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Author Topic: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25  (Read 7502 times)

Offline Arry

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The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« on: October 17, 2013, 05:54:33 PM »
I didn't have a computer when I was reading this book, so no notes this time. I might be able to add some comments later if I have time to go through the book. But in case I don't manage to do that, I wanted to go ahead and open the discussion.

what are people thinking at this point? For those of you that were complaining about plot/slowness, has it gotten any better?
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 08:46:50 PM »
Well when we get chapters devoted to them, Archeth and Egar's plotlines move along at a nice pace.  Archeth has solved the mystery through some fine detection skills, and just needs to prove her hypothesis, but other forces are undermining her.  Egar is safe, but now owes a blood debt to a god.  All very exciting.  But it's Ringil we spend time with, and he's now wandering the grey netherworld, losing his mind (shades of Wise Man's Fears anyone? - though at least being in the Netherworld inflicts a toll upon him, unlike Mr. Damn Perfect Kvothe.)  We got a rather graphic sex scene.  Was it rape?  And we have finally met the dwendas. 

I really really wanted this to be classic, and I know Jared loves Richard Morgan and usually has exquisite taste, but this really feels like grimdark for the sake of being grimdark.  Maybe I should try his Sci Fi?
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Offline ladygreen

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 09:11:31 PM »
It has become very difficult to finish this book.  Case in point: I fell asleep at 9am last night, reading.  Not only is the prose dense enough to knock me unconscious, I don’t agree that the plot has picked up enough at all.  And I don’t care enough about the characters to cheer them on. 

Yeah, stuff happened in these chapters.  Dwenda – not very intriguing creatures with a not so original reason for wanting to take over the world (we were here first, dammit!).  Alien/Human sex – don’t get why Ringil and Seethsaw can’t keep their paws off each other.  Slight plot acceleration - Ringil found his cousin, a drug induced sleep deprived Archeth figured stuff out, and Egar was saved by ghostly grass men.  Hurraaayyy…  Now what?  Another 100 pages?  Even if the ending is absolutely stunning and knocks me over with some spectacular twist, I don’t think it will compensate for the rest of the book.  Bummer. 

Is his other work better than this?  His Sci-fi? I worry because a writer’s ability to plot, pace and write in their authentic style shouldn’t (you would expect) change from one genre to the other.  And I didn’t like any of it.  Maybe he just had fun with this book and didn’t take it seriously.

I will finish, though.  Just for the book club. 

Offline ladygreen

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 09:19:24 PM »
All very exciting.  But it's Ringil we spend time with, and he's now wandering the grey netherworld, losing his mind (shades of Wise Man's Fears anyone? - though at least being in the Netherworld inflicts a toll upon him, unlike Mr. Damn Perfect Kvothe.) 

Also was thinking of Kvothe while reading this.  But the dwenda isn't quite as intriguing as Kvothe's captor.

Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 11:15:05 PM »
In response to ladygreen and Gariath about his SciFi. I've only read Altered Carbon, but I will say it had a very different feel to it than this. It wasn't so dark or graphic. I also don't remember enjoying the prose. It was just a fun read with a cool concept as the base of it. BUT ..... it did have plot and pace issues. I actually think The Steel Remains has less issues in that regard than Altered Carbon. I'm not sure if there is anyone reading this that also participated in the Altered Carbon book club read, if so, maybe they can pitch in their opinion. I think I enjoyed The Steel Remains a bit more than it sounds like either of you are, so it could be that I was into it enough that I wasn't as bothered by issues with plot. I don't know.


We got a rather graphic sex scene.  Was it rape?
I kinda think he enjoyed it too much and participated too much for it to be rape. And he certainly didn't hesitate to look for more in the future. I guess maybe there could be an argument that he was glamoured into it by the dwenda. But, I don't know. Just didn't seem that way to me. The only rape I remember in this book was during "initiation".
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Offline Noona

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2013, 08:18:26 AM »
I really shouldn't read book club threads for books I really like, haha (I read this a couple of years ago and loved it). Oh well, we'll see what people think by the end - I did think this one might be a bit divisive!

Re the grimdark for the sake of grimdark thing - Morgan describes it as fantasy noir, and he came from a SF background, so, from what I understand, it isn't influenced by any other contemporary fantasy. Which is interesting as to why separate authors decided to write in a similar dark theme at the same time, but that's a topic for another day!

I'm not here to defend the book, even though I loved it, but I will say that I read it with no previous knowledge of what it was about - I think that the current blurb gives the impression that this is a typical (if grim-style) epic fantasy novel, and I don't think it is really - I don't know if my lack of expectations let me enjoy it more perhaps.

Anyway, I'll be interested to see if some opinions change by the end. :-)

Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2013, 10:55:21 AM »
I really shouldn't read book club threads for books I really like, haha (I read this a couple of yearp t be a bit divisive!

I loved it and didn't find it "dark for the sake of dark". I did think it was a bit slow in some and agree, when I read it, I knew it would be divisive. Makes for interesting discussions that way, though. :)
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Offline AnneLyle

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2013, 11:24:34 AM »
I enjoyed it too (apart from the really grim bits) but then I'm not a fan of cookie-cutter epic fantasy so I loved that this one broke the mould.

(Apologies for the mixed metaphors...)
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Offline DBASKLS

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2013, 12:35:55 PM »
I'm not a fan of cookie-cutter epic fantasy

You'll have to explain that one Anne!  ;)

Anyway my thoughts on this next chunk are similar to others. I'm finding it hard going. Although I do think the plot has picked up a bit and we are getting some interesting things happening now, insanity if you stay in the dwenda in-between world too long and Archeth's story has got interesting. I do feel that there has to be something massive in the next part to make it all worth while though!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 03:50:16 PM by DBASKLS »
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Offline Noona

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2013, 08:36:57 PM »
I think you're right Arry, divisive is good (so long as I'm not the only fan!)

Offline Idlewilder

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2013, 01:41:28 PM »
Not really enjoying this; finding it really quite dull and directionless. Bit of an up in the pace with this week's section, but only really in the sense that the first half of the book was almost eventless. I'm becoming less and less interested in Ringil's storyline, and find that his character is becoming passive to the point of frustration. The way the flashbacks are interweaved is very confusing (this may be the way the audiobook does it, I'm not sure as obviously I can't see scene breaks on the page) and the more I listen the more I find I'm just listening to get to the end than anything else.

Archeth's storyline is the most interesting of the three for me at this stage, and I definitely quite enjoy the scenes involving the emperor. Egar, though, I just don't even know what the point of his...plotline...is. He's barely been in it and when he is I just find myself mostly glazing over.

I wouldn't say it's grim for the sake of being grim (not quite anyway). The tone is less overtly bleak than...say Abercrombie's books. The grimness comes out of the character's situations, rather than the world. (Whereas Abercrombie's is mostly out of every aspect of the novels) But what does differentiate it for me from other dark epic fantasy novels is its almost complete lack of humour - something I feel like it needs. I'm finding it very serious and staunch (something I'm quite surprised by, given my expectations). Even A Song of Ice and Fire can be pretty hilarious at times. The Steel Remains has its moments, but mostly it's just a bit dull and either trying too hard, or not hard enough. I really can't decide.  ???
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Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2013, 03:54:26 PM »
But what does differentiate it for me from other dark epic fantasy novels is its almost complete lack of humour - something I feel like it needs. I'm finding it very serious and staunch (something I'm quite surprised by, given my expectations). Even A Song of Ice and Fire can be pretty hilarious at times. The Steel Remains has its moments, but mostly it's just a bit dull and either trying too hard, or not hard enough. I really can't decide.  ???

Interesting, I have said I think that is why Abercrombie's  and especially Mark Lawrence's books work so well. And I cited it as a reason why The Book of the New Sun did not work for me. But here? There was enough to get me through. And to enjoy. I actually found Ringil to be funny. It was subtle, more subtle than Abercrombie or Lawrence, but I'm pretty sure there was humor there. Maybe I'm a bit warped. Maybe I mis-remember. But I do think he amused me.

Anyway, I will say, if you don't enjoy Ringil, I can't imagine you liking the book. It is slow in pace and plot, but for me it worked.

It's always interesting to see how different some readers respond. Especially readers with similar taste.
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Offline Effing_Rainbow

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2013, 04:20:30 PM »
I'm one of the ones having trouble staying interested by this point, I'm afraid. It has some interesting points, and I like Egar well enough, but the pacing here is terrible and there's just not enough to keep my attention steady.

I'm having serious doubts about whether or not I'll be able to finish, though to be fair a big part of the reason is that I've also got a handful of other books on the go that I'm looking forward to/enjoying much more...

Offline Arry

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 02:11:47 PM »
I'm one of the ones having trouble staying interested by this point, I'm afraid. It has some interesting points, and I like Egar well enough, but the pacing here is terrible and there's just not enough to keep my attention steady.

I'm having serious doubts about whether or not I'll be able to finish, though to be fair a big part of the reason is that I've also got a handful of other books on the go that I'm looking forward to/enjoying much more...

That's understandable. If you're half way through a book and not into it and have other things you are enjoying and anxious to read, it just doesn't always make sense to finish.  :-\ Reading is supposed to be fun/enjoyable, not a chore.  :D
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Offline Fellshot

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Re: The Steel Remains Week 3: Chapters 18 - 25
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 05:19:39 PM »
I've actually gotten bored enough that I've started skipping ahead to see if it got better... and it didn't. Archeth gets the most respect from me for using her brain, having a sense of propriety and loyalty, and not letting her libido get the best of her (which is a pretty low bar IMO).

The Aldrain can take over though That was the biggest disappointment in narrative potential ever. I really wanted an alien intelligence that was creepy and scary and if not awesome then at least awesomely terrible... and it hasn't materialized. It's just bland. I've been substituting most of the untranslated dialog between Seethlaw and Risgillen with Risgillen asking why Seethlaw is bedding his pet again and can they please get back to their infiltration and takeover now.

I can't seem to care if anything happens to the vast majority of these characters. Back to the library this book goes.