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Jennifer's Blog

I am a writer of science fiction and fantasy and also an avid reader of (mostly) the same. Expect to see reviews from me of speculative fiction books from well known and less well known authors. (Many of my reviews WILL be cross posted from Goodreads).

The Dark Defiles

The Dark Defiles - Richard K. Morgan If you like George R.R. Martin, you're clearly Morgan's target audience here. (Note that I'm covering the entire trilogy here, rather than writing separate reviews).

Land Fit For Heroes has the same moral ambiguity and even more grit.

It also has a high level of genre ambiguity. Although it's marketed as high fantasy and definitely wears a high fantasy outfit, the underpinnings of the world seem entirely too science fictional. I was even left wondering if the world was actually a simulation and the "gods" the users.

Now, I happen to like genre ambiguity, but to some people it might read as if Morgan tried desperately to write high fantasy because it's hot and kept drifting back to his cyberpunk roots.

Despite that, the worldbuilding is excellent. The standard tropes of fantasy are nicely subverted (not that I don't sometimes enjoy a D&D type book, but that isn't what this one is). This is definitely a dark story. There are no good guys and no heroes - which is probably why the series itself is titled as it is. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of both grimdark fantasy and truly bizarre science fiction. The trilogy can easily be read as either. (Are those demons or AIs? Are they both?)

One caveat: This book is definitely suited to a mature audience - there's some fairly detailed m/m sex in it, some somewhat less detailed f/f, and a lot of talk about sex. And a lot of bad language. And a certain slur aimed at gay people is used a lot. Morgan uses the words his characters would use with no regard for how offensive they might be. Many people will be fine with that, but if you find either form of the f word on every other page uncomfortable, or if you're triggered by some pretty extreme homophobia (usually aimed at the very, very gay MC)...then you might want to stay away. This one pulls no punches.