Nov. 7th, 2011

alexandral: (Rome - Pullo/Vorenus)
Listening to audiobooks is working GREAT for me. It has been literally decades since I did the same amount of reading! I finished 9 books of "Black Company" series by glen Cook in 2 months!! This is the answer to my less-than-perfect eyesight! It also seems to be the perfect answer to the boredom of commuting!

Black Company is a fantasy series by Glen Cook. I used to be very fond of the series when I was younger, but haven't finished it back then. This is a dark fantasy with some elements of military fiction. The series has very specific writing style, which I think one will love or hate: it is direct, choppy, gritty and no-nonsense. The story follows a military unit, "Black Company" and it's adventures in service to the various magic powers of that World.

What has always been my favourite thing about the series is the main "idea": "Nothing is Black and White. Everything is some shade of grey, and a person always has a choice." I also really like the writing style, which is somewhat unique and the main character, and the narrator of the first 4 books (and the last one), Croaker. He is not a good guy,and he is not a hero. His main appeal is that he never takes himself or others seriously and also his sarcastic attitude. His wit is extremely entertaining. As one of the other characters, the wizard called One Eye, commented : "Life wouldn't be half fun without you in it, Croaker. Watching you bumble through is an education in itself". And Croaker's unrequited love (well, things are more complicated than this) for the all-powerful sorceress named Lady, the ruler of that part of the World? Adorable.

The series have four narrators:

1. First 4 books ("The Black Company", "Shadows Linger", "The White Rose", "Shadow games"): Croaker, the Annalist and the Doctor, later the Captain of the Company.

Croaker , hands down, is my favourite narrator. He is witty, sarcastic, he doesn't tend to rattle about himself as much as the other narrators do, he is entertaining and philosophical. And the events of his books (happening first in the North, then in the South) seem to be the most interesting ones: some fabulous battles, some larger-than-life characters, all developed with good pace.

2. Book 5 ("Dreams of Steel") - Lady , The Captain of The Company

This book was a very interesting change of perspective, written by Lady, a powerful and very old sorceress. It made me chuckle and it made me cry. Lady is awesome and .. insane.

3. Books 6 and 7 ("Bleak Seasons" and "Soldiers sleep")- Murgen, the Annalist and the Standarbearer

I wish Murgen's books were never written. They are boring. Instead of the interesting things that are happening next to him he tends to go on and on about himself and his fiancée and their "epic" love. I never liked either of the two. Murgen is just boring and his books are long and confusing, plus the book 6 tells us about the events of the book 5 from a different perspective, which is a waste of time. The "love of his life" Sahra is too good to be true and uninteresting.
I wish Bleak Seasons" and "Soldiers sleep" were combined into one, much shorter book, or omitted completely.

4. Book 8 ("Water Sleeps") - Sleepy, The Captain of The Company (female)

I loved Sleepy. As far as leadership, planning and achieving success are concerned, she is the best Captain that we had in the series (4 Captains overall). She is efficient and strong, and a very non-cliché female character to the boot. I wish the writing of "Water Sleeps" was a bit tighter, but overall, I loved the book.

Book 9 ("Soldiers Live") - back to Croaker.

This is very strong ending to the series. Everything is explained, and all un-tied ends are secured. And Croaker is back as narrator! And Sleepy is one of the main characters!

Because I am more visual than wordy, I have collected some of the illustrations to "The Black Company":

One of my favourite illustration of Croaker, and something that conveys the spirit of the series. Croker in his "Widowmaker" costume, fighting:

Illustrations galore )


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