This had been on my list of things to read or listen to for a long while before I found it on Audible. I was a bit put off by the reviewer who said it..Show More » was not suitable as an audio book. Some books can be harder to follow than others if you don't have the text to refer to. I have never even sampled anything by Glen Cook in a bookshop so I wasn't sure what to expect. But since it had been on my list for so long I downloaded it impulsively and was very surprised to discover that it is one of the most captivating books I have listened to for a while. It is very easy to follow. The sentences are very short and the plot is very simple. Nevertheless the language is evocative and rich. The words are well-chosen and there is an admirable economy of style that is quite rare in fantasy writing. The background is interesting and quite possibly the unacknowledged inspiration for many more recent fantasy novels. The conception is seminal and bold. I am really enjoying it.
Different from the first story – but not in a bad way at all
Story – 4.5/5
Where the first in the series has a constant retreat from..Show More » an overwhelming rebellion force and regular epic fights and battles, this 2nd novel is centered around a less epic problem, which develops into an even bigger threat throughout the story. There is also an element of setting the story up for the next novel in the initial trilogy (out of the 10 books)
The narration/story telling is split between the only narrator of the first novel (Croaker) and a new character called Shed. Glen Cook shows his skill at character development as you see Shed (a timid inn owner) develop into a new confident man. At times I thought the development was too quick, but I had to keep reminding myself that months were passing between chapters at times, and not days, and in reflection, the pace was well balanced.
There are still plenty of fights, and a larger scale battle towards the end for those of us who love the action, but this series is really developing into something special, and the more familiar with the main band of characters that we become, the more enjoyment we get out of the story. The ending of this story leads very nicely into the 3rd novel, which I won’t waste my time in downloading.
The entire story flowed smoothly and at a nice pace, with no confusion for what was going on (like the beginning of the first story). Glen cook writes in a concise way, but this does not take away from his excellent use of the English language.
Performance – 4.5/5
I had a few minor issues with Marc Vietor in the first novel, which were ironed out by the end. In this novel, I had no issues with the voice acting or performance whatsoever - which could be due to being used to him by now. His dark and dramatic tone of voice suits the style of the story quite nicely.
A fantastic ending to the initial trilogy of the Black Company. Trilogy endings can sometimes be a bit underwhelming but it certainly wasn’t an i..Show More »ssue here.
Story – 5/5
The White Rose, in my opinion, incorporated some of the best bits from each of the first 2 novels. It took the large scale epic fights and battles against overwhelming forces from the first, and the split narration/character building from the second. Glen Cook has developed something special here, and I would recommend all fantasy fans to read it.
The fights, the discoveries and build-up were all told masterfully. GC’s concise, but rich, writing allowed for a great pace, but an easy to follow story. Some may say that he doesn’t describe things enough, but I personally found this refreshing. He just gives you what you need to keep the story flowing smoothly.
The fantasy elements are quite different from what I am used to. These, along with the grey moral areas and strong military point of view, are what help to make this series stand out. As this was written in the ‘80’s, you can tell that it has influenced a lot of modern fantasy since, and it definitely doesn’t incorporate the Tolkien clichés that seems quite common in this genre
I expected a lot from the ending, and I got more. It gives good enough closure if you want to stop here, or have a break from the Black Company for a while. If you enjoyed it as much as me though, you will be left wanting more, and I will not be delaying to download book 4.
Performance – 4.5/5
Marc Vietor turned out to be an excellent narrator. All of character acting was distinguishable and I felt that throughout the trilogy, he aged each of the characters voices (to represent the many years that the trilogy spanned), which a really nice touch. His narration also suits the dark tone of the story.
Don’t be put off if you didn’t enjoy him hugely in the first novel. I had some issues, but found that he grew on me as I continued to listen.
Not quite as enjoyable as the initial trilogy, but still a fantastic read
Story – 4/5
There wasn’t as much intrigue and new fantasy ..Show More »discoveries in this book, as it had mostly been done in the initial trilogy. There was a lot more character development though, as Croaker now has to lead the Black Company, so we are seeing it from a different perspective altogether. There is also a love story involved, which is subtle and believable, and has been built upon very nicely from the previous novels.
Where this story really shines though, is in the final 3 hours, where the battles and skirmishes are plentiful. I also enjoyed the political elements that accompanied it. The ending was excellent, and there are plenty of surprises in there that I did not see coming at all.
This is not a standalone sequel though, there is too much left open at the end, of which I imagine “Dreams of Steel” will follow straight on from. I can’t wait to get stuck into it. This has very quickly become a favourite series of mine, and I am being careful not to rush through all 10 novels.
Performance – 4.5/5
Marc Vietor IS Croaker. Having listened to him act as Croaker for 4 books, I can’t imagine any other voice doing it. The other characters all have distinctly recognisable voices, and he does a superb job, yet again, of setting the mood and atmosphere for the entire story. The more stories I read, the better he gets as well.
This is a nice little spin-off from the main Croaker story arc; following Darling, Raven and Silent instead. This book can p..Show More »robably be read as either book 5 or 6, given that it is a spin off, and book 4 left us with a very open end. I chose to read it as book 5, as it is set in the same period of time as book 4, and was published in this order.
There is a lot of fighting and battles between evil and….well…not so evil… in this book and it all builds up very nicely throughout until the final couple of hours, where it will have you hooked like I was. The “grey” characterisation that Glen Cook employs is prominent once again and very nicely done – the only black and white characters seem to be the Dominator and Darling. The prose is excellent, but concise and the entire story is very fast paced as a consequence. A very nice addition to the Black Company books.
Performance – 4.5/5
Jonathan Davis may have been a change of narrator from the first 4 books, but this is fine, as it is not from Croaker’s perspective any more. I actually found him to be equally as good as Marc Vietor, the only negative being that his reading could have been a little quicker.
His voice acting is excellent and distinctive, and he adds to the dark tone of the story very nicely. If you are not a fan of strong American accents though, you may want to listen to the sample before purchasing.
A great conclusion to the Books of the South. There wasn't as much action as in previous books, which has been one of this s..Show More »eries' biggest assets, but what you get instead is a fantastic game of power, where Lady brutally plays the politicians, religious heads and faction leaders to re-establish the Black Company's power, and gain revenge on those who destroyed it.
I enjoyed the change of viewpoint in this story. We got so used to Croaker having a heart and caring for his men that having a cold and (almost) emotionless protagonist lead the company was quite refreshing.
The big discovery near the end didn't come as big of a shock to me as I think it was supposed to (although this may be different for others), but I loved it all the same, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series to see what comes of it. If you have enjoyed the books thus far, you are sure to love this one too.
Performance - 3/5
Although I understand the change of narrator for this audio book (the change of main character viewpoint from a man to a woman), I wasn’t a huge fan. Lady’s voice was dominant in the story, but we already had a good voice from Marc Vietor for this character, which I would have preferred them to continue using
Rachel Butera was good at reading the story; describing scenes and helping to build up the dark atmosphere, but some of her character voices were quite bad at times. Not all of them were awful, but some male characters were particularly bad, and it did detract from the story a little.
I very much enjoyed Water Sleeps after not quite the same enthusiasm for Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness. It is not the best paced story but it ..Show More »generally rattles along and builds out significantly the Company, Kina and Glittering Plain back stories.
There is some good character building - we learn much more about some former bit part players (not least because one is the annalist).
While some new characters come to centre stage there is a sense throughout that others are lining up for their final curtain call.
It could have been an ending - but it isn't - and it sets things up nicely for the last book.