Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Shadows Linger (second novel in the Black Company series)

(Originally posted on Saturday, 23 May 2009)

My rating: 8/10 (high re-reading value)
Please read my post from April 2009 to find out about my rating.
Please read my post from May 2009 to learn about Glen Cook’s style of writing.

It was very hard for me to rate Shadows Linger. To be honest I considered also the rating 7/10, but then I realized that this book on its own is more than just good. The problem for me was that I was expecting something very similar to the first Black Company novel and it turned out to be significantly different. The main differences are:

1) Place and pace of action.

Unlike the first book, most of the action in Shadows Linger takes place in one place (town). The plot is a little slower, but more polished. Glen Cook creates an interesting atmosphere about that town and gives more depth to the characters, but at the start it is not so obvious.

2) Number of viewpoints.

First book was like a chronicle of the Black Company and the plot was described from one perspective. The plot in Shadows Linger is described from two separate points of view. This is done pretty well and it is interesting to see how those separate plots come together, but again it is not obvious at the beginning.

3) Main character – main problem.

Half of the book is about a character who is not a member of the Black Company. What’s worse this character is very hard to identify with. Even worse, in some scenes the members of the Black Company are described as if they were strangers to the narrator. Because of all that I think it is hard to call Shadow Lingers a chronicle of the Black Company (at least in some parts).

Nevertheless Shadow Lingers is a classic Glen Cook book thanks to his unmistakeable style of writing. He just takes another approach to tell the story. There is also a very interesting concept in Shadows Linger, namely: the Black Castle. The final battle against it is especially entertaining. I can’t say anything more, because it would be a spoiler.

Shadows Linger is the second overall book by Glen Cook I have read. That’s why I didn’t know that he likes experimenting even inside a particular series. At first I thought it’s bad, but the more I read his books, the more I enjoy it. Every book in the Black Company series is in some way different than the other. Thanks to that it never gets repetitive.

Do yourself a favour and start reading Shadows Linger without any expectations. Just let Glen Cook tell the story and enjoy it the way it is. It’s more than just good.

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