21 May, 2009

Review: Woken Furies, by R. K. Morgan

     Woken Furies (2005) is the third installment in the action packed Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard Morgan, and is a clear step up over its predecessors. 

The Setup

     While Woken Furies can easily be read as a standalone, you need to read both Altered Carbon and Broken Angels to truly appreciate the depth of the revelations presented. That said, Woken Furies remains a great read in which Mr. Morgan maturing style and skillful character construction will leave you begging for the next installment. 
     Takeshi Kovacs is back on Harlan's World, his onetime home, waging a campaign of indiscriminate slaughter against the priests who killed his one time love. As per usual, a fairly innocuous fight in a restaurant ends up pushing Kovacs straight into the arms of a woman who is none other than a mythical rebellion leader. This time around, other Envoys are involved and the situation promises to get gory, and Mr Morgan promptly delivers.
     Not only is Kovacs set to collide with other Envoys on his moralistic journey, but a re-sleeved, younger copy of himself is out to get him as well. If that isn't enough, well, wait till you see how the Martian technology Kovacs discovered in Broken Angels is put to use. Cunningly orchestrated, Woken Furies is a battle ground for both seething historic forces and morality. If you enjoyed Altered Carbon or Broken Angel's, I'll bet you a book that you will like Woken Furies even more. 

My Take in Brief

     Woken Furies is a definite improvement over its predecessors, both in terms of style, plot, and philosophy. More than at any other point in the series, Takeshi Kovacs comes off as complex and likable. Previously, Mr. Morgan painted himself into a stylistic corner where he was forced to constantly up the suspense and violence to keep the plot ball rolling. I attribute this to the way the author's characters are constructed; they are the embodiment of an inherent contradiction, of competing interests and themes. Somewhat ironically, these inner conflicts are always resolved through outward acts of violence. In Worken Furies Mr. Morgan discovers, to good effect, that its okay to resolve these conflicts internally.
     Beyond the usual acts of gratuitous violence and suspense driven plot, Woken Furies presents the reader with two substantial developments in the context of the series. These are first a refinement of the overarching Quellist philosophy, and second the promise of future interaction with the mythic lost Martian civilization. In my opinion, Woken Furies sets the foundation for a move from the tight focus of military science fiction towards a more complex and compelling space opera. If Mr. Morgan ever decides to shift away from the tight focus on Takeshi Kovacs, he has surely set up what promises to be an epic continuation to the series.

  • Takeshi Kovacs facing off against none other than... himself.
  • A refinement of the socio-political dynamic.
  • Boom, squish, whack, crunch, and kerrrplunk.
  • Falling back on a few of the same literary tricks. 
  • An open ending that promises so much in the next installment.
Your Take

     I am honestly curious to see what people think about the Takeshi Kovacs series as a whole at this point. In my estimation Morgan has really developed as a writer, and I am inclined to wonder if you guys and girls see it that way. I haven't picked up The Steel Remains yet, but I am excited to see what his transition to fantasy looks like.

Ratings and Links

Amazon: 4/5
B&N: 3.75/5
My Rating: 4.25/5

A neat review of Woken Furies over at the Wertzone.

Piqued Your Interest?

Woken Furies, the third installment in the Takeshi Kovacs series, is not to be missed. If you enjoyed Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, then this book is not to book is a must read.


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