All Darkness Met (The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #3) ★★★☆ ½

alldarkness (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: All Darkness Met
Series: The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #3
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 341
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Star Rider is not some half witted old kindly wizard who pats people on the head. It turns out he is a master manipulator in thrall to some unknown forces. HE is the agent behind the wars down through the years and it is time for war between the Dread Empire and the Western Nations.

The barbarian war general from the previous book, Ragnarson, ends up being the regent when his wife dies and the queen, who he has been shagging on the side, dies in childbirth. He must fight overwhelming odds, traitors, unstable magic and his own friends trying to kill him.

We also get a brief history of O-Shin, the super powerful magician who is currently “ruling” the Dread Empire. He manages to stay alive and prevent total war until he is killed by accident by someone who is looking for their missing friend.

A running battle is fought, both magical and mundane, and millions of people die. The Dread Empire is pushed back, not defeated and the Star Rider continues his game of war for his unknown reasons.

 

My Thoughts:

Ragnarson was the main character and he’s just a jerk. Cheating on his wife just doesn’t work for me.

One thing that dragged this down for me was Mocker’s kidnapping, torture, brain washing and eventual death. He was a character that I actually liked and it felt so wrong for him to go down the path he did. It also made me realize just how nasty magic is. Mocker was compelled to try to kill Ragnarson, his best friend. His free will was negated and he had no choice. I can’t stand that. Even with being a Christian and acknowledging God’s Sovereign Will, I still am a champion of Free Will. That’s why I like Neal Asher as an author, because he and I have extremely different ideas on what Free Will actually is. But anyway. Mocker is killed by Ragnarson when Mocker tries to assassinate him. It was just so wrong.

The battles were fantastic. Bloody, tense, uncertain. No side had all the dibs on getting things right. Somebody always messed up and cost countless lives each time. There was no Chosen One, there was no Victory except complete and utter annihilation of the other side and that didn’t happen because of that wretched Star Rider.

The revelations that he is being punished, in thrall or something to higher powers opens up whole new potential vistas for plot lines. Or it might just be a line that Cook threw in and never visits again. If Mocker can die, then I’m convinced that ANYTHING can happen, however bad, good or stupid it may be.

The confusion I felt in the second book was gone. Lots of references to the previous books helped ground me and kept me from being swept out to sea. I think that fact alone is what raised this up half star, even with Mocker’s demise. I liked Mocker, which is why I keep going on about him.Not sure who I can like in any future books. Of course, Cook might skip a generation or 10 and bring up a whole new cast. I guess I’ll find out when I read the next book in a month or two.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. A Shadow of All Night Falling (Book 1)
  2. October’s Baby (Book 2)
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October’s Baby (The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #2) ★★★☆☆

october (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: October’s Baby
Series: The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #2
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 247
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Ragnarson, the mercenary leader from the previous book, gets pulled back into leading a campaign for a queen who’s kingdom is falling apart after her husband’s death. Part of the problem is that it is suspected that her heir is actually a changeling switched at birth. Another issue is that the Dread Empire is working behind the scenes, this time with the faces of the children of the sorcerers from the first book. Nothing like daddy issues to get folks riled up.

In the end, there is huge battle, magic gets negated for the duration of the battle, both sorcerous children are either slain or depleted of power and the heirs of the kingdom under dispute are poisoned by a mysterious character. Yep, the book ends with kids dying from poison.

 

My Thoughts:

I was just confused for most of this book. A lot of names get thrown around, a lot of places mentioned, MANY battles are referenced and not a one could I remember from the previous book. It felt like this was referencing previous books that I had not read, but I believe I am reading these in publication order. So either Cook has the idea for prequels or he’s just throwing stuff at the reader “because”.

Outside of that, I was still confused. Shifts of perspective and time, while clearly outlined at the beginning of each chapter, sometimes covered years and might only be a couple of pages. While 2 days might take up 10 pages. I just kind of held on and got the gist of the story.

Sorcerers, politics, big battle. Kids dying. That part just weirded me out. Neither of the heirs were actually the king’s, but while we know about the changeling, I don’t believe we ever know who fathered the heir actual. So why the heir actual had to die, I have no idea.

Not a bad read, but I felt like I was constantly in a mudhole fighting to get to firm ground and then sliding back into the pit.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

  1. A Shadow of All Night Falling (Book 1)

A Shadow of All Night Falling (The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #1) ★★★☆ ½

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 

 

Title:         A Shadow of All Night Falling
Series:      The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #1
Author:    Glen Cook
Rating:     3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:      Fantasy
Pages:       256
Format:    Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A young boy watches as his mother is burned as a witch. In consequence, he eventually goes to the Dread Empire and learns all he can of magic. Upon his return, he destroys all the sorcerers and breaks the Kingdom.

Looking into the future, he sees that the fate of the world will revolve around him and a woman. He spends hundreds of years in preparation. Said woman falls in love and marries another man. Her sorcerous brothers get involved, as does another immortal man and some armies. Varth will do whatever he has to to get the woman on his side to save the world.

But Varth’s powers came at a cost. The Dread Empire has waited for hundreds of years for Varth to be the perfect unknowing pawn and today, the cost of his education comes due.

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers

First off, there is a character who is named The Mocker. He starts out fat and silly and talks in the 3rd person. I would say that Steven Erikson pretty much lifted this character wholesale to create his character of Krup, the spy master of Darujistahn in his Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

You alse see a lot of pre-Black Company ideas being formed here. I haven’t read enough other Cook to tell if he trots out certain ideas in every book/series or if this is just a “fantasy” thing for him. Either way, this reads like Black Company, the Rough Draft.

It’s a fun story and I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Also a good book to shove into peoples’ faces if they ever start talking about fates, predestination, and how things are out of their control.

Thankfully, this ends much like most of the Black Company books. So it’s your call if that’s happy or not. I was satisfied with how things turned out.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge