rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was my first experience with Richard Morgan, so I have nothing else to compare it to. Reading some of the other reviews on GoodReads, I see that many people prefer his straight Science Fiction works to his new Fantasy series.
I thought this was an excellent book. It started with action, and it rarely let up. Yet, it was had complex plotting, intrigue, and the most realistic characters I've seen in a book in a long time. All of the characters in this book, even the characters you see just briefly, are multi faceted. If there are "plot device" characters in this novel, I certainly couldn't pick them out. They were well integrated into the story, not just devices stuck in to move plot points along. The main and secondary characters showed a depth that, frankly, has been missing in fantasy fiction of late. The relationships between the characters was complex, each of the three main characters having lives that were not easily described. All of them had faults, some big some little, and all of those faults weren't neatly tied up when it became time for them to become heroes again. They continued to be faulty characters who rose to the occasion. Isn't that just the way of people?
The one thing I would change about this book is the beating me over the head with the homophobia of the general populace. I get it. Ringil is gay and the peoples don't like it. Honestly, his being gay is not the most interesting thing about him, or the book. Bigotry happens. Archeth faced it too. Egar's situation was much more interesting as the bigotry towards him was about ideas (him having them instead of sticking with traditions) instead of physical attributes. I just thought it was overdone. But, if that is the biggest problem with this book, that isn't much of a problem at all.
The book is action filled and thought provoking and complex. If Fantasy novels are your thing and you don't object to violence or sexual situations, this is the book for you. But, it is violent, so be warned. Definitely an adult book, not for the kiddies.
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