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What Else Are You Reading? > The Black Company series

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message 1: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler By Glen Cook

Only time I ever heard about it is in comparison to Malazan.

Just how similar/influential was it?

And is it any good? I don't think I've ever seen his work on sale!


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2611 comments I haven’t read Malazan, but I have read The Black Company. I can’t comment as to the influence level.

There are zero info dumps. If that’s your kind of thing. Cook wrote this book as if you already lived in the world and nothing ever needed explanation.

I really enjoyed most of the characters (especially the main character) but felt that the villain was kind of poorly done (not fleshed out enough- I was never really sure exactly why they were the villain). The action scenes were kind of chaotic when they were included, sometimes they were glazed over because (minor spoiler that’s probably included in the blurb) (view spoiler)

I only gave it 3 stars overall, because of the ongoing confusion I felt, but I do intend to continue the series. I’m hoping it gets better when the world begins to make more sense.

It is a difficult read and one you definitely need to pay attention to.


message 3: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler Is it a complicated world though? I found with Malazan that the lack of exposition - which is usually something I like - was tough given just how unique some of the ideas and words are


message 4: by Udayan (new)

Udayan | 62 comments The world is not as complicated as Malazan, but the characters definitely are.

Also as the books are from the perspective of a thoroughly cynical and unruly fighting force, our views about their world is coloured by their rather tongue in cheek opinions.


message 5: by Stan (last edited Apr 25, 2018 07:34AM) (new)

Stan (lendondain) | 168 comments I've read both series to their completion. If Sarah hasn't read the entire Black Company series, then she doesn't know who the real villain is, and that might explain her confusion. Also, she said it was a difficult read. However, if she had read Malazan, she'd know The Black Company reads like a grammar school primer in comparison.

I loved both series, but the Black Company series is definitely faster-paced, less complicated, and often more fun than the Malazan series. Still, I prefer Erikson's work. He's saying something about the human condition. Cook is just telling a fun story.

Cook's influence on Erikson is slight, but it's there. Erikson definitely did his own thing, but it feels like Cook might have paved the way for following a large group of characters, making them enjoyable, yet not detracting from the plot. Also, I think Cook might be one of the originators of the military fantasy sub-genre, and Erikson certainly follows in that tradition. The Bridgeburners and Bone Hunters have a sneaky style that is similar to the Black Company.


message 6: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments I actually didn't find the first Black Company book a hard read at all (that's all I've read of the series). I've tried to read the first book of Malazan and ... nope, not one I'm willing to muddle through.

Seemed to me the prose of Malazan is dense and over labored. Black Company was a much lighter read. No, it doesn't explain things to you but you pick things up as it goes along. It's a gritty pseudo-medieval-plus-magic tale told from the terse, unadorned, cynical, pragmatic (aka hardened) POV of a soldier whose mercenary band is in the hire of (essentially) the bad guys--or maybe more like there are no good guys. It's a book steeped in moral relativism that is light on world creation details, and ends up feeling more like a (good) TV show than a novel. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars for being well-written and entertaining, despite it not really being of a genre I have much interest in.


message 7: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler Micah wrote: "I actually didn't find the first Black Company book a hard read at all (that's all I've read of the series). I've tried to read the first book of Malazan and ... nope, not one I'm willing to muddle..."

sounds good, thanks.

I'll have to watch out for it


message 8: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler Stan wrote: "I've read both series to their completion. If Sarah hasn't read the entire Black Company series, then she doesn't know who the real villain is, and that might explain her confusion. Also, she said ..."

I remember reading that Black Company was actually a huge influence, that's why I ask


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