Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead - until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more.
There must be a way for the Black Company to find her....
©1984 Glen Cook (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I really wanted to like this book, but half way through I just could not go on. It seemed very overwritten, but it is possible it was just the narrator that made it seem that way. There certainly seemed like something there calling to me, but sadly this audio version killed for me, what might be a good series.
What an absolutely abysmal book. I only got 2.5 hours into the book, but by that point I just couldn't take anymore. After 2.5 hours I had no idea what was going on. The story seemed to just randomly jump all over the place with no direction or purpose. I couldn't follow what was going on from one scene to the next. As one other reviewer mentioned, after 2.5 hours I had no idea who the main protagonist was, other than the fact that he was physician, nor did I really care. He was an empty shell of a character, as were all the other characters in the book (at least to this point in the book).
Marc Vietor's narration was not bad. It wasn't even close to his best work, but it wasn't bad. He was much better in Hyperion, and did an absolutely amazing job with 1Q84. I'm not sure if it was the story or what, but his performance was off this time.
I can count on one hand the number of books I have not finished in my life. Once I start a book, even if it's bad, I almost always stick with it to the end. This is the first audio book I have not finished. It's just BAD!!! I'm sure Glen Cook is a good writer (he has obviously written a ton of books and has a big following), but I doubt seriously I will ever pick up another of his books (written or audible). It's a shame I wasted a credit on this book.
I nearly didn't get this book because of the reviews. However I am very glad I did. In fact I am currently paying for book 3 because I can't wait for my next credit (the reason it gets 4 out of 5 is because the books are so damned short.) I have listened to many of the fantasy / Sci-Fi featured on Audible... and I have to say that this is a very worthy addition! ~ just had to get used to the first person perspective.... I am so used to the limited omniscient third, that at first it was hard to follow. Mayhapps that is why these nay sayers were so down on the book.
Try it out for a change of pace. Good Plot. Intriguing Characters, and Fun to listen to. However, remember that it takes some getting used to the perspective of the Author of the Annals.
I really liked this book, evil fighting evil, fighting evil. Some really good characters. Worth the credit!
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.
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.
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