Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dead Man's Steel

Dead Man's Steel is a good, satisfying conclusion the Grim Company trilogy.  We get complete character arcs for most of the key characters, and resolution of most of the conflict and drama set up in the first two books.  This is a rough world, and one can't expect everything to resolve in happy ending fashion.  Nevertheless, conclusion was fitting, appropriate, and compelling.

The book takes some significant risks.  We finally get to see the Fehd in their full glory, and it turns out that they come with a notable sci-fi slant to them that puts them at odds (intentionally) with the rest of this swords-and-sorcery universe.  Several of the seemingly-insurmountable foes go down relatively quickly, setting the stage of other, arguably even greater conflict as the book goes on.  When the dust settles, the author's playground will have permanently changed.

I think there were a few places where the book didn't hold together quite as well as Sword of the North.  We repeatedly get to re-live the various characters' astonishment at the technology of the Fehd, to a degree that seemed overplayed.  And as the disparate characters all converge together into one party fairly late in the novel, we can almost see the author's glee, but it results in some moments that were a bit too campy for my tastes.  Nevertheless, what I keep coming back to is how deeply satisfying it was to see virtually all of the many plot threads from the first two books run to their conclusion here, with innumerable unexpected twists and turns along the way.  It was a terrific series, with characters that I came to genuinely care about, despite their many warts.  I look forward to reading more from the author in this and other worlds.

4 out of 5 stars.

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