The White Rose by Glen Cook

The White Rose imageBrief Summary:  The White Rose has returned with a vengeful counterstrike, and there is hope once again against The Lady.  But the Dominator is stirring within his prison, and the terrors he may bring are more horrible to imagine than anything the Lady could have ever done.

The Tsundoku Scale: Top of the Pile, 9 out of 10.

Favorite Quote:  “The dog grumbled.  Tracker said, ‘You have to use his whole name.  Toadkiller Dog.’”

 The Good: People are always calling the The Black Company series a classic, and for the most part, I hadn’t seen it.  The books were fine, but nothing special and while I was content to read them, I was simply content.  That is until this finale, and what a finale it was!  It maintained the same guessing game of the first book, but with a more controlled cunning, like throwing paint seemingly at random onto a canvas and somehow ending up with a brilliantly stunning picture rather than a mess of chucked colors.  One of my favorite parts of the story is how Cook manages to not only weave a complex back story in this book without boring me and making me wish he would return to the story’s present time, but also how well he makes it tie in with the present so that all truly (and quite literally) comes together, both past and present, in the final climax.  But most striking to me, was that I have never seen a villain in any book become so much more than just a character of opposition, so much more than just wicked or misguided or just plain evil, than The Lady in this series.  Cook has a talent for creating a world where conflict is much deeper than just bad against good, and The Lady always resides somewhere in the center, stirring all those preconceived notions of a black and white story into many hues of grey.

The Bad: This really was a masterpiece in its own right.  I guess the one of the only bad parts was that it made me wonder how much I would have loved this series if the first two books had been better.  Oh and one other thing: the book has absolutely no good female characters besides The Lady!  People talk about the Wheel of Time being a misogynistic series (which I don’t really see or agree with), but if they want to see a real book with some questionable behavior towards women then talk to me about this book.   Note the attempted rape scene and the fact that the “savior” is a mute woman who has almost no measurable traits the entire series and has to be protected by a bunch of men, and then tell me that’s Cook’s books is not way more misogynistic.