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review 2018-08-27 04:19
Anti heroes and more...
The Grim Company - Luke Scull

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

It’s been a while since a good fantasy has come by my way and with anti heroes! It’s different and nice to see even though the world building and plot is typical fantasy but it’s written so well that it’s enjoyable and with some occasional funny parts you’re left with a memorable book and want to keep going in the series.

 

The world building is well done. Mages are dictators of their own cities and have the general populace under their thumb. Magic is pretty much only done by Magelords (not including the band of sorceresses that are mentioned). Dorminia is protected by Augmentors (elite units that have enhanced magical items) which is a fine idea. The mindhawks (birds that can read your mind to see if you’re thinking thoughts to overthrow the Magelord) is also a really neat concept that I liked.

 

The plot itself is intricate and it takes time to get fully immersed in it. Once you’re familiar with the world and setting it’s well worth the time invested and although it may be a bit hard to keep track of everyone at first, the action scenes are well written, the dialogue is real albeit vulgar at times (but it keeps it real), and the battle at the end is epic. Everything is somewhat interconnected and once the pieces all come together it makes for one great story.

 

The characters are a mixed bag and you have a variety to choose as a favorite. Cole seems to be the butt of many jokes despite his main role in the story. I found myself bursting out laughing at some moments that featured him - although I have to add, he’s not a very likable character. He’s naive, arrogant, and a bit of a dolt. But that’s what makes his role more interesting. Even I had to agree with Jerek when he said: “The boy’s a hero after all.”

 

My favorite would be Brodar and Jerek. Their background stories are interesting and they compliment each other. Brodar is the cool headed fighter who’s going on past his prime, whereas Jerek is the hot headed one that has a constant chip on his shoulder. They make a great duo and even while fighting together it makes for an exciting battle scene to read.

 

I sympathize with Barandas even though he was for the ‘bad guys’. He was loyal to a fault and was your model soldier. But he had a nice likable personality and although he was loyal to the Magelord you had to admire that in him. He’s good at his job and he was also trying to set things right. It made me sad on his demise. It was worth reading his one on one fight with Brodar.

 

There are so many questions to be answered! Lots of things were left hanging and I am looking forward to reading book two of this series. If you like a good fantasy with anti heroes with various flaws, some bits of dark humor,  hefty battle scenes and blood coming from all over this is definitely for you.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-23 15:50
The Grim Company isn't Grim at all, so I won't be Keeping it Company!
The Grim Company - Luke Scull

 

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This review is going to be a list of what I didn't like:

The book's name: not original!

That I could not relate to a single character:
I wanted to kick Cole. If he was supposed to come off as a character who behaves like an ass and yet readers would end up loving him, he didn't!

 

Kayne was an old veteran who kept thinking he was too old to fight and yet managed to do away with a group of soldiers. Truthfully, all his talk about having trouble when pissing turned me off right from the start. I did not warm up to him.

 

Jerek was an idiot who was there to... I have no idea what he was doing in the book and neither do I care.

 

Yllandris was a sorceress who thought all women were jealous of her because she was that beautiful. Reminded me of Melisandre from GoT. I didn't enjoy watching GoT and stopped after the first few episodes. Characters like hers are one of the many reasons I did that.Anything that I know from the later seasons is when my husband talks about the show or from the latest buzz on the internet.

 

The rest of them didn't even make this much of an impression.

It isn't even that I wanted to like the characters. After all, I love Jorg from Mark Lawrence's books and he isn't likeable at all. He is also full of himself but manages to make that work. Cole couldn't!   

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Almost 20% and I could find nothing original or something to look forward to as I read ahead. I have suffered through such books in the past (yeah, I mean Eragon) but no more.

 

Let us take a look at some of the things that bugged the heck outta me:


The gods were literally pulled down and thrown off their pedestals. If you want to read how amazingly this ploy can be used, read the Malazan Books of the Fallen.

 

There are Horse Lords and they are called Yahan. Need I explain this one?

 

Lackluster dialogues

P.S. I won't be rating this book because I never finished it. Needless to say that I won't be continuing with the series either.

 

3

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review 2016-07-20 10:44
Sword of the North review
Sword of the North - Luke Scull

As slow as I was in making my way through this sequel to Luke Scull's impressive debut, The Grim Company, one might think I was disappointed, bored, or some nasty combination of the two.

In fact, I was naught but entertained ... and exceedingly time-poor.

I've developed something of a pattern to my purchasing of books of late. The ones I truly want to read, to savour, to honour the author's work by paying the full fee - they are the books I buy from a good ol' fashioned bookstore in hard copy. Those that fleetingly catch my fancy, I pick up for my e-reader. Sword of the North was one of those I purchased from a bookstore. But as I read it, I realised physical books are rarely as close to me as my phone, and by extension, my e-reader. As such, when in a line, or with 5 minutes to spare at work, or even when seated on the royal commode, the e-books typically get read...

Thankfully, at least in the case of Sword of the North, the wait was more than worth it.

Scull here traverses the tricky landscape of the middle book in the series by splitting most of his main characters that previously formed the Grim Company, and each having them go off on an adventure that continues to build his world. Except these are the kinds of adventures that involve death, dismemberment, dark magic, torture, enslavement, and a little anal rape.

So yes, this book does stays rooted firmly in the Grimdark sub-genre which is becoming ever more popular, and I, for one, am exceptionally glad for it.

Scull's characters are still compelling - if a little overly familiar - and he puts them through their paces in such a way as the reader is always left wanting more. There are a few character interactions which were a little too convenient (or manufactured) for my tastes but otherwise you will find yourself willing Eremul to get someone to listen to him, hoping Brodar finds his wife, and wincing for Cole as he hits rock bottom.

But the best part of Sword of the North is the way it ends - with such a perfect cliffhanger (and then satisfying coda afterwards) that if you are anything like me, you will be cursing yourself for finishing this before the third book in the series has been released.

A great middle book in an already exceptional series from an author who is already turning heads, Sword of the North comes highly recommended to all fans of Joe Abercrombie.

4 Vats of Birthing Blood for Sword of the North.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1508788602
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review 2016-01-14 03:05
The Grim Company review
The Grim Company - Luke Scull

It took me quite some time to read this debut novel from Luke Scull, but don't let that fool you. I plough through books that just barely interest me, my mind wandering as I realise this is another 2 or 3 star read at best. In those cases, there is little to compel me to read every sentence closely; to understand each nuance as it is revealed.

But with novels like The Grim Company, it's a different story (if you'll pardon the very obvious pun). This is grimdark fantasy done well. Detailed enough with the world-building to be intriguing, but fast-paced enough with the action to keep the reader turning the pages, wanting more. There s no getting bogged down in lengthy descriptions of trees in a particular set of woods, or belaboured back-stories filled with unimportant information, just so a character can seem so rounded they should probably roll down any hill they happen upon.

Comparisons to Joe Abercrombie's writing have been many and loudly voiced, and I agree with them to a point. Because The Grim Company is more Abercrombie-lite. It's not as brutal or as unwavering in its dedication to most everybody being an anti-hero. There are more idealistic characters on display in this first book in the trilogy than there are in all of Abercrombie's works put together. And that's not at all a bad thing - it's just different. Abercrombie's voice is also harsher; his perspective of the world more jaded. Scull's, by comparison, seems to be somewhat lighter.

Brodar Kayne is a fun, very familiar character from other fantasy novels; Davarus Cole is enjoyable as the wannabe hero who everyone else views as only slightly better than an ass; and the half-mage Eremul provides a nicely varied POV of someone with a major disability in amongst people who live or die seemingly without the ability to be badly wounded and suffer the consequences of this for the rest of their days. Most of these characters could again be likened to those from Abercrombie's world (Logen Ninefingers, Jezal dan Luthar, and Sand dan Glotka respectively), but they are varied enough in at least two out of three instances to stand on their own.

In short, this was a very promising beginning from a new writer, and I'm extremely keen to get my hands on the second book in the series after some of what is promised in the last 15 pages of this one. And for me, that's a very rare thing.

4 Better The Devils You Know for The Grim Company.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1154314872?book_show_action=false
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review 2015-10-31 23:26
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
The Grim Company - Luke Scull

Set in a dystopianized fantasy world, a set of heroes comes forth to fight evil, or at least, to save their own skins. Young Davarus Cole boldly steps forward, believing with every molecule that he is a true hero. Meanwhile, Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf, two highlanders on the run from a powerful sorcerer who took over their home village, are dragged into the mix. Plenty of powerful entities battle for total domination.

I heard a lot of good things about this book and went into it truly expecting to like it. Unfortunately, it fell way short. I almost gave up on it but because I had heard such great things about it, I didn’t want to give up on it. Sad to say, the ending did not justify my time spent on it.

The set up looked very promising. I liked that the main characters were pretty eclectic in age. That is good point in favor of this book –  no age discrimination here! Brodar and Jerek are past their prime yet still vital to the plot. They have their own histories and reasons for continuing on. The author doesn’t skimp in describing their aging bodies – they have trouble peeing and issues with hemorrhoids. But beyond that I never really bonded with them.

Then there is Davarus Cole, a young wanna be hero and member of the Shards, a secret organization that works to overthrow the evil Salazar. At first, I found him quite silly and full of himself. Yet, despite all the crap that gets thrown at him in this book, he perseveres in believing in himself. I grew a bit found of him by the end.

The ladies are few and far between in this book, unless you count all the nameless prostitutes and the few rape victims. Sasha, a member of the Shards, takes a long time to come into her abilities. We’re told early on that she can handle herself, but for most of the book she is a sex object that is carried by the men from one scene to the next. Eventually, she gets to use her crossbow and show us her skills and determination. There are some evil powerful ladies, most of whom remain vague for most of the book. There is a ton of jokes made by the male characters about violence towards women. If this was balanced out by more competent female characters, it would not have bothered me. However, this is not a balanced book in this regard.

The adventure plot is a bit predictable and I kept waiting for something more to be thrown in. I guess the most interesting bits were the characters’ pasts –  Brodar’s clash with the evil sorcerer from his village that sent him fleeing; Davarus’s upbringing that created his believe that he was indeed a true hero. While these things had influence on the plot, they were not the main gristle of the book. The world building wasn’t all that unique, though it has potential to be built upon. I found myself somewhat bored with this book and just waiting for one of two things to happen: The story to get super good and prove all my doubts wrong; or for it to end.

The Narration: Gerard Doyle did a really good job with this book. He had several accents and ages to portray, along with the few ladies who had more than one line. He made them all distinct and I never had to guess who was talking.

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