✓ Read Þ The Grim Company by Luke Scull Ü The Difference Between A Hero And A Killer Lies In The Ability To Justify Dark Deeds But This Is The Age Of Ruin And There Are No HeroesFive Hundred Years Ago, The World Was Destroyed In The Celestial Godswar Seeking To Throw Off The Shackles Of The Deities Who Created Them, A Cabal Of Mages Rose Up And Made War Upon The Gods Though They Won Out, It Was At A Great Cost The Ensuing Cataclysm Brought Forth The Age Of Ruin To The WorldFive Hundred Years Later, The World Limps On, Seemingly Winding Down To An Inevitable End Dystopian City States Have Arisen, Each Presided Over By One Of The Magelords Who First Made WarCorrupted, Near Immortal, And Far Too Powerful, Those Wizards Who Once Sought To Free The World Now Make War Upon Each Other, While The Helpless Populace Limp On From Day To DayInto This Blighted World, Steps Davarus Cole, A Boy Obsessed With Notions Of Heroism And Adventuring, Who Burns To Do Great Deeds One Night, In A Reckless Act, Cole Gets Himself Into A Brawl With The Authories He Quickly Finds Himself Sent Away From The City, Where The World Still Groans From The Ancient Cataclysm, And The Corpses Of Gods Lie Deep Beneath The Bedrock, Leaking Wild, Uncontrolled Magic Into The World
The world is one that is as has become popular lately very dark and gritty And it really, really wants to be dark and gritty It wants you to KNOW without a doubt how dark and gritty it is If it could it would shout at you as you walk by, SEE HOW DARK AND GRITTY I AM IF some form of word for dung can be used in a description it will be Turds are mentioned as laying around seemingly on all surfaces and in all places The great f word is used so often as to become almost yawn worthy.
I mean we shoot for dark, gritty, crude and just plain obscene.
And the book accomplishes it.
So anyway in spite of wading through mud mixed with dung the book manages to be in my opinion of course very slow We take our time getting to know all the players Many of them if not all you have probably met before Happily as the story goes on these characters shape up and the story becomes very absorbing.
In the end, I liked it.
I did find the end a bit odd as when the story winds up we get one pretty predictable outcome and one hard left that was for me unexpected view spoiler There s a character you will probably have spotted as something other than human but the announcement he makes at the books climax opens interesting possibilities It put me in mind of one of Michael Moorcock s Eternal Champion books hide spoiler I read the last four or five chapters in one go and really enjoyed all the threads converging in a good old fashioned siege punch up.
The Grim Company has been described as part of a new wave of fantasy, led by writers such as Joe Abercrombie I ve not read Abercrombie so I can t comment on any similarities To my mind though it actually feels quite retro, albeit with bad language There s plenty of talk about realism these days and this book didn t have that George RR Martin real feel to it for me That s not a condemnation fantasy doesn t have to go down that path the only similarities for me were the gore, and the fact that things very often don t turn out rosy We have a large cast with all manner of characters, the two main points of view being a barbarian northman hero who strikes a note somewhere between L Sprague de Camp s aging Conan and Terry Pratchet s Cohen much closer to the former , and a young trainee hero with inflated ideas about his own skill and importance The northman felt comfortably familiar, the slightly crap hero took a me a while to enjoy but I did warm to him and he s certainly the original I might even call the book a romp despite all the death and disaster Luke s tale actually felt rather upbeat to me perhaps because of the good humour and stoicism of one of the main protagonists and the comedy value of the other.
The best part about The Grim Company is Luke Scull s imagination, which is darn good I loved many of the ideas, the gods cast down by men, their corpses littering the world, the various magics of the magicians who did it, and the way they govern the world in the aftermath, the magical powers skills of their underlings it s a great playground for fantasy.
The story wanders through a variety of violent situations wherein our scattered characters kill monsters, bad guys, good guys, and neutral guys before being slowly drawn back together for a grand finale This for me was the high point where a lot of the build up pays off.
Two small quibbles at the end involve slight spoilers view spoiler i one character suddenly seeming to be stronger than a magically augmented juggernautii another major figure making a journey of weeks meeting one of our heroes and in that minute being called all the way back, thereby giving us some dialogue but avoiding the conflict hide spoiler
originally reviewed at Bookwraiths ReviewsWhen I think of a grimdark novel, what comes to mind is an ultra violent, amoral, uber realistic story where good guys don t even finish last they get slaughtered before the race even begins Something along the lines of this.
Okay, maybe, that isn t completely fair, but we all know the sub genre is known for those elements I mentioned above And when I returned to reading fantasy a few years ago, this new fantasy didn t agree with me at all So much so that I actually wrote a blog post bemoaning my disillusionment with the whole sub genre entitled Why Grimdark Isn t For Me Fast forward a few years I ve read grimdark books Some I ve loved A few I ve thought were meh Most I ve thought were entertaining enough Now, though, I ve encountered something I never thought possible A fun grimdark Okay, I know that fun term sounded sacrilegious Please, take a deep breath, put the fist down, and sit back in your chair, I will explain everything.
Now, Luke Scull starts The Grim Company out with a proverbial grimdark middle finger This takes the shape of a whole city being destroyed by magic while it s terrified citizens can do nothing but stand there waiting for it to happen A cataclysm that opens this book out in a most shocking and spectacular way.
The pace slows down considerable after this, but instead of a frantic sprint, a reader finds himself in a slow but steady marathon The world s delicious history being slowly revealed piece by piece Characters are introduced, thrown into the mix Amoral philosophy begins to make its appearance Fights are bloody, brutal affairs with body parts flying And the strong aroma of grimdark begins to permeate every page.
As for that world, Scull has dreamed up an epic, grimdark wonderland, fully realized and impeccably unveiled It is a land mired in the Age of Ruin a slow death that began five centuries ago when a group of wizards arose during the Age of Strife An epoch were the world s religions allied to exterminate all users of magic and killed their persecutors and the gods they worshiped.
You heard that right These sorcerers hunted down and slaughtered every deity known to exist, casting some from heaven itself All that remains of these divine beings are their slowly decomposing corpses some of which do not seem to be completely dead yet, but can still be heard moaning as miners tear out their magical flesh and blood to empower the deicidal wizards For after the Godswar, these god like wizards didn t go away but carved up the decomposing world into fiefdoms All humanity shepherded toward the end of everything by the very people who had ushered in the slow death of creation.
While it is implied that many of these deicidal wizards still live, the story here focuses on the struggle between only four of them Salazar of Dorminia, The White Lady of Thelassa, Marius of Shadowport, and The Shaman of High Fangs A conflict that revolves around their need to obtain the last great source of magic in the world rather than any desire to increase their earthly dominions because, honestly, those are pathetic excuses for the lost civilizations from the past Ensnared in this wizardly conflict is a cast of colorful characters Davarus Cole is a young man, who has been reared to be a hero in the mold of his deceased father, and into his hands has been placed an ensorcelled weapon that is destined for the heart of Salazar Plotting beside him at the rebel meetings is an orphan woman named Sasha, who views all men with the disdain that they deserve Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf enter the tale as highlanders on the run from the minions of the Shaman of High Fangs men of action who are united together in a strange bond of friendship, even though they are as different as light from day Far to the north, the sorceress Ylandris dreams and plots to become even greater than the Shaman himself And in Dorminia, Salazar s Supreme Augmentor Augmentors are magically enhanced super soldiers of the wizards is a man named Barandas a bastion of goodness and virtue who commits evil, because he believes that a strong man does what is necessary and not always what is right And rounding out this merry cast is Eremul the Halfmage the last wizard remaining in Salazar s city, though the price for his escape from the wizard s magical purge years before were his legs.
With this motley group of people and a few minor players Scull weaves an entertaining grimdark that is two parts amoral, ultra violent fantasy and one part fun epic adventure A viciously dark escapade that is somehow fun Even the moody, philosophical comments contained in the narrative don t depress as much as make you laugh at their absurdity, such as when Eremul is counseledN ot to lament the loss of your legs Instead celebrate the fact they liberated you from the evil you would have otherwise committed yet by virtue of that simple fact, you possess only half the evil of a man or will have you nodding along in agreement, as when Eremul observes that It would seem that men possessing the qualities to serve the city in the highest capacity were difficult to find Deceitfulness, cowardice, shameless arse lickery Why haven t I been made a magister yetHell, even comments that might offend your sensibilities don t really irk you too much For instance, when one character muses that The difference between a hero and a killer lies only in the ability of the former to justify every dark dead they perform to anyone who cares to listen Even themselves Especially themselves or when another proclaims that the The longer one lives the one understands that there is no inherent goodness in the world they all fit into the overall narrative so snuggly that it doesn t sound like an author proselytizing but rather the characters coming alive before your eyes and letting you get to know them.
Naturally, there are vicious physical confrontations and dazzling sorcerous displays in The Grim Company As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of the book begins with a major one However, it continues from there, albeit at a slower pace, providing enough episodes of blood and guts carelessly scattered across the pages to satisfy even the most ardent grimdark fan So if that was a major concern of yours, hopefully this news lays such doubts to rest.
By this point, I m sure you can detect that I really liked this novel Honestly, it was a nice surprise one of those times when I was not expecting much and got a lot than I bargained for in a good way Yeah, yeah, I know grimdark isn t suppose to be labeled fun, but I m just telling the truth here The Grim Company is a fun grimdark fantasy Sure, it has all the gory, moody elements of the usual grimdarks out there, but Scull mixed in a wonderfully deep, complex world with a storyline that had enough good, old fashioned fun to lighten the read, so that it was FUN Hell, I think even the Grimdark Reaper had a smile on his face after finishing this one.
See he is smiling You don t see it Huh, I would have sworn he was smiling.
The Grim Company The Grim Company, 1 , Luke ScullThe difference between a hero and a killer lies in the ability to justify dark deeds But this is the Age of Ruin And there are no heroesFive hundred years ago, the world was destroyed in the celestial Godswar Seeking to throw off the shackles of the deities who created them, a cabal of mages rose up and made war upon the Gods Though they won out, it was at a great cost the ensuing cataclysm brought forth the Age of Ruin to the world.
Five hundred years later, the world limps on, seemingly winding down to an inevitable end Dystopian city states have arisen, each presided over by one of the Magelords who first made war.
Corrupted, near immortal, and far too powerful, those wizards who once sought to free the world now make war upon each other, while the helpless populace limp on from day to day.
Into this blighted world, steps Davarus Cole, a boy obsessed with notions of heroism and adventuring, who burns to do great deeds One night, in a reckless act, Cole gets himself into a brawl with the authories He quickly finds himself sent away from the city, where the world still groans from the ancient cataclysm, and the corpses of Gods lie deep beneath the bedrock, leaking wild, uncontrolled magic into the world 2016.