Synopsis: Dug Sealskinner is on his way to join King Zadar’s mighty, unrivalled mercenary army but happens to rescue Spring, a girl who’s busy bodyrobbing and being rude. Next thing he knows he is beating up some of the same mercenaries who he initially had planned to join, in order to save Lowa, a highly trained warrioress on a mad revenge mission to bring down King Zadar himself. What was he even thinking?
What a dragon thinks: Now, I have read my fair share of fantasy literature and not always have I been thrilled. I have been on a desperate search for one where women could afford clothes that covered a bit more of their bodies, where female warriors would be equal to male warriors, where we have a strong female lead that does kick ass but is not a Mary Sue.
Age of Iron comes close to what I was looking for. We have Lowa, who is a badass fighter and she has achieved her status and reputation through hard work. Her character is believable and one can relate to her. She has suffered loss and is running for her life and still she wants to know why and see the man who wronged her dead – king or no king.
Women are respected warriors in the book, every army consists of men and women and it is specifically said every time referred to a group. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of sexism and raping going on which I think a fantasy epos could definitely miss?? Seriously guys, keep it in your pants! I don’t want to read about that! And naturally, the endless descriptions of women and how appealing they all are? It made me think of this twitter post by Eli Goldstone I found on tumblr.
Other than that, Age of Iron is pretty gory and had some Game of Thrones elements thrown into, especially when it comes to killing people (very creative) and sex (not so creative).
The language is not overly sophisticated but enough to keep me from cringing. Since the plot is set in 55 BC, the language is quite out of time but we might as well think of Latin words to switch the multiple f-words with. Rather rude and crude when people are having conversations but surprisingly well-written descriptions of land and (wo)man.
The plot is not thrillingly epic: an average hunt for revenge and vendetta across the land which basically comes down to a suicide mission. I liked it, though. It covered a lot of the kingdom and thus the reader meets new characters and the story becomes more lively and more believable. Treachery, intrigue, action, battle, romance and a surprisingly big amount of sass.
But an interest in fishing equipment wouldn’t help his battle-hardened Warrior image.
Watson, Agnus. Age of Iron. p. 4
Dug is done with his life, he is over forty, so we have a not typically dashing hero for this story but a worn man who is ready for his well-deserved retirement. So I imagine him constantly face-palming when Lowa tries to get the all killed again. Tragic backstory that for once is not his motivation, which I find refreshing. Dug has seem his fair share of battle and gore and his witty remarks keep a smile on the reader’s face. Although I could see the love affair three miles afar, it was not forced and it was not the author just taking the characters and randomly putting them together as though he were rolling dice.
Favourite character: Lowa
Conclusion: An entertaining book, perfect for the week-end. One does not require too much thoughts and the mind can relax while enjoying the read. Funny, witty and definitely full of action – in and out of bed. I liked it; it is not becoming one of my favourites but I am happy to have it on my shelf for another read.
I am not entirely sure whether I am going to read the sequels, though since I kind of liked the ending, open though it was.
They [Coins] were made from stuff that you dug out of the ground, so they were just pretentious pebbles.
Watson, Angus. Age of Iron. p. 100
When you were children, did you think, When I grow up, I want to be the most repellent bastard that can be? Did you think, I want my ancestors in the Otherworld to wish they’d never lived so that I hadn’t?
Watson, Angus. Age of Iron. p. 251
Details on the book:
- Author: Angus Watson
- Publishing House: orbit
- Jacket: Paperback
- Pages: 520
- ISBN: 978-0-356-50261-8