Don’t Cry, Emo Ringil
The Steel Remains was going to be dark and gritty and all those buzzwords that mean serious business. It was going to blow the bloody doors off epic fantasy. So I was a bit surprised at the opening line and the breezy tone of adventure it sets for the opening chapter:
When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom and eat him, you only have two basic options.
Now, it does take a turn for the dark but it is particular sort of dark: the gloom of a teenager’s bedroom. Ringil is a veteran soldier in his early thirties – the sort of person who takes dealing with zombie mothers in his stride – and he is enjoying his quiet life of drinking, fucking and general infamy. Then his mum turns up. How embarrassing. Before long she is rolling her eyes at his adolescent behaviour: “Augh. Do you have to be so coarse, Ringil?”
So Ringil obviously starts playing up, doubling the swearing and tantrums. Then his dad gets involved and things really kick off. For some reason there first meeting reminded me of this. It is all rather panto, aided by those helpful italics – oh, so that’s where the stress in that sentence goes – that turn the characters into hammy actors. At one point Ringil gets three separate lines of dialogue in italics ending in exclamation marks in half a page. He really means it! It’s so unfair, why doesn’t anyone understand him?
Anyway, I’m only a hundred pages into the book and rather enjoying it but as I say, I wasn’t expecting this jaunty teen angst caper. Apparently it is all the fault of this bloke.