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Review: The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan


The Dark Defiles
Author:  Richard K. Morgan
Series:  A Land Fit for Heroes 3
Publisher:  Del Rey, October 7, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 656 pages
List Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780345493101 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher
To be published by Gollancz in the United Kingdom, November 20, 2014

Review: The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan
Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold meets George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones in the final novel in Richard K. Morgan’s epic A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy, which burst onto the fantasy scene with The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands.

Ringil Eskiath, a reluctant hero viewed as a corrupt degenerate by the very people who demand his help, has traveled far in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a deathless human sorcerer-warrior raised by the bloodthirsty Aldrain, former rulers of the world. Separated from his companions—Egar the Dragonbane and Archeth—Ringil risks his soul to master a deadly magic that alone can challenge the might of the Changeling. While Archeth and the Dragonbane embark on a trail of blood and tears that ends up exposing long-buried secrets, Ringil finds himself tested as never before, with his life and all existence hanging in the balance.


Melanie's Thoughts

The Dark Defiles is the long awaited final book of the Land Fit for Heroes trilogy by Richard K Morgan. It has been four years since the last book The Cold Commands was released and it took me a few chapters to get completely back into the dark fantasy world that Morgan has created. The story starts not long after the end of book 2 with Ringil, Egar and Archeth hunting for some artifacts that will help them defeat the dwenda. The trio get separated during an attack by fleet of soldiers looking to capture Ringil. Egar and Archeth continue their search together while Ringil heads off on his own to find a way to defeat the dwenda. Battles between men, monsters and gods is probably the most efficient way of explaining this final instalment of the trilogy.

The Dark Defiles in epic in every sense of the word and it would take too long to explain every twist and turn that Morgan takes the reader through. While I think that Morgan is extremely talented with a wonderfully rich and powerful imagination, I believe that he let his characters run wild in this book. I absolutely adored book 1 - The Steel Remains and thought The Cold Commands dragged a little but book 3 was one of the hardest books for me to finish. I was really engaged with the characters for the first few chapters but almost found myself skipping pages until the final third of the book where it felt like the momentum of the story started to kick back in.  It was this middle part of the book where Morgan exposed the reader to one too many Ringil related sub-plots. He was an excellent character but it felt like Morgan was trying to wrap up every small thread and remind the reader of every antagonist that Ringil ever came across through all of the books. While in contrast more questions were raised for me about Archeth, her people and the Warhelm. Where did ultimately come from, how have they survived and do they have an agenda? Archeth and Egar were a great team as of companions as they were so different and I was more engaged in the chapters that followed their journey.  The book however, was overall far too long. I am not afraid of a long book but there needs to be some balance between characterization and action in order to keep my attention throughout.

I do feel satisfied with how Morgan has ended this trilogy even though it was sad and the epilogue disturbing. I believe he was true to his characters throughout and especially at the end. I was a tiny bit confused about the very final scenes so if someone would like to explain that I would be greatly appreciative. This is not a series for people that are sensitive to extreme violence, lots of sex and three anti-heroes. I am very conflicted on whether to recommend this series as I think this final book let the entire series down. This is also contradictory to many of the other reviews you may read. Had Morgan resisted the temptation to pad about two thirds of the book I think I would have been more enthusiastic about recommending it to others. I can't fault his ability to craft some seriously imaginative dark fantasy but wish he heeded the 'less is more' adage.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014


Happy Bank Holiday weekend to anyone who like me lives in the UK. I am looking forward to the extra day off work. I am hoping that the weather cooperates so that I can enjoy some reading time outside. It is the UK though so highly unlikely I will get to. While I was able to get through a few more books this week I have to admit that I didn't enjoy all the books I read. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014
I haven't felt particularly productive lately so decided to go for some PNR. I started Dannika Dark's Seven series a few months ago and I discovered book 3 - Five Weeks had been released. In this instalment the love birds Izzy the drifter wolf and new waitress in town and the former rock star Jericho are reunited several years after their friendship ended in disaster. Needless to say the sparks start to fly the moment they come face to face for the first time. Love is never straightforward as misunderstanding and misdirection almost keep the pair apart. This is a HEA series though so no guesses what happens at the end.

While I liked the first book of the series - Seven Years and didn't mind book 2  - Six Months I did not enjoy book 3. I am struggling to find anything to recommend it. I found Izzy to be completely and utterly shallow. She spends more time worry how much to wiggle her hot pants and wink at the customers in the shifter bar she now works in than she does that her boyfriend is a human trafficking, drug dealer. Jericho is pretty bland for a former rock star that destroyed his friendship with Izzy years before with his drug and sex addiction. The action all happens in the first third of the book which made reading the rest of it more of a struggle. I don't like writing a negative review as I can usually find something positive to say about a book even though I may not have enjoyed it. Unfortunately, for Five Weeks this is too difficult.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014Clap your hands everyone as I managed to finish The Dark Defiles by Richard K Morgan. This book has taken me WEEKS to read. I was almost hysterical that I wasn't going to get it finished but at last I did it. I will be writing a full review of this book so I don't want to say too much. What I can say though is that Morgan must have invented the word epic as this book puts to the 'e' in epic.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014I was having a quick look on NetGalley for something to finish off my week. I came across Unborn by Amber Lynn Natusch. Luckily for me this was a quick read as I very nearly put this book on my DNF shelf. This is the first in the Unborn series. Khara has been ripped from the loving arms of her father Hades in the Underworld and ends up on the harsh streets of Detroit. She was fortunate to be rescued by her brothers who just happen to be a band of super tough guardians who keep the supernatural world in balance. Khara wants nothing more than to go back to her father but there is someone who is determined that she isn't going to get there. It's all up to her undiscovered powers and her new family to keep her from harm.

While I think Izzy from Five Weeks is shallow, the heroine Khara from Unborn is so one dimensional she is like a cardboard cut out. She is completely without emotion and contributed very little to the plot other than to almost get her new family killed several times. Her new brothers are fairly stereotypical - there is a super tough one, a super smart one, a friendly one and of course a bad boy. Again, I have tried to find something positive to say but I am at a loss apart from the cover which is is what drew me to this book in the first place.

That's it for me. I have my fingers crossed that I have a more successful week next week and find books that I enjoy. Until then Happy Reading


Review: The Dark Defiles by Richard MorganMelanie's Week in Review - August 24, 2014

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