My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There is a lot of edgy sex in this book, not unusual for a Richard K. Morgan book. Gritty unapologetic bluntness is his signature. The twist here is the protagonist is gay. So if that bothers you, then this may not be the book for you. If like me, sex is sex and it doesn't bother you - well this still probably isn't the book for you.
I loved the hardboiled, neo-noir, cyberpunk grittiness of his SF Takeshi Kovacs trilogy Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies but his first foray into gritty, violent, fantasy falls flat. This book doesn't stick with you for long and the lack-luster protagonist and meandering plot in no way makes me want to read any future books in the series.
This isn't, as some of the cover blurbs and reviews I've read claimed, "reinventing the genre". This sure isn't Joe Abercrombie, George R.R. Martin, Steven Erickson or Brandon Sanderson. The closest approximation I can make to The Steel Remains is Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. Butcher is also a writer best known for his SF/Urban Paranormal series but decided to branch into Fantasy with his own series. They are, in my opinon, not as good as his Dresden series, but far better than the opening chapter of A Land Fit For Heroes series.
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