Book Review: The Grim Company by Luke Scull
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
Series: Book 1 of The Grim Company
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars – “An entertaining dark fantasy with a story that spans far and wide, and characters whose familiar roles belie their unique lives and personalities”
Okay, I can be pretty out of it sometimes. I picked up Luke Scull’s The Grim Company on account of all the positive buzz surrounding the book, and ended up loving it. But the thing is, I didn’t read many reviews or any information about it ahead of time, so it wasn’t until weeks after I finished the book that I finally found out about all the comparisons made to Joe Abercrombie, an author whose work I adore as well.
In retrospect, I suppose there were a lot of parallels, but at the time I can honestly say I didn’t get that vibe at all, other than the fact both authors write grimdark fantasy about gruff and tough barbarian warriors who love to swear a lot (not a distinction held by any one specific author in the industry, really). In the end I’m glad I went into this book blind, because I found that Luke Scull’s writing shone through with his own style, not to mention the heavy focus on magic and other unique ideas found in his book made me consider it entirely on its own merits.
When it comes to a gritty fantasy adventure, we’re definitely starting out on the right track with a story that spans far and wide in terms of locale and history, featuring settings from palace halls to the northern remote highlands. Five hundred years ago, the Magelords killed the gods and now their tyrant Salazar rules the empire of Dorminia. Meanwhile, his greatest adversary the White Lady plots his demise from across the Broken Sea and seeks to free the people. Far away from both, demonic forces plague the remote mountains in the north.
Caught in the middle of this kerfluffle is a motley crew of misfits and outcasts all linked to the events, trying to hold everything together. And on this topic, I have to say the characters in this book are just as diverse, though it would be tempting to pigeonhole each into the all too familiar fantasy archetypes. But upon first inspection, I feel their traditional roles belie their unique personalities and colorful pasts.
Take Davarus Cole, for example, the hero who knows he’s the hero and won’t let you or anyone else forget that for a second. He’s so full of himself and deluded in his self-importance that I just couldn’t help but love him and indulge in him like you would a spoiled little kitten, even as I gleefully anticipated that sweet moment the truth will blow up in his face. Then there’s Jerek the Wolf, a supporting character in the shadow of the more prominent Brodar Kayne, but it was the former I took to, due in no small part to his loyalty as well as talent for cursing which would make even a longshoreman blush like a schoolgirl.
And indeed, what surprised me the most is the streak of wry humor which ran through the story, which made the book a lot less grim than I’d anticipated. This was simply a very enjoyable and entertaining read, and I don’t know if there’s any more I can add to that.
Because I knew so little about The Grim Company before I read it, I also didn’t know anything about its publication history and the fact new indie publisher Head of Zeus first acquired the rights to the trilogy after winning a fiercely contested auction in a six-figure deal. Yes, they were that confident about it. And now I understand why.
4 of 5 stars