Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fantasy Reading List: The Black Company by Glen Cook

While I'm at it, I think I'll add another military fantasy to the list. For this review, I'll be covering the first three books of Glen Cook's series The Black Company. For military fantasy, this series is one of the most prominent classics. You can see it as inspiration for later (and more complex) military fantasies like Steven Erikson's Malazan books (which I'll get around to reviewing at some point).

Overall, The Black Company was a good read. It's far from my favorite, but it provided an interesting world. I also liked Croaker as the narrator. He was the character with whom I identified most easily. A lot of the author characters were perhaps a little too dark and violent for my tastes, but I saw more decency and humanity in Croaker.

While this is military fantasy, you shouldn't expect constant battles. That was a bit of an adjustment at first. I came in expecting battles, and instead I saw a whole lot of life as a soldier. Once I adjusted to this, I came to appreciate the series more. I also felt it improved as I went along. Book three was my favorite of the Cook's first trilogy.

I should note that the writing style can take some adjustment. Croaker's first-person narrative is very direct, even choppy at times. If you're used to lyrical, flowing prose, you'll find this a bit jarring at first. Just a warning. I still think the series is worth reading, especially when you consider its influence on the darker, grittier side of the fantasy genre.

Rating: 7/10

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