Friday, February 5, 2010

The Return of the Black Company - Bleak Seasons

"Bleak Seasons", first book of this omnibus edition, has slightly less than 300 pages, so I managed to finish it in these two days (of course, it helped that I didn't do anything else yesterday afternoon and today morning!).

Book itself is continuation of plot and style of previous books; someone who had read those will have no problems recognizing people, characters and places. On the other hand, this book is in many ways different from others.

Firstly, it is written from point of view of Murgen, who had the role of standard-bearer (or Standard-bearer!) in last books and now is Annalist. I considered him a minor character (I actually don't remember him doing much) and even after reading this, I still think of him as that.

Secondly, Murgen tells the story from at least two different points in time. One is description of siege of city Dejagore, which happened in last book, "Dreams of Steal" and we already know how that ends. The other is now, which is four years after events in "Dreams of Steal". And more, there is no clear introduction or explanation of missing time, at least until the last part of the book. So, it's a bit hard to read if you are not well familiar with previous books, and even then you keep asking yourself "Did I miss one book between??". Also, it's a bit more complicated than just "two different time-lines", but explaining that would get me close to spoiling book.

Thirdly, this is, I think, first time that the narrator warns readers that his words might not be completely true or accurate! Murgen actually discuss trustworthiness of his predecessor Annalists, Lady and Croaker.

Other than that, book is maelstrom of bad jokes, violence, hardships and hard people. Although plot doesn't advance much (the "now" time-line covers only few days, I think), I found this book a great and easy read (after you recover from first one or two time-view changes). There are even few pages from One-eye's POV, which I found hilarious!

I'm looking forward to next book, "She is Darkness" and I plan to make next post somewhere after first half of this book, which has about 400 pages.

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