If really wish I had not purchased the first two books in the series. All my past experiences with Epic Fantasy have been so good, that after reading the reviews and matching them with other books I had enjoyed, I thought this would be, at worst, an okay read...I was wrong. I will pass on any other Glen Cook stories.
I cannot decide if the narrator's reading was flat and ponderous by choice or if the actual writing doesn't provide much room for another interpretation.
I was deeply disappointed when I finally realized the writing was not going to improve after the first two chapters. The author seems to have no sense of description, other than the obvious. There is no sophistocation to either the description or the narrative. The writing feels rather like a graphic novel. Perhaps this would be an acceptable book for adolescents or younger, but anyone who truly appreciates the complex thematics and writing style of George R R Martin or Joe Abercrombie or even the delightful humour of Lois McMaster Bujold will be disappointed with this book.
I feel let down with the whole experience. The story is told by a character that seemed to rush though everything accept for a few points in the book. The narrator is sort of dull and gives the boring way the story was written the feel of a text book. Huge gaps in the war are explained in less than a page. I just don't understand why people love this series so much it is just dull.
After the last 3 books that seemed too g rated, I'm very excited about this series. It's dark. It doesn't muddle everything up with a love story. No contrite character interactions. I want more and I'm happy there is more.
Better writing, much better narration.
The opposite actually.
I found it hard to finish reading Black Company because I have read this story before with better witting and characters. I thought I would try the audio-book but it is even worse.
I have listened to The Black Company twice now, and I would not be opposed to a third if I find the time. The style of the storytelling really sets it apart from books in it's genre. There is a much appreciated brevity to it. The story is the recounting of events by a nobody grunt, and thus the information that the author fails to give actually enhances the experience in my opinion. When you don't receive all the information you might expect about the Lady and her Ten who were taken, there is this extra sense of mysterious wonder--and you are right there with Croaker trying to see through the curtain of intrigue in this dark, sometimes apathetic fantasy.
Mark Vietor's performance uses frequent short pauses that may take a bit of getting used to, but add an almost noir-ish quality to the storytelling. There is an inherent lethargy to his narration of Croaker that is reflective of the character and the world. Other characters are also acted with a variety of distinct voices, including the extremely challenging Soulcatcher, a character that uses a different voice with every other sentence. Vietor mostly does a great job at this, and by the end of the book, I can't imagine it being read by anyone else.
A quick list of caveats:
This book is probably better avoided if you like every event that happens in a book to unfold in detail on the page. Glen Cook has a way of summarizing events--particularly when the point of view character has no real stake in the events or no reason to be present at them. Large battles will often have less page time then scenes where characters simply play cards with each other. Also avoid if you don't like kitschy one word fantasy names like Mercy, Silent, or Raven.
Do Have a listen though if you are feeling in a rut from typical heroic fantasy, or if you like the idea of seeing a somewhat conventional fantasy told from the vantage of a relative nobody.
just finished eriksons malazan saga and am now doing glen cook and his black company. i can see the influences on erikon and cook does a great job of revealing the fears and doubts everyone has in the face if confusion and the manipulative. cant wait for book two.
I liked the world and the characters but the story itself never seemed to rise above prologue for something else. Maybe it was the voice of the narrator give as if he is reading from history such a dry mode but it made any instances of battle or bloody revenge sound cold and uninteresting. Never really got into it. The story also seemed to just wander about. The characters felt do directionless (intentionally so I believe) but it also made the story seem aimless. Which made any attempts at resolution confounding because I didn't know where we were headed so it had no impact when we got there. There seemed to be more time spent on character s that died randomly them those, like the captain that made it through to the end. Overall can not recommend.
The entire series is unique because of the gritty, first person, perspective. Beyond that, I enjoy the way good and evil are portrayed. I don't think any series does such a wonderful job of painting "shades of gray".
This is a hard question for The Black Company, especially the first three books. Everyone who reads, or listens, to these books will like Croaker, but I think you have to look beyond Croaker. Beyond Croaker, I like Goblin and One-Eye.
Cool, RobertStack, Expressive
I don't have the time to listen to a book in one setting, and as much I as I might enjoy that if I did have the time, I actually like breaking up any story to better digest it.That said, the production WAS good enough to listen to it all the way through.
I was very reluctant to even try Audible. I felt the prices were high, but I bike commute 2 hours a day and I really enjoy audio books. In the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Audible pretty much has a monopoly.I picked the first three books of The Black Company as my first foray into Audible audiobooks because I thought they would be a challenge to do right. I figured if they were able to do the The Black Company, then I'll try other titles. I'm pleased to say, that they definitely pulled it off. Not only that, its clear that a lot of production, editing and work was done to read the book so expressively. This series is worth the cost in my opinion.
The book is great, but the narration leaves a lot to be desired.
The narration is not awful per se (I've heard worse), but it absolutely does no service to the excellent book itself and the characters depicted in it, dragging the entire story down with it.
There are so few books in the fantasy genre that isnt the glorious hero doing good against evil, and i dislike them all, this one is about a merc band working for a evil side, and i love it.
i hate hero BS where they need to be retards to make the story progress.
Not a lot of action as the book is written from a more behind the frontline point of view for the most part.