Shadows Linger by Glen Cook
Brief Summary: The armies of the White Rose have been destroyed, the omen of the comet has fallen from the sky, and The Lady, villainous and deadly, rules the world—all because of the Black Company. But now the Company is beginning to have second thoughts, and the world balances on their decisions.
The Tsundoku Scale: Middle of the Pile, 7 out of 10.
Favorite Quote: “Ardath, you b—-”
The Good: Shadows Linger, second book of the series, provides another twist in this awkwardly beautiful fantasy trilogy. The first book, more or less, is a recounting told by Croaker, the Company’s Annals keeper and physician, a key strong point of the book being its intriguing telling that blots out a majority of detail. This second book, however, is just the opposite, and gives other characters besides Croaker a first hand opinion on what is happening, focusing instead on a minor inn keeper named Marron Shed and the role he unwillingly plays in shaping the world’s future. In all honesty, Cook’s resort to a more traditional story telling actually works out for the best—the story is not as jumpy and is less about keeping you guessing about what’s going on, rather than developing the story. And wait till you see what’s really going on at the Black Castle!
The Bad: I am glad that Cook tamed his wilder writings from the first book of the trilogy, and yet it was the erratic nature of the writing that made the story somewhat more than merely interesting. As much as I hated guessing, the story kept my attention because I truly had no clue what would ever happen or what would show up as a ‘oh-by-the-way-everyone-else-in-the-story-knew-all-this’ moment. Without this feral, jumpy writing style, the story kind of came up a little dull and frustrating, particularly since it spent so much time focusing on Marron Shed, an interesting character in his own right, but no one that I cared about as much as I wanted to hear more about Raven, and Darling, and Croaker. Perhaps dull is not the right word, but what I mean to say is that minor characters should not hog almost an entire story.