3 Following

are you going to finish that?

The Steel Remains - Richard K. Morgan DNF, haven't had one of these in a while.[tw: sexual abuse]Much as I appreciate the fact that lgbtq themes are creeping their way into genres and audiences traditionally closed to them, this just isn't a good book. Try as I might, I can't find anything in it plot-wise that would set it apart from dozens of other attempts at gritty heroic fantasy.For all the fancy names, the worldbuilding is mind-blowingly lazy, especially in the sociopolitical aspect. Here we have implications of past black slavery. Here, an inquisition-esque institution devoted to guarding the heteronormative status quo. But of course nothing says gritty and original like the systematic, institutionalised abuse of women: women as prostitutes, women as slaves, women 'given' to their husbands as preteens. It's stale, it's lazy, it's problematic as fuck.The characters are no better. Our hero, a battle-weary high-born swordsman disillusioned with the ways of the world, faces - or will eventually face - a truly astounding ensemble of cartoon villains which includes:a) an evil, sadistic, power-hungry emperor;b) an evil, sadistic, power-hungry priest;c) a seemingly unkillable legendary creature;d) the ghosts of his past.(And how do you establish a villain as evil and sadistic? Through gratuitous sexual abuse, of course.)Some of these may conceivably be dealt with by his friends: a noble barbarian, and the only woman who's a character in her own right. The latter also happens to be the only marginally compelling character in this book, though not enough so to keep me reading....As for the lgbtq issues, there's representation and then there are jokes about lubricated anuses shoehorned into the hero's completely unrelated conversations with his mother.Next, please.