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Author Topic: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8  (Read 9407 times)

Offline Arry

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The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« on: October 02, 2013, 10:50:19 PM »

My biggest reaction so far? I *really* like Ringil. I won’t be surprised if some people disagree, but I really enjoy his crass, irreverent attitude and the humor that comes with it.

So, it seems we have 3 main characters so far. I have to confess to losing some interest in the beginning of both Egar and Archeth’s chapters. But I eventually came around. I am hoping that as the book progresses, I won’t have that problem any more. I couldn’t decide if it was the way the details were being presented (something about the writing style) or just my mood, or just the fact that I really like Ringil, so was disappointed to get to another characters chapter.

There’s some interesting creatures in this one. Curious to how they will play out. We had the giant maggot thing (mites) that eat dead people and can actually enter their bodies and control them, turning them into virtual zombies. The ghostly creatures that were described in Archeth’s chapter that can’t be killed with arrows or anything else (that they know of so far). Also the “steppe ghouls” or “runners” in Egar’s chapter.

Also have to comment on the insane shaman in Egar’s chapter. His treatment of the grieving mother (and her “female noisemaking”) was just insane. Egar gained my full attention with his reaction. Still interested to find out more of why he is labeled Dragonbane (and it is used as a title “The Dragonbane”, exactly what does it mean, how did he earn it … obvious guess is killing the dragons that were mentioned somewhere else in this chapter, but still curious) and why he is the  clanmaster, what all does that entail.
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Offline CallMeIshmael

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 02:40:35 AM »
I'm only half way through the current "assignment" (finished with ch. 4), so I acknowledge from the outset that my insight and opinions are likely shortsighted.

In some ways I'm the opposite about Ringil. I feel like Egar and Archeth have more atypical and interesting storylines after only reading a single chapter apiece, to the point that I regret the extended time dedicated to Gil at this point. I don't hate Gil, but his voice isn't as entertaining to me. I'll try to keep an open mind about him. I remark while I'm on the topic of voice that I enjoy Morgan's prose. I haven't read him before, and though his prose is dense, I enjoy his precise word choice and elevated vocabulary. Simultaneously, I could easily imagine this aspect to frustrate some readers. Style can be a make-or-break factor for me (it was enough for me put down Grant's Feed recently). His writing is heavy and requires dedicated consciousness.

I'm interested in the theme that was introduced in Ch. 1 of allowances being made for the famous, "Heroic status in Gallows Water, it seems, includes a special dispensation not available to the average citizen in these righteous times". I hope this idea is further explored and complicated as the novel continues.

And perhaps this is the wrong thread for conjectures, but is it a coincidence that both the corpse mites and the steppe ghouls are white? (They were, weren't they?) Or could this point so a shared ancestry of sorts?

Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 03:40:25 PM »
I'm only half way through the current "assignment" (finished with ch. 4), so I acknowledge from the outset that my insight and opinions are likely shortsighted.
No problem at all. the only risk with posting early is possibly seeing spoilers from other users. But you are always welcome to come post some comments/thoughts at any point in the reading.

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In some ways I'm the opposite about Ringil. I feel like Egar and Archeth have more atypical and interesting storylines after only reading a single chapter apiece, to the point that I regret the extended time dedicated to Gil at this point. I don't hate Gil, but his voice isn't as entertaining to me. I'll try to keep an open mind about him.
I have been looking forward to the discussion for this one, because I can see variance of opinions on him. Always interesting to see how different readers react to the same characters. :)

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I remark while I'm on the topic of voice that I enjoy Morgan's prose. I haven't read him before, and though his prose is dense, I enjoy his precise word choice and elevated vocabulary. Simultaneously, I could easily imagine this aspect to frustrate some readers. Style can be a make-or-break factor for me (it was enough for me put down Grant's Feed recently). His writing is heavy and requires dedicated consciousness.
I read Altered Carbon. I think it felt different to me. I don't know if it's just that I can't look past the difference in genre/setting or if there is actually a different feel to it. Hoping some others that read it will be able to comment on what they think.

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I'm interested in the theme that was introduced in Ch. 1 of allowances being made for the famous, "Heroic status in Gallows Water, it seems, includes a special dispensation not available to the average citizen in these righteous times". I hope this idea is further explored and complicated as the novel continues.
Yeah, they have hinted at heroic history/status for both Ringil and Egar. Curious to get a bit more background on it. Seems they saved the world from dragons or something.

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And perhaps this is the wrong thread for conjectures, but is it a coincidence that both the corpse mites and the steppe ghouls are white? (They were, weren't they?) Or could this point so a shared ancestry of sorts?
Pretty sure the corpse mites were grey ... I'd have to go back and look.
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2013, 10:10:18 PM »
I have cleared the first quarter.  Initial observations - a really interesting book that is superbly written with well sketched out characters.  As a reader though I feel I have been dumped into a story halfway through.  I am not criticizing, I have been quite critical in the past of some stories feeling the need to have drawn out origin stories for every single character (ahem Peter V Brett ahem), but it is quite heady and means you have to work that much harder as a reader to get your bearings. 

The War with the Lizard Men and the battle they keep referring to at Gallows Water was obviously a very traumatic experience for all those involved, and it feels almost Deer Hunter esque in having a group of characters that simply can't re assimilate into everyday society as they have been so dramatically changed by their experiences.  Ringil has deliberately renounced upper class society and instead slums it in a back water.  I know that this is also due to his homosexuality, but that almost feels like an excuse.  I have got the impression that he could have maintained the illicit life in high society secretly, but that he would rather spit in the face of his father and the pampered nobles. 

Egar feels frustrated by his return to being a Nomad.  He has lived in a more cultured society and now feels bored and frustrated by his life.  Archeth is intriguing as well, clearly an intelligent lady, where is she serving such a horrible depot?   
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Offline ladygreen

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 05:35:09 PM »
Just finished chapter 8!  Initial reactions…

I had my doubts after Chapter 1’s slashing and hacking opening.  I was a bit nervous in terms of depth and writing style – if I am going to read a book, I want to enjoy the writing as much as the story.  A few chapters in and I thankfully came to appreciate Morgan’s writing style.  Specifically I am impressed with his ability to break down emotions in very descriptive and vivid ways.  It makes for a very intellectual reading experience.  That being said – I appreciate it, I don’t think I love it.  The consistent breakdown of thought, emotion and descriptions of physical space make for a bit of a heavy read.  This is my personal taste though - my reaction is partially due to the fact that I have been reading this prior to going to bed each night, when my mind is not exactly fresh and rearing to go.

I do like that we are placed in a time after something significant has happened – “the great lizard war of ’53,” as I’ve come to call it.  It takes some dedicated attention to start piecing together what happened, and I am waiting to learn more about the relationship of the three main characters beyond the fact that they fought together.  Not sure if that will be covered in this book, but the back history is intriguing.

Ringil’s character has the most dedicated text thus far, but I am curious about how Egar and Archeth will emerge.  Archeth is drawing me in the most right now, possibly because of the juxtaposition of military coarseness and strength against a female character.  There are plenty of strong female protagonists out there, but she truly brings forth that military roughness and vulgarity that I usually only see with male characters.  Also, of the three, I think her “moral compass” comes through the strongest.  Perhaps because her interaction with the slave girl was well written and showed me her sense of morality vs. told me through some internal dialogue.  Same with Egar and the grieving mother.  Ringil strikes me as angry, angry, angry.  I want to see more dimensions.

Love the world building so far.  Tell me – is the “band” the moon?  I am visualizing it as a future moon that has been broken in to bits, still emitting moonlight – i.e. “bandlight.”

Offline DBASKLS

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 05:04:29 PM »
Interesting reading what others have said. I don't feel I've settled into this book yet. It's not completely grabbed me, probably because we've been meeting three main characters and flitting between them. However, there seems to be plenty to be getting on with, what with all the monsters and all! I hope this develops into a good book because it certainly has the potential.
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Offline Effing_Rainbow

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 11:49:02 AM »
I blogged on my thoughts, and will have more up soon. This is more or less me taking notes as I went, so what's here is a bit unfiltered, but generally, I am intrigued and should enjoy continuing on ...

http://overtheeffingrainbow.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/book-club-steel-remains-by-richard.html

Offline Idlewilder

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 09:58:01 AM »
I wouldn't say we've been dumped into a story halfway through so much as it's already happened and this is the 10 YEARS LATER... moment.

So far I'm struggling with this a bit, I have to be honest. There's no sense that a PLOT might rear its head (8 chapters in) and each of the 3 threads feel only loosely connected. I'm enjoying Ringil's storyline A LOT more than the other two, if only because I have no real idea what the point of the other two is yet. Ringil has kinda sorta got a plot going on with the cousin thing, but it's not exactly gripping and even he doesn't seem to be all that into it.

I like that it's got something to say, and it seems to be a fairly...progressive...take on a fantasy world, but something really needs to happen soon because as of now it seems fairly aimless. Morgan's writing seems pretty good (I'm listening on audio so I have a slightly different perspective) and I think he has a really interesting world, with some very creative creature/monster creation going on.

I've read plenty of epic fantasy where it can take (let's be honest) 100s of pages for the plot to kick off, but there's something worrying about a book being less than 400 pages, being a quarter in, and essentially nothing's really happened.
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2013, 08:21:08 PM »
The book is the first in a trilogy, and I am a lot further on, and the plot is beginning to reveal itself, but it's rather slow.  :)  Actually reminds me a bit of Mark Charan Newton's Legends of the Red Sun in terms of what the plot actually is.
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Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2013, 11:50:52 PM »
I'll be short.

I find Ringil interesting. I think I've finally warmed to him, but Egar and Archeth are nothing right now. Egar is what I would call the stereotypical barbarian, to which I dislike, and Archeth could've been snarky to the Emperor, but failed to do more than I wished. The other disappointment (besides the SLOW plot) is the lack of depth I feel. This is probably because I'm listening to the audiobook, but I don't feel the sort of thousand year feel I get when reading Mark Charan Newton's first quartet. Again, this is probably because I'm listening to it and not letting my mind set for a few minutes to stare at the words and let my mind wander.

The first chapter was brilliant: atmospheric, fun, and nicely shows off Ringil. Corpsemites sold me for the book. But Chapter 2 goes on to cuss ever other sentence, but show the futility of battle on the steps. Archeth's...meh.

Morgan's writing is phenomenal, though. Just wish there was a little more plot to coincide with the prose.
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Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2013, 05:19:43 PM »
Corpsemites sold me for the book.

I kinda wish we could have Corpsemites as a user level. Like, instead of new users being Peasants, they could be the much cooler Corpsemites.
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Offline Fellshot

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 12:59:59 AM »
After reading the first 8 chapters I don't think I can take the book seriously in any way, shape, or form. It reminds me of the Evil Dead in its levels of awfulness and Ringil as a character improved as soon as I started thinking his lines in Bruce Campbell's voice (if only because Bruce Campbell makes everything better). The next time Egan shows up, I will think his lines in Kevin Sorbo's voice and see if that helps because if one is going to go for Evil Dead levels of hilarious awful you might as well go for the whole cheesy sandwich.

It seems like a plot where the main character has the motivation of a kicked turnip and the only person who gives a crap about anyone is Ishil (who I doubt will get as much story time as I would like). It's weird that Ringil looks like the main character when at least Egan has a tribe to look after and Archeth has some lingering loyalty code and a "What the heck happened here?" to prod them in the motivation department.

Between the corpsemites and the Aldrain, I am looking forwards to the monsters... Although there probably won't be any boom-stick or chainsaw action going on.  ::)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 08:40:13 PM »
I want to be annoyed with Fellshoot for attacking yet another Book Club' book, but she is actually right here, and the Evil Dead comparisons would be apt if the book actually had more of a sense of humour, rather than simply being grim for the sake of being grim. 

Richard Morgan is definitely a talented writer, and there are times when I find myself really enjoying the prose, but overall, as others keep asking, "WHERE IS THE PLOT?" and why is it quite so bloody nihilistic? 
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2013, 01:39:24 PM »
I want to be annoyed with Fellshoot for attacking yet another Book Club' book, but she is actually right here, and the Evil Dead comparisons would be apt if the book actually had more of a sense of humour, rather than simply being grim for the sake of being grim. 

Richard Morgan is definitely a talented writer, and there are times when I find myself really enjoying the prose, but overall, as others keep asking, "WHERE IS THE PLOT?" and why is it quite so bloody nihilistic?

It's pretty hard going.  :-\
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Offline Jeni

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 1: Chapters 1 - 8
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2013, 12:48:44 AM »
Just finished this section.

My thoughts so far pretty much echo everyone elses, and I'm enjoying it. Of the three main characters the one that interests me the most at the moment is Archeth, the other two are somewhat generic and I'm hoping their (eventual) story arcs will either give them more individuality or be good enough to make me not mind.

Bandlight.... I fleetingly wondered if this was set on a ringed planet - one which rolls rather than spins ... ??