead of feeling sad my reaction was What? No That's it? While some might feel it was a poetic ending I just thought that it was wasted potential Morgan holds the cards close to his chest to the last possible moment and then hits you with revelationsresolutions one after another without leaving time for anything to sink in I had to go back several times to re read the parts of the book to clarify what happened and still at the end we lack conclusion It was nice that our protagonists pretty much say Fuck you to the powers that are trying to use them the ones that survive at least but the things are set up in a way that makes you believe that at least one of them will eventually play into their hands In the end one dies one's story remains open ended one gives you 'WTF' headache Yup not what I was looking for I don't mind when bad things happen to the main characters I don't need everything resolved at the end of the book but there has to be some resolution The characters have to change in some fundamental way I'm not counting power boost as a change The world in which they live in needs to change in some way Do not get me wrong This is not a bad book But until the very end it doesn't read like the last book It was as if we lost some integral part of the story along the way hence my feeling about the previous books' flaws Even my ratings reflect that first book five stars second four and this one three It could be that I had too high expectations It could be that I shouldn't have read this book after Malazan series Erikson is the king of vague and mysterious but the payoff is mind blowing I would have to re read the entire trilogy again at some point to see if my impression would change when I read the books back to back At this point I feel that this was a valiant fantasy effort on Morgan's part; the potential for being great is there but it was unfulfilled

  7. says:

    started this and seemed a bit interesting dialogue but who cares and I started reading forward and then the ending which is really really powerful so I went back to read it end to end; has some great stuff so far though it is really dark no uestion about itI finished Dark Defiles and on first read I felt it was very good maybe not fully satisfying as I thought RK Morgan went a bit overboard in trying to do anti fantasy so there were moments the book read like a parody where Ringil or the other two main characters Archeth and Egar though somewhat less evident there as Egar was still an impulsive barbarian and Archeth a cool superior race ok partly as she was half human after all intellect did something utterly contrarian just to do it and say f you to everyone while RK Morgan implicitly said f you to the fantasy reader so to speak; but there were tons and tons of powerful moments most of the stuff from earlier 2 books was explained and there was a mostly definite conclusion;As the novel stayed with me i felt i needed a full reread of all 3 books Steel remains Cold command dark Defiles and after that I notched up my appreciation of Dark Defiles and the series overall and now i feel that it is indeed one of the best fantasy series of recent times very powerful very well developed and thought out and full of memorable uotes While the content is modern the structure is really old fashioned with all 3 books forming a huge one novel tapestry while recent top notch series started fragmenting the storyline into definite parts and either expanding the universe or raising the stakes rather than pretty much introducing all the main stuff in book 1 however indirectly and veiled there with books 2 and 3 mostly piling revelations action and depth; the one drawback is that a lot of the finer points are appreciated only at the end when one knows what's really what and with 6 years from book 1 to book 3 one really needs the full series rereadhere is one such uote that is not that spoilery as I blanked the namesRingil rubbed his chin “Did do something to you?”“Please—”“And yet you sent him to die on a spike”“That” A spasm of pain twisted face “It was the law”“So is this It’s recent legislation you may not have heard Harm those I care for and those you care for will be harmed How does it feel?”and one Supposing I could take you to that city—how would you live there? Your blade would be behind glass in a museum and no use for it even if it were not The languages you speak would be millennia dead What would you do for money for food? Do you see yourself cleaning tables perhaps in some eatery whose owner does not mind your halting attempts at the local tongue? A brief career as a tavern whore maybe while your looks last? Do you see yourself washing dishes or mucking out horses as you grow old and gray? Does that appeal?He grimaces Well now you come to mention it  uite And here is our difficulty Your daydreamed retirement is no honest than the daydreamed heroics of young boys who’ve never picked up a blade It is a fantasy staple—stale learned longing incurious of any human detail a mediocre hand dealt out from the grubby endlessly reshuffled myths and legends and comforting lies you people like to tell each other There is less weight to it in the end than in all your boyhood fantasies of a life with the gypsies out on the marsh at Trelayne That at least was something you might once have attempted a path you might have taken But this—this is a lie to yourself that you carry around in your heart because you’d rather not face the truthAnd what truth would that be?I want them dead he says uietly I want them all ing dead Ah The Mistress of Dice and Death puts a companionable arm around his shoulders Her touch bites through his clothes like freezing iron Now that’s like itOverall a fantastic series

  8. says:

    This was a bad book and a very bad ending to what I thought was a trilogy Most of the book was pointless wandering around by characters I used to care about It wasn't fun and it wasn't exciting Then Archeth took on a uest that made no sense to me I thought I was reading a story aboutI have no Idea what I thought the story was about by this book to tell you the truth but the mystery of the Helmsmen and magic and the dwenda definitely not an endless trip back into steppes for revenge for something that I barely remember happening and don't care about I seriously didn't understand so much about this book and about this series I loved the first book The second book was puzzling slow and wandering But this was a huge disappointing mess And then the end was just terrible everything about it was wrong I kept reading the long slow journeys because I was sure I'd be rewarded in the end But then it was as if Morgan had saved all of the interesting and exciting bits of books two and three and clumped them all in the last fifty pages It was deus ex machina after deus ex machina the answers had nothing to do with anything that had happened for the thousand plus pages I'd read for three books Why was I supposed to be excited thrilled or interested in any of that? The series wasn't full enough of mysterious creatures and rivalries and human politics and physical wars and rivalries so let's toss in a few things to confuse everyone? But let's do it too late for anything interesting to be done with them after I've wasted the last thousands of pages that I've just made my readers slog through great idea It` was supposed to explain some things to me where the Gray Places came from who the dwenda are but it made it even complex and confusing I like complex when it's useful But no now it's a whole new story The book really really needed recap and reminders I had no idea who Hjel and his people were who the gods supposedly were I vaguely remembered the dwenda from the first book but barely remembered anything from the second book at all I needed to be reminded who Anasharal was that was really significantly important It was all super confusing It wasn't just that I have a terrible memory which I do it had been an extra long time in between books two and three but the author plunged in and carried on throughout like I knew exactly what was going on The only time there was a reminder was when a minor character who had a grudge against Ringil was introduced It was very frustrating very often What's a Helmsman? What's the deal with Ringil's sword again? I did finally get some of it after about two hundred pages but I just bits and pieces I'm very glad not to have infodumps but there should be a happy medium And just as a design issue I couldn't tell the difference between italics because it was people primarily Ringil thinking to themselves and italics when people are having conversations in the Gray Places or various other circumstance or it was another language or honestly I just couldn't tell what was going on and what the italics are supposed to mean it was just very unclear It just added to to my overall confusion with this book I couldn't make rhyme or reason of it There's a point where Ringil makes a speech in italics then thinks to himself in italics a few lines later I can't tell what's internal and what's spoken And the point that he was making a speech was important but it got lost the italics de emphasized it I just don't understand the point of them Also there are no uotation marks in these sections though they're used in other parts of the book giving me even less cues to what's going on I just don't understand this editing choice or convention or maybe it was the author's choice I'm sure there was a logical system to it that I just didn't take the time to figure out because I shouldn't have to After 600 pages it should have come clear and made sense not been a constant annoyance It was constantly visually and comprehensively confusing in a book that couldn't afford any extra confusionThere's a scene very near the end where Archeth stares through the empty air still trying to figure out what just happened After a while she gave up trying to figure it out and just walked away I know exactly how she felt Throwing in a bunch of new elements in the last fifty pages of a huge fantasy trilogy isn't fun Changing all of the rules and switching up all of the explanations for your mystical elements isn't fun Reveals are fun but there has to have been some hints some build up so you can feel in on the reveal be amazed by how cool it was and how all of the pieces came together to form such a cool puzzle Not be amazed at what bizarro curves the author keeps throwing out at the last second one after the other after the other I put the time into the long slow slog of this book because I thought I'd be rewarded in the end and I was very disappointed The bulk of the book wasn't fun and the end wasn't fun There are a lot of intriguing elements that suddenly appeared at the end that it would have been fun to know about but the way that they're introduced takes all of the enjoyment out of them I just don't understand what Morgan was trying to do with this book And if there is going to be another book in the series I won't be reading it he's lost me on his fantasy books I'm terribly disappointed to say it I've been a huge fan of his but I just don't want to waste my time on these books any

  9. says:

    I enjoyed The Dark Defiles It was a big improvement on The Cold Commands but still not as good Steel Remains I'll certainly be looking to read from Richard Morgan as I do like his style of writing How I rate his books depends on how successfully he delivers ituhhhobvs 375 stars

  10. says:

    Final? novel in RKM's fantasy trilogy The trilogy as a whole has some nice features each novel tells a complete story and can be read stand alone though they do form a complete narrative arc across the trilogy as well The trilogy is appropriately grim dark for this particular age of fantasy; the heroes aren't actually the monsters and mythology are menacing and interesting and the violence is uite gritty Two of the series's three main protagonists are gay and the graphic depictions of sex in the novels respect this ratio The action is unrelenting and the books are entertainingHere's the thing though Perhaps some of Morgan's project is going over my head but this all feels like ground that is already well trod and somewhat tired at this point You have a dark anti hero cynical ruminations about the dark side of human nature uests that turn out to be futile destinies that are actually mockery a distinct lack of identifiable morality and motivations that run the gamut from selfishness to revenge to malice to pure wanton destructiveness In other words the same themes that have been explored by Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson and R Scott Bakker and of course George RR Martin etc etc over the last decade or so Ringil the main protagonist of Morgan's trilogy is monstrous But so are Caul Shivers and Karsa Orlong and Anasurimbor Kellhus and Daenerys Targaryen I don't notice any particularly new insights from Morgan's characters along these lines Erikson has an environmental and historical vision that eclipses Morgan's Abercrombie's The Heroes and Red Country are far better meditations on war and colonialism than Morgan's Bakker's ruminations on politics and religion and the human psyche outmatch Morgan and Martin draws better characters Morgan just doesn't seem to be saying anything new And he relies too often on deus ex machina rescues than once the gods actually show up and stop time to get characters out of pickles world building through exposition and liberal use of New Powers As the Plot Demands Ringil is an especially egregious example of this trope though Archeth also is a beneficiaryAll that said Morgan has constructed an interesting world here with a potentially fascinating history which he unfortunately explores only through dribs and drabs except for a vague and unsatisfying few paragraphs of exposition near the very end The Helmsmen the Margins Hjel the Kiriath the Scaled Folk the Talons of the Sun the Dark Court and their relationship to the Bookkeepers are all fantastic concepts a rich tapestry of imaginative ideas populating a well drawn world

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