At last, I have completed the Grim Company trilogy. What a journey it has been. When I first read The Grim Company, the first novel in the series, I enjoyed it despite the distracting similarities between the novel and one of my favorite series, The Black Company, and some of the minor other issues. Yet, I enjoyed the book and was excited for the sequel. When I got my hands on the sequel Sword of the North last year, it quickly became one of the best sequels I have read in a series and markedly improved on everything the first book lacked. Now that I have read the final in the series, I can comfortably say that I am satisfied with the conclusion.
Only a few months have passed since the end of Sword of the North and each of the main POVs are back. Despite the struggle that still exists between The White Lady, Sasha , Cole, and the people of Dorminia, everyone must come together against a new threat, the Fade elves from across the ocean. The elves are a greater danger than anything our characters have faced and even the magelords are frightened by their coming. They wield weapons that reflect those of our own world, weapons that have been wielded by those the elves call the ‘ancestors’ and the ‘pilgrams’ which makes me assume the whole story is actually taking place in our world in the far future. The threat the elves pose gave me a sense that mankind would meet its end and throughout I wondered if only ash would remain when I turned the last page. This is perhaps one of the novel’s greatest strengths as I’ve grown to love these characters and the entire novel I was consumed with their survival.
The ending of the novel I will not spoil in the least, but it must be talked about. I am fine with the way the novel ended but sometime towards the middle of the novel things get a lot more dire for our characters and the way things speed along to the end made me feel as though this could have actually been two books. There was a lot of content in this read and though the ending made me feel satisfied, I wish the path taken was a little more fleshed out. There was a lot of action and a lot of suspense, but do to the sheer amount of crap that gets thrown our characters’ way, I felt like the pacing was a little quick for me. However, I still found myself enjoying the story.
Dead Man’s Steel does a good job tying up all the loose ends and the central themes that ‘not all heroes are good men’ and ‘not everyone gets the happy ending’ are central to what it means to live in a world that’s grim and dark. If you decide to pick up this series, know that this is not for the faint of heart. This is a grimdark story, and a good one at that. The series captured me and I still have feels for the ending hours after reading it. For a book to make me feel and think about the ending is the truest form of enjoyment for me from a novel, and I thoroughly recommend this series to any grimdark reader that wants to share in grim enjoyment.
About the Author: LUKE SCULL was born in Bristol and lives in Warminster. Luke also designs computer roleplaying games and has worked on several acclaimed titles for Ossian Studios and Bioware.
Luke’s first novel, THE GRIM COMPANY, was shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, 2014.
Visit his website at: www.lukescull.com