Morgan, Richard K. -- The Cold Commands

Woo, the ride gets more rollicking. The incessant manipulations of the gods grow more blatant. The deconstruction of fantasy tropes gets more clear. ("Quests are a narrative blind," says a god, more or less exactly in those words.) The tech roots of the "fantasy" era become more obvious, up to the point in chapter 11 when I figured out the thing. Yow. That's a hell of a thing. I'm sure you're cleverer than me and figured it out back in the first book. That's fine, a years-long penny-drop is good for my soul.

I'm gonna have to go back and re-read and think about all the gods, definitely.

A couple things I forgot to note about the first book, but are still true: the writing is really very strong. A lot of fantasy (and SF) of this tough-guy brand leans towards utilitarian prose; Morgan has that straightforward feel, but he can wield a vivid phrase coming around the corner. And also: yow, there is a lot of blood. Pain, dismemberment, and murder. Dead burnt bodies and things in the characters' teeth. Morgan doesn't want you to forget it. I would be sad if all fantasy were this brutal, but I'm glad it can be done well.

Also: authors who rock-climb can be really show-offy about it.

Also: "Helmsman" is the same word as "Steerswoman", right?

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