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The Grim Company by Luke Scull

The Grim Company (edition 2013)

by Luke Scull (Author)

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1871163,175 (3.45)8
Title:The Grim Company
Authors:Luke Scull (Author)
Info:Roc (2013), Edition: 1st, 400 pages
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The Grim Company by Luke Scull



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It was a little slow getting started, but then it drew me in and I loved the ending. Everybody is flawed in this story and chaos rules the day. ( )
  arning | Jun 19, 2017 |
Did he really just? He didn't! Did he? Review to come.. ( )
  BookFrivolity | Apr 23, 2016 |
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. ( )
1 vote DabOfDarkness | Oct 31, 2015 |
JRR Tolkien casts a long shadow across Fantasy fiction. He proved that fantasy fiction can have literary merit. It was a lofty example he set. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, famous for his pulp crime stories, "genre fiction is not an excuse for poor writing".

Thankfully, for fantasy readers, others have risen to great heights. George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Gene Wolf all spring immediately to mind.
At a less lofty standard, but still excellent within the genre are writers like Feist, Sanderson, Gaiman, Jordan.

I'd even argue tooth and nail with someone that Weiss & Hickman's Dragonlance Legends Trilogy transcends that mythos and delivers a character-rich epic fantasy story; Raistlin Majere is right up there with great characters in fantasy fiction.

Which brings me to The Grimm Company.

Discerning fantasy enthusiasts deserve better than this. Pull out the swearing and graphic violence and you could slap a Forgotten Realms banner on this book. The writing does not rise beyond that standard, and even then I'd be casting dispersion on RA Salvatore and his solid Drizzt Do'Urden stories.

The great Fantasy novels are evocative, rich immersive experiences. They have memorable characters of depth and humanity. They are told with strong narrative voices. All of this can be achieved within the tropes of the genre. Heck, the best push these boundaries further.

The Grim Company felt like a 15 year old boys concept of a fantasy novel. The characters are cardboard cutout caricatures. Their behaviour labored, obvious and lacking depth or defining qualities. In the case of one character - he's outright annoying. The writing itself heavy handed and littered with chunks of mood-killing exposition. It feels like fantasy by the numbers written on autopilot.

The other thing that really bugged me is the current trend for "gritty" fantasy with violence and swearing. No matter how old words like 'F*ck, Sh*t, C**t" really are, they're in such common parlance today that they ring too modern for the context. I would prefer authors be more creative with their curses.

The descriptions of violence lack impact the same way fake blood in zombie splatter films lack impact. It does not add depth to the story. It does not add depth to characters. It's just a gleeful wash of (red) colour. You want colourful, progressive shocking violence? Go watch the scene in Jackie brown where Louis shoots Melanie, or Pulp Fiction when Vincent shoots Marvin. Tarantino was a great student of film and he really understood this stuff. There's a reason *that* scene in Reservoir dogs was so shocking despite nothing actually being shown. This can be translated to the written word too.

I don't get off on critisicing authors - it's a tough gig. But I wish more thought and art went into this story. This novel is not Rembrandt, it's not even dogs playing pool. It is a black heavy-metal T-shirt with some flaming skulls on it. Some people will dig that. I hated it.
( )
1 vote StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
This book was definitely a pleasant surprise or maybe I should say unpleasant since it's supposed to be in the "grimdark" genre. The good thing about it is that it's not only dark and gritty, there's humor in there but it doesn't feel forced or campy like a lot of fantasy humor. All of the humor centers around Davarus Cole, a brilliant creation of a character type I haven't seen in fantasy before.

This is epic fantasy that's contained in under 500 pages, has plenty of action, really cool magic, an interesting back story and extremely likable characters. It's really brutal, occasionally a little over the top in the believability department, but didn't feel like it was forced. There's a second book but the first one does NOT end with a cliffhanger.

I did this on audio and the narrator was good but one strange thing is that he alternated between calling Davarus' dagger "Mage Bane" and "Mega Bane". The first time he said "Mega Bane" I was worried the story was really going to suck, I almost stopped because it sounded like something from a video game.

In the end I'm really glad I picked up this unknown (to me) author's work and I can't wait for the next book to come out. ( )
  ragwaine | Feb 9, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 178185131X, Hardcover)

The grey granite walls of Dorminia rise to three times the height of a man, surrounding the city on all sides save for the south, where the Broken Sea begins. The stone is three-foot thick at its weakest point and can withstand all but the heaviest assault. The Crimson Watch patrol the streets even as Salazar's Mindhawks patrol the skies. The Grey City was not always so. But something has changed. Something has broken at its heart. Perhaps the wild magic of the dead Gods has corrupted Dorminia's Magelord, as it has the earth itself. Or perhaps this iron-fisted tyranny is the consequence of a lifetime of dark deeds...Still, pockets of resistance remain. When two formidable Highlanders save the life of a young rebel, it proves the foundation for an unlikely fellowship. A fellowship united against tyranny, but composed of self-righteous outlaws, crippled turncoats and amoral mercenaries. A grim company. But with the world entering an Age of Ruin, this is not a time of heroes...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:13 -0400)

The Gods are dead. The Magelord Salazar and his magically enhanced troops, the Augmentors, crush any dissent they find in the minds of the populace. On the other side of the Broken Sea, the White Lady plots the liberation of Dorminia, with her spymistresses, the Pale Women. Demons and abominations plague the Highlands. The world is desperately in need of heroes. But what they get instead are a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans and an oddly capable manservant: the Grim Company.… (more)

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