As Fierce as Steel (Gold & Steel) (英語) Hardcover – 2016/2/6
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
As Fierce as Steel is the inaugural entry into the world of Gold & Steel, a new fantasy series from Canadian author, Christopher Walsh. It is centered around the lives of two women, those of the Lady Orangecloak and Lady Marigold Tullivan. One is the leader of a brave group of young men and women in open rebellion of their government. The other was born into that patriarchal world and destined for greatness, as a trophy wife, a fate she will do anything to alter.
As Fierce as Steel introduces those characters and that of other men and women of the nation of Illiastra and beyond, who all have aims on seeing a new day dawn in their country. Look into a world on the cusp of its own industrial era, filled with robust characters of all walks of life as they navigate adventures and drama on their road to a new Illiastra.
Christopher Walsh was born in rural Newfoundland in 1985, a place he still calls home. The Gold & Steel series, which he has been crafting since 2009, is his first foray into the literary world.
But to say that Walsh was influenced solely by RR Martin weakens both. As Fierce as Steel is actually much more than that. It has the tone of George RR Martin (that epic feeling that sends chills whenever the characters enter a battle) along with the imagination of JRR Tolkien (taking disparate aspects from the world around them and melding them into a coherent fantasy universe capable of suspending the reader's disbelief for 700+ pages) and the aesthetics of Baz Luhrmann... yes, Baz Luhrmann. In that he has the ability to mix modern (ish) weaponry like rifles and modern idioms of speech into a fantastical, medieval setting in such a way that feels neither forced nor contrived, much in the way Luhrmann shifted the weapons in Romeo+Juliet.
Speaking of the dialog: Walsh has quite an ear for it. Anyone who has attended a writing panel with me will know that tinny dialog is one of my pet peeves, but Walsh does a great job. He understands the idioms of speech he's using. He knows what goes where and how much. He knows each character's voice and mannerisms and the motivations behind what they say in a way that even some of the more practiced artists writing novels do not.
As Fierce as Steel tells the story of Orangecloak (along with several others, too many to name in fact. There are four point-of-view characters but so many characters its beyond mention in the work as a whole) and her band of thieves as they work to carve out a place for themselves in the land of Illiastra. The book has a sharp feminist edge to it that's hard to ignore (not should you). You'll know the bad guys immediately for their use of sexist slurs. It is a book that has a point, and if you take the Freudian response to the slurs like I did and realize that these words that are you come to define that the book is about feminist ideals (in my mind at least) then you're already half way there.
The book loses me in two respects. The first is the sheer amount of characters. As I mentioned above, while the Point-of-View characters are kept to a respectable amount compared to George RR Martin, the number of characters with interesting and hard-to-pronounce-in-your-head names on every other page does make it hard to keep track of what's going on and what's important. However that's the same thing that irks me about George RR Martin, so fans of his who don't mind that should feel right at home here. The second is that the book does get a little wordy at times, especially in the opening ten chapters. A certain level of world building is expected of any fantasy series, but I prefer it a little more organic. I'm okay not knowing exactly how the world we're in work until it becomes relevant, even if that's several books down the line.
The good news is: there will be more books. Walsh is already hard at work on The Worth of Gold, the next book in the series. In the meantime, anyone who can't wait to get their Gold and Steel fix can check out the prequel short story in Sci-Fi from the Rock. Walsh isn't going anywhere, and despite those few small nit-picks: this is one of the best novels by a new author you're going to see in 2016. Easily the best fantasy novel to be released this year, looking at what's coming up.
Walsh is a part of a new breed: he grew up on the fantasy of his generation and has decided what of it works and what of it doesn't, and has produced his own spin on things. This is a unique novel in the fantasy genre, a genre which has not seen innovation since the last crop of visionaries came through the pipeline in the late 80s. Will Walsh be counted among those greats? We'll need a few more books to tell for sure, but this book certainly has him off to a good start.
Beautifully written, this book is built with vivid images of an astounding fantasy world that is well built with diverse people of both race and sex. It's clear that this intricate world was carefully planned out through its political point of views and many little details that build its complex and large range of characters.
I found myself attached to several characters right from the get-go as I found them extremely realistic and well crafted.
My only problem came with the amount of information revolving around the political and religious factions. This problem is something of my own personal downfall, as much of those things goes over my head and I find it hard to seize the information and retain it in large quantities.
Putting that aside the characters helped me move forth and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Christopher Walsh delivered a well executed story and the future of his books looks promising. I wouldn't miss the next one for anything.