Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Dead Man's Steel

Dead Man's Steel by Luke Scull
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This was an enjoyable conclusion to the trilogy. It maintained the same style shown throughout the series, though with the humour dialled back somewhat.

The writing, especially in the early chapters, felt as if it had stepped up a notch. The cast remains large but they spend a lot of time together in groups that then merge to one big group.

Davarius Cole and Brodar Kayne remain the twin foci of the story. Davarius continues to be a bit of a Two-Face, brooding and tragic one moment, flip and shallow the next. Sometimes the contrast comes off, sometimes it feels a bit fractured, but it's a valid portrayal of someone who shows one persona to the world and has another for more private moments. Where it can fall short is when Davarius seems to genuinely believe in both worldviews.

Kayne is more straight forward and my only gripe with him is a personal one. As a man in his early 50s it was a little grating to read that Kayne is an old man of 50, he has bad eyes, bad knees, bad waterworks, a multitude of general aches and pains, AND a failing heart! And whilst this doesn't manage to stop him heroing at the top level, and whilst I recognise it's a low tech world of poor nutrition etc ... dammit, 50 is not THAT old!

The fehd/fade feature very heavily in this book, creating the core of the plot. They're an interesting addition, bringing guns to a knife fight, and bombs to a magic fight.

One small piece that heartened me was that a relationship that had struck me in previous books as very hard to believe in and feeling fake ... was in fact fake!

Anyway, the book covers a lot of ground. We see dragons chasing aircraft, demons galore, nasty humans torturing less nasty humans, ships sinking, mage fights, betrayals, blood, guts, excrement, the lot!

Luke Scull's excellent imagination gets let loose across the page and it's exciting stuff.

After the big boss fight I was surprised to find I still had sixty or more pages to read. We reach the end in stages, shedding characters left and right.

Jherek (aka The Wolf) remains an enigmatic killing machine and despite lacking any acknowledged magic he continues the same degree of punching way above his weight that I remarked upon in book 1.

Anyway, the end is at last reached, and it is a suitably grim one! Albeit leavened with a spot of Scull humour.

In conclusion, the quality established in book 1 is maintained throughout, and the trilogy is solid entertainment. The mix of grimness, levity, and plain filth will not be for everyone, but if it hits your sweet spot then you're in for a great ride!


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Reading Progress

September 11, 2018 – Started Reading
September 11, 2018 – Shelved
September 11, 2018 –
page 101
22.54% "Finding it better written than previous book, The Sword of the North (which I enjoyed), so I'm surprised to see it has a lower average.

Reading on!"
September 28, 2018 –
page 243
54.24% "We are frequently told how old Brodar Kayne is. His eyesight is going, his knees crack, his back aches, his heart seems on the edge of an attack. He is a geriatric shadow of his former self.

And then Luke Scull reminds us that he is a pretty young author as he tells us that Kayne feels all of his fifty years :)

As someone of a similar age to Kayne it does rankle to see him described as being such a decrepit wreck."
September 28, 2018 –
page 243
54.24%
September 28, 2018 –
page 243
54.24% "...though it is true that I'm not out in the cold swinging a sword!"
October 3, 2018 –
page 343
76.56%
October 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

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