A refreshing romp through a gritty yet colorful medieval fantasy setting that follows a mercenary company recruited by the arch villain. They'll stick it to the rebel "good guys" all the way, often with cheerful deviousness. The story follows the sole 1'st person perspective of the Black Company's annalist/historian/medic giving it a distinct grunt's eye view of a much bigger conflict. There's also no shortage of likeable characters to get attached to; it's neither too serious or too somber.
The narrator definitely takes some getting used to though. At first he sounded like he was channeling Captain Kirk or something and it was most distracting; you'll see some hate on that topic in the other reviews. However, I think he settles into the role eventually and about 1/3 in I didn't even notice anymore. He manages the few female voices there are well enough. Certainly not so cringe worthy as other male narrators I've heard trying the same.
Glorious low brow adventure. That might not be enough for some but Dina Pearlman isn't just narrating the story of a big, biker chick caught up in fantastical Flash Gordon sci fi adventures, she bloody well sounds like one. Her performance sounds so beautifully in character that the book could get by with just a so-so story rather than the very charming, trope nostalgic and clever one that it is.
The author does very well in writing a female adventure protagonist that doesn't just come off as just a guy with boobs. Not too feminine, not too manly, very... American Biker Amazon but not a butch one. All very down to earth and free of high minded idealism or grim/dark villainy, definitely a grinning popcorn flick.
Follows a single perspective throughout so if you need a break from constant character hopping ala Game of Thrones, bonus. Also taught me what the "phone book trick" means in police speak. Learn something new every day.
If any book in the Black Company series can drive a fan to quit, it is this one. The constant, disjointed, mind numbing jumps between perspective time periods turns this book into some bastardized choose-your-own-adventure story. Take a regular novel, chop it into a dozen or two pieces, then read those pieces in random order and you've got Bleak Seasons.
The narrator does such a fine job with the voices, I almost pity the man for having to read this assault on listeners minds.
The style of presentation in Bleak Seasons is so dreadful and of no narrative relation to its predecessors that one has to wonder if Glen Cook were in a particularly vile mood when he wrote it and was purposefully trying to kill the series.
Like a kid mismatching toys from a mass box, wonder no more what might happen when you match a regiment of Union troops against a vast horde of 10 foot man eating alien mongols.
Several genuinely likable characters, not-too-pretentious on the abolitionist/freedom side and certainly NOT the bald faced hubris you'd find in stuff like 300. Some peeps grumble about an excess of grimly this n sullenly that but listening through it I didn't even notice. If you came to Rally Cry for the battles (see the toy box above) you won't be dissappointed.
The narrator definitely took some getting used to. It wasn't till halfway in I finally decided I could live with him. Maybe a 3/5 narration. The other reviews are spot on that his 'standard' voice is lacking, but Lawlor does sound much better when he kicks in the accented characters.
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