Book review: The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan

So I have finally finished reading the last book of the A Land Fit for Heroes series by Richard Morgan and here are my thoughts. (I have also reviewed the first and second parts of the trilogy)

But first I really want to mention something I love about this series: the fact that one of the main protagonist is a masculine gay man. Considering that most gay male characters in popular culture are the same typical sassy BFF it’s a breathe a fresh air to see something different for a change.
Because Ringil is everything gay men aren’t supposed to be: masculine, strong, independent and though as nails. He knows what he wants and doesn’t take crap from anyone. I really wish more authors would create queer characters who defy stereotypes  and show there are many diverse ways to be lesbian/gay/trans/bi etc.


The Dark Defiles was a great read. Morgan is a very skilled writer who not only knows how to really draw the reader into the story but he also does it with an impressive mastery of the English language. The book has many interesting expressions and one-liners that had me laughing out loud. Just to name one there is the moment when a character describes a pain as “stinging worse than getting head from a cactus”, which I find absolutely hilarious.

After following the adventures of Ringil, Archeth and Egar for two books I was excited to see how it would all end and I would say Morgan brought together all the loose threads quite nicely, answering the questions raised along the way. It was sometimes tricky to figure out exactly what this answers were due to the complexity of the world Morgan writes about but they are there to find.

Like in the previous two books Morgan mixes science-fiction elements into the story. So much in this book that he sometimes balances on the line between hard fantasy and science fantasy. I find it gives another depth to the story and I am thinking about using it as an inspiration in future works.

The favorite story line in this book was the one following Archeth. I feel like she really developed as a character and it was fascinating to follow her adventures and evolution as a warrior. I also love how the ambiguous ending gives a hint that it may not at all end in the way she thinks but at the same times never really gives the answer, which you could interpret as either frustrating or up to the reader to decide what they believe will happen.

I would give this book a rating of 4,75 out of 5. Can recommend, as well as the whole trilogy.



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