Soldiers Live (The Chronicles of the Black Company #10) (Final)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Soldiers Live
Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company #10
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 528
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Final Chapter of the Black Company. The Company has made their home in the new world, but nobody wants to stay. Not the company, not the people of the world. So between Sleepy and Croaker, the Black Company once again invades their “homeworld.”

But Kina, Shivetya and the Lady’s Sister are still around and still plotting. Is the Black Company the people we have come to know in the last 10 books, or is the Black Company an idea that mutates and changes across time and across worlds?

 

My Thoughts:

What a fitting end to this series.  All of the characters we have come to know meet an appropriate end for the Black Company. Which means that about 9/10th’s of them die.

That brings up the first thing that I appreciated about this series. Cook walks the razor thin line of making us care for and like particular characters and still making them meet the problems that they face without the assurance that they will survive. Cook doesn’t introduce characters JUST to make them die but neither is anyone a Luke, Han or Leia.

The worlds go on. I like a happily ever after, but until the End of Days and the Judgement Day, I know that just won’t happen. It is good to see how humans strive and continue to fight. I wouldn’t like a steady diet of this bleak outlook but I do appreciate the reminder that life is tough and people we love do die.

Cook is also very deft with his philosophizing through his characters. Instead of being beat over the head, we get quick slaps to the back of the head. A little sting just to remind us.

Finally, the story. Cook took us through a journey that spanned worlds where we were only expecting towns. Powers and Prophecies came and went, people rose and fell and through it all the Black Company existed. In different shapes, in different forms, with many purposes but always surviving. I loved reading this series and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in this world.

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Water Sleeps (The Chronicles of the Black Company #9)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Water Sleeps

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glen Cook

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 480

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

15-20 years after the end of She is the Darkness. The Black Company has been reduced to being a gang under the leadership of Murgen’s wife and Sleepy, Murgen’s apprentice. Sleepy’s goal is to get to the Glittering Plain and free the Black Company, get revenge on those who put them there and to kill Lady’s sister. But the Company as a gang is a mere shadow of the Company as a Military Company.

But as has been shown in previous books, even Shadows have teeth. And Sleepy takes the Company, present and past, to a place that even Croaker couldn’t imagine.

 

My Thoughts:

The devolving of the Black Company continues. It was sad to see. The two feuding mages, getting old, having a stroke? A military company reduced to a straggling, struggling ragamuffin group of neerdowells. Yet this was just as compelling a story as the previous ones. Cook does a fantastic job of showing a real face in a fantasy world.

I liked Sleepy better than Murgen as a narrator but I suspect more of that had to do with my dislike of Murgen’s out of body, through time, traveling. Being in one place and one time was rather refreshing.

The ending was pretty obvious and would have actually been a pretty good end to the series. There is one more book so I’m looking forward to seeing how Cook “really” wraps things up.

She is the Darkness (The Chronicles of the Black Company #8)

c31364f358bf2542aeeedc136939b717This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: She is the Darkness

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glen Cook

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 477

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Murgen continues on as the Standardbearer and the Chronicler.  Croaker drives the Black Company onward towards Katovar, even as he begins to realize that Katovar might not be the Haven he thinks it is.

Shadowlords ahead of them, betraying employers behind them and nutcases all over.

 

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Murgen has pretty much stopped his uncontrolled travels through time and that made all the difference to me.

There is so much going on with these stories now. Murgen is dealing with the fact that his wife isn’t dead and he has a son. The Black company is dealing with Katovar and nobody knows exactly what it is or what it means for them.  The death goddess and Croaker and Lady’s daughter continue on their little path. The Lady’s sister continues her games just for the kicks of it. What she wants or will plan to do is beyond guessing.

There is a lot of action. Lots of battles and magical fights. I loved it. This series continues strong and I am pleased with that. Sometimes these things take a downward turn.

Bleak Seasons (The Chronicles of the Black Company #7) 3…

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Title: Bleak Seasons

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glen Cook

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 317

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Taking place mostly concurrently with the previous book, Dreams of Steel, we follow Murgen, the standardbearer, as he tries to keep the Old Crew alive in the besieged town. All the while he is having spells that throw him into the past and into the future but he can never remember anything from them.

 

My Thoughts:

This was confusing as all get out. While Cook has the writing skills to pull it off, I still didn’t like it. Going from present to past to future to simply ‘now’ [which might be any of the 3] made for a very distracting read.

While I liked Murgen, I am not so much a fan of what Croaker, now the Captain, is becoming. Which is Cook’s goal I believe. Can’t have anyone becoming too heroic and hence possibly be a hero. Heaven forbid.

I am invested enough in the series that a book like this doesn’t throw me off but I have to admit, I am sick to death of books that try to yank my chain in one way or another.

Dreams of Steel (The Chronicles of the Black Company #6)

ccc7d556ecd9a5e8b002db400f3b9c7eThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Dreams of Steel

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glen Cook

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 383

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Lady must pull together a whole new Black Company, as most of the group gathered in the last book were beaten. With Croaker out of the picture, she must fulfill the obligation to the Taglians and take down the Shadowmasters, her former apprentices known as the Taken.

Problem is, the Taglian leaders don’t want her, or the Black Company, around any longer; and a Death Cult gets involved and tries to make the Lady the death goddess’s avatar; and the Shadowmasters play their games against the Lady and each other.

“It’s complicated” only scratches the surface!

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers Ahead Matey’s!

Thankfully, we learn relatively early on that Croaker’s not dead, but being held captive by the Lady’s sister, a Taken and now a Shadowmaster named, Catcher? I can’t keep track of which Taken is which much less when they start with the whole new identity thing and switch it all up.

Needless to say, I’m glad he’s alive even if he played a very small part in this book.

I really wish I had read these back in the day when I was part of the SFBC. These books make Steven Erikson’s whole Malazan Book of the Fallen series look like the bloated up pompous bag of wind that they turned into in the last 3 books. The Black Company books are superior in almost every way and as a bonus, I get answers.  Well, I guess late to the Black Company party is better than never.

The reveal at the end, about the Lady’s child, was almost so not there that I had to read the couple of paragraphs a couple of times to make sense of it. Little things like that are why I prefer an omniscient narrator style instead of the unreliable. But it fits with the whole tone of the series and Cook writes it so it isn’t clunky, choppy or distracting.

Finally, I enjoy Cook’s writing. I don’t skim. Anything. It is interesting and he does a great job of hiding little nuggets of info among otherwise random things. It is kind of fun actually. All the battles, fighting and magic make it ok too *wink*

Shadow Games (The Chronicles of the Black Company #5)

191744eb46f18fdc599820469b74f755This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Shadow Games
Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: SFF
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Croaker, along with the few remaining members of the Black Company, head towards a fabled city where the Black Company supposedly originated hundreds of years ago.

Along the way, they pick up a “few” more members and end up battling Taken that have faked their death.

Right at the end it looks like both Croaker [who is now the captain for the Black Company] and the Lady are dead, but I won’t be sure until I read the next book.

 

My Thoughts:

These books are touted as “dark” and “anti-hero” and supposedly had a great influence on Steven Erikson and his epic Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I can see that but where Erikson went wrong, in my opinion, was that he left out the humor. You can only grind my nose into so much existential crap before I start to hate you as an author.

And that is why I can continue to like these books. There are grand flashes of humor at just the right points so you don’t get mired down in the muck of ever ongoing battles for survival. Not laugh out loud moments, at least not for me, but deft touches that brought my spirits up and enhanced my enjoyment of reading about a group of mercenaries who really have no reason to continue their existence.

It was grand fun watching the Black Company just steam roll over all opponents for the first 90% of the book. They just couldn’t lose. Which I think was a setup by Cook, on purpose. Because that last 10% made me wonder how these books were going to keep on going. So of course I’m going to keep reading. I was manipulated by Cook, realized it and ended up liking it.

 

The Silver Spike (The Chronicles of the Black Company #4)

 f1f330879533305fc92afb1b68275e15This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Silver Spike

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glen Cook

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: SFF

Pages: 318

Format: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Since the Dominator’s essence was put into a silver spike and embedded into a young tree godling, the Lady is without her power and the White Rose is now just a girl, things should be just fine, right?

Ha.

A bunch of amateur criminals steal the spike and set off a chain of events that lead to the utter destruction of one of the Taken, the Limper, and a grand adventure.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a FUN read. Bumbling low level criminals get in way over their heads, a Taken just goes nuts and cuts a huge swathe of destruction through the continent and the White Rose leads one final mission for the rebellion.

It was everything I wanted in a fantasy book. There were no real good guys, but since this was a Black Company book, I wasn’t expecting there to be any. Just a bunch of neerdowells mixed in with some really powerful guys.

And the White Rose hooking up with a potato farmer turned soldier and returning to potato farming at the end? It made me laugh and yet it was the perfect ending for her. She needs a lifetime of the mundane to make up for all that came before.

The journalistic approach of the previous books was kept for this one as well. I like that.

The White Rose (The Chronicles of the Black Company #3)

azure_af833d0a97f1ecf6a594503a7370cd1dThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The White Rose

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glenn Cook

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 343

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Black Company, fully thrown in with the White Rose, is hiding out in the desert protected by the Rose’s null magic field.

Resurrectionists are still hard at work trying to raise the Dominator and the Lady is gathering an unstoppable army to finish off the Black Company and the White Rose.

 

My Thoughts:

Enjoyed this and Cutter is still an amusing narrator.

A good adventure story that has a semi-happy ending. The Black Company is disbanded at the end, but making one final trip to their origins to drop off the vaunted Chronicles. Cutter and the Lady hook up [no surprise there!] and the White Rose has fulfilled her destiny in dealing with the Dominator.

This very much seemed like an ending to a series. I know there are more, but perhaps this was the original trilogy? If I don’t like the next book or 2, at least I liked this trilogy. It was good stuff.

 

Shadows Linger (The Chronicles of the Black Company #2)

ed8970bb85989c33fe3e3abacabcb178This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Shadows Linger

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company

Author: Glenn Cook

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 320

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Black Company must hump it to the back end of the world where the Dominator sleeps and is trying to rise again.

And guess where Raven and the little deaf girl have gone? To the end of the world, because who would look for them there?

So Croaker and the others must stop the Dominator from arising, keep Raven safe and keep the Lady from knowing they are actively working against her in this regards.

That is a lot of knives to juggle. And the Black Company gets cut, badly.

 

My Thoughts:

Not quite as interesting as the former book, but it deals with a smaller cast of crew for the larger part of the book, so that was nice.

A small town occupation with its own issues that simply bleed over and cause problems for the Black company. Raven trying to survive.

Lots of bloody action from from one on one action to a large magical battle with the whole town involved. And it all ends with the Black Company being almost destroyed and on the run from servants of the Dominator AND the Lady herself. Not a good place to be in.

I think I enjoyed this just as much as the previous book though.

 

The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #1)

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Title: The Black Company

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company #1

Author: Glenn Cook

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 282

 

Synopsis:

A mercenary group is fighting for a bunch of demi-gods, who appear to be the badguys from a previous age of power.

Between in-fighting, prophecy and ineptitude, the Black Company must fight those without and those within.

 

My Thoughts:

You can see how this influenced Steven Erikson, but thankfully Cook doesn’t fall into the trap of multi-chapter philosophizing. Cook writes.

Abrupt changes in topic and whatnot made this a very jerky read. But it sure was effective. It fit the tight, choppy style of fighting that the Black Company excelled at. I wasn’t a big fan of the “nobody is the bad guy, nobody is the good guy” but I’ve read enough of it before that it wasn’t a new thing to me and that helped a lot.

I plan to read more of this series. A black, turgid river of dark fantasy awaits.