Ever since I hooked up with the people at Angry Robot Books I have been living the golden life. For those you don’t know the golden life for me is getting eARC of books. My golden life is not very golden by other people standards.
Today I’m reviewing A Discourse in Steel by Paul S. Kemp the sequel to The Hammer and the Blade and reunites with our heroes Egil and Nix.
This book takes our heroes and throws them head first into a series of misadventures that stack up against each other and send them into the pits of desperation.
We are reunited with our heroes and see that they are still living in the Slick Tunnel but are doing so with their new additions to their surrogate family, Rose and Mere – the damsels in not-so distress from the first book.
They still are adventures and all around do-gooders but when religious zealot thieves-church kills their senior member as Rose give him a psychic reading she get bombarded with his memories and all of the churches secrets. Now fearing their clandestine operations have been revealed they attempt to plug the leak by attacking Rose, her sisters, and her surrogate family.
This book is a brilliant adventure, with sword and sorcery, adventure and supernatural horrors that only exist in Paul S. Kemp personal world. But the true strength of the story is once again Egil and Nix and their relationships. The way these talk to each other is amazing. They talk to each other like the heroes in a buddy cop film do after three sequels. They talk like long-time spies do, dropping references to events we’ll never know about. They talk like George Clooney and Brad Pitt do in the Ocean’s series – forever friends. A partnership like this, a bromance if you would, is a rare one in writing. We often don’t see this type of character bonding in sci-fi or fantasy. But the relationship aside, which we saw in book one, the true strength of this book comes from seeing how our heroes, Egil and Nix, react when threatened and the lengths, sometimes brutal, they’ll go to protect the ones the love.
A Discord in Steel is paced differently from the first book. HatB was paced like a Bond film. We had a cold opening, jumping into the middle of a scene before the credits, that seemed to have nothing to do with anything but as the opening song passes and the plot begins we learn that the opening was important and it starts a in-depth adventure with twists and turns that ends in a final climatic scene, wrapping everything up.
ADiS is paced more like a TV series. We have small adventures, like BlackAlley and the attack on the thieves guild, that happen and wrap up but effect the building story on a whole. It’s like how the first couple episode often have nothing to do with the season finale but served as a building point.
The change of pacing fits the story told in this book. Putting the boys on the same type of adventure but in a bond movie pacing would have felt clunky and slow.
All in all a great book and a brilliant read.
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