Carol. 's Reviews > The Black Company

The Black Company by Glen Cook
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, action, male-lead, classic
Recommended to Carol. by: FA
Read in June, 2011 , read count: once

Three stars; ultimately it's just not my kind of book.

As far as plot, it mostly consists of a series of encounters for the Black Company, starting with getting out of their current contract and accepting employment from the Lady. I don't mind this style of plot in my books, but not everyone may enjoy.

The pacing of the story was uneven at best. Mostly the narrative stopped on plot points germane to their particular tasks for the Lady, but occasionally it takes time to linger on company dynamics. Those interludes mostly seem to consist of card games. I'm definitely more used to the epic fantasy that tells you what the road was like, the color of the blooming flowers, the sunsets, etc. along the way (David Eddings, anyone?).

The characters felt mostly archetypal, sketch portraits done in greys. There's a grizzled captain who knows more than he lets on and has a hidden moral core; the fallen warrior; the morally ambiguous doctor; the orphan foundling who will be the figurehead for a new movement. That said, the small touches helped make them interesting to me and left me intrigued: the wizards' bickering, Darling's finger language, Soulcatcher's voices.

The world seemed interesting, as much as we are given. The concept of the Taken was fascinating. The forvalaka was fascinating as well, but language is odd--why did we go from a made-up word to "Taken?" I think the forvalaka was one of the only created words, which sits oddly with the language of the story. Flying carpets were introduced late and seemed mostly to be a plot device. They seemed at odds with the conventional methods of horseback, cart, walking, ship.

Overall it was a kind of a *shrug* kind of book for me. I didn't hate it, but I was able to put it down and even fall asleep while reading it, and I've been known to stay up all night reading. However, I'll check out the next in the series out of curiosity, and because Cook has so many fans, I'm trying to see the appeal.
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08/19/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Kilarn Good review which confirms some of my thoughts about the book. The novel is not bad, is easily readable but lack of creativity. I don't really understand for now why there are so many fans, but sequels will probably make me understand it (or not...).

Carol. Thanks, Kilarn. I think many people probably appreciate the minimalist world-building.

Emma Thank you for this review! I found this book 'meh' and don't really understand all the fuss!

Carol. thanks, Emma. I agree--definitely not a style that engages me.

Evgeny As a big fan of the series let me say that if you did not like the fist book, it would be a good place to stop.

Carol. I think I made it through three or four before quitting.

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