Jump to content
dylan

Glen Cooks The Black Company series

Recommended Posts

The series just isn't as good when it's not Croaker's voice.

Yeah, I'd somewhat agree with that. I think that She is the Darkness was actually a really good book with Murgen as the POV char, and Water Sleeps as well, but the story is definitely much better with Croaker as the POV. And I agree that the ending with the girls and Croaker's fate was awesome.

I think the main problem with Murgen is just that Bleak Seasons is just a pretty meh book overall, as is the one before with Lady as POV. Both of those books were not up to par with the rest of the series IMO. I really enjoyed the last 3 books, but the two before really stunk by comparison.

Edited by AUyushu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh cmon guys, mark the spoilers please. This is a should I read it? thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed the first trilogy. It's got a gritty, amoral, minimalist charm.

The subsequent books get worse and worse with each installment and the story just goes round in pointless directions and retcons.

This except that i loved the first three books. Great fantasy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glen Cook is the greatest prose stylist of this, or any other, generation.

Gene Wolfe, John Crowley, M. John Harrison, and the ghost of John Updike all shit themselves with envy over Cook's ability to craft a sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would assume M. John Harrison craps himself with envy over the fact that other people can write books that AREN'T TOTAL SHIT.

And as much as I love Glen Cook and want to marry him, Gene Wolfe writes better prose. :P But I think Wolfe writes THE BEST PROSE EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF TIME, so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bleak Seasons is a bit meh, but the actual plot is nasty, too. So much misery in the story that, well, it isn't fun at all, lol. Reading the books that came after the "break" he took after the first books ofthe south... even out on the deck on a glorius summer day, I felt like i was crouched in a flooded root cellar reading it.

damnit, either i learn to use spoiler tags...or we create a discuss the series thread that is NOTHING but spoilers.

cuz i really want to discuss some of my favourite damn bits without wrecking things for others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it is very easy to use spoiler tags.

[ spoiler ] shit you want to hide [ /spoiler ]

Take out the extraneous spaces I put between the word "spoiler" and "/spoiler" and the square brackets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first book in the first trilogy was easy reading and fun, from Croaker's point of view. I could never really get into the story after that (I ended up skipping to the end of the trilogy to see how the whole thing played out).

I was really entertained by how hard the Taken were to kill. You'd chop off the arms and legs, burn them, etc., and the damn head would still be screaming at you.

Edited by Former Lord of Winterfell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I skipped this series from the recommendation list because it's a series, because it seemed like the sort of epic fantasy that I haven't enjoyed in the past, and because I read the first few chapters and wasn't pulled in at all, either by the characters or the writing style. From the prologue of GOT, I wouldn't have thought that was a book I'd want to read either, but obviously the story expanded much further than being about human rangers vs. evil Others. (That was a huge understatement). And I've enjoyed other books that took a while to get into.

The Black Company felt like it was going to be fairly typical epic fantasy plus grittiness and moral ambiguity, not really my thing, but maybe someone wants to convince me that there's going to be something awesome about it if I keep reading? Or do me the favor of letting me know that if I didn't care for the beginning, I'm probably not going to suddenly start loving it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Black Company felt like it was going to be fairly typical epic fantasy plus grittiness and moral ambiguity, not really my thing, but maybe someone wants to convince me that there's going to be something awesome about it if I keep reading? Or do me the favor of letting me know that if I didn't care for the beginning, I'm probably not going to suddenly start loving it?

Whether it is awesome is subjective, but it isn't one of those huge "epics" with a massive cast of characters and intricate plot devices. It is a much lighter read than anything by Erickson or Bakker, for example. The plots are generally straightforward, and told closer to a grunts-eye view, though maybe "junior-officers/NCO eye-view" would be more accurate since the characters you get to know best are the officers/NCO's.

I do think you have to get passed the beginning to get into the meat of it, because a great deal of the appeal of the series are the characters, their banter, and the overall personality of the Company itself. And it take a bit of time to establish that. You really don't get a sense for what it is until you hit the battle at Charm in the first book. If you don't like that, you won't like the rest of the series. Also, if you don't like Croaker, you won't like the series.

And in terms of it being a "series", the books are light enough that the first three together almost feel like one doorstopper. And you can pretty easily stop after the first three, too. As others have suggested, some of the middle books are not as strong.

FWIW, the series tends to be particularly popular among veterans. Cook does a great job of making you feel what it's like to be in a unit, with all the weird personalities, humor, and attitudes.

Edited by Former Lord of Winterfell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed the Black Company series, although I felt the original trilogy was the strongest. What about it didn't make sense to you? I don't remember anything being particularly unclear, especially early.

I couldnt really tell you by now i forget

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the series as a whole ( and Glen Cooks style, and most everything else he has written ) but the first three books of the Black Company are some of my absolute favorites.

I agree that if you you dont like Croaker, you won't get far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, FLOW brings up a very good point, the Black Company itself. It's almost a character, you see it change as time passes. It's a band of brothers, like the Night's Watch, it's only true loyalty is to itself.

Seeing how it changes under different Captains is one of the appeals.

Plus, its universe is basically Nan's stories...all the boogymen Bran loves to hear about, are awake and moving in this series. The Taken alone are worth the time spent reading it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree the Taken are quite awesome. It was all I could do to not look up spoilers about them while I was going through the series.

And I really enjoyed the books of the south, but it appears many think the original 3 were plenty, and I cant argue that they don't wrap up nicely. So, finish the first series people, you will probably enjoy it and your only out 600 pages. That's one book for a lot of authors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't really a spoiler, but...

I read these books around the time the Myth games were a thing. I couldn't help but notice that the Fallen from that series bore strong resemblance to the Ten Who Were Taken, and I've always wondered if I were the only one to think that. There's also a character named Murgen, IIRC.

I am generally a sucker for epic-sounding names, and the Taken really did it for me.

I wonder how the series would fare with a film adaptation, or a TV miniseries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Myth borrowed heavily from a lot of different mythologies, but there's definitely a lot of resemblance (spoiler warnings for the game) to the Black Company books to be found.

Those games were criminally under-appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be wrong, but I thought Murgen was the name of one of Odin's ravens.......the memory one.

It would connect with him taking over the annals for a while, y'know, if I'm not imagining stuff again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be wrong, but I thought Murgen was the name of one of Odin's ravens.......the memory one.

It would connect with him taking over the annals for a while, y'know, if I'm not imagining stuff again.

Huginn and Muninn.

I just started the first omnibus and 45 pages in I want to read everything Cook has ever written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×