Sword of the North by Luke Scull

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#1
My first shot at this, but going by what others have done, a professional review is not expected. The first book of the Grim Company series, interestingly titled Grim Company, was relatively well received, with many reviewers comparing the writing favorably to Abercrombie. The sequel continues that style, and the story grows a lot in scope and complexity. The characters from the first book are fleshed out a lot more, especially the star Brodar Kayne, The Sword of the North. Everyone is back in this one except for the ones who died in the first, although dying and coming back does seem to be catching. Not only are new aspects to the story introduced but new places are as well. It's as bloody and action-packed as the first, and is definitely as dark. If you liked Grim Company, you will like this, although it does suffer from second book in a series syndrome, and the author mentions in the afterword that this book was very hard for him to write and took a long time to do so. It's uneven but redeemed by the expansion of the story.

9.4/10
 
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Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#2
This is the book about Brodar Kayne. Through flashbacks and the main story he is crafted into a grey, fully-fleshed character. He's a perfect example how the past can haunt you or even come back with a vengeance. The path deficiency of his life shapes him in his choices.

Another character a truely liked was Sir Meredith. The man is a knight from Tarbonne, presently serving in the Kingsguard. He is a man who thinks he doesn't get what he deserves, what he is ought to get as a knight. Combine that aspect with his highly inflamable rage and a twisted view on knighthood and you get a sick sort of fellow you love to hate. We get some insight in how he came to be the way he is and that makes him a very interesting character.

I didn't like Davarus Cole in the first book. I like him after reading Sword of the North. Luke Scull pulled of a great character change and although it fares into more traditional territory now I really like how humbled Cole is now. He's also being set up for a big roll in the next book so I'm expecting a lot from this character development.

Next to that we've got several other interesting character arcs (POVs or not). I don't need to stress how strongly most characters are developed. Definitely this book's strongsuit.

Plotwise everything progresses nicely without any unnecessary deviations or side stories. Very coherent. Scull doesn't really opt for a big epic ending (he could have played out the magical battle between The White Lady and the Crow or between the Shaman and the Herald, he kept them relatively brief) and instead chose for interesting, fun meet-ups between characters and some relations that lay a fundation for the last book in this trilogy.

I can wholeheartedly say I loved this book and give it 8.7
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#3
Sword of the North, finally finished this one -- 9/10. An exciting read -- one that kept me up for a couple days.

Hands down one of the best fantasy books I've read this year.

It's better than the first one. I'd give this one a SOLID 9/10 and, so far, it's my favorite fantasy I've read this year -- even half way through the year.

This is a 'grim', 'grim' book. Seriously, Scull takes Ambercrombie and Lawrence and does a one over on em, making this book even MORE dark. I really don't think I've read a fantasy as dark of this one. It makes Game of Thrones look like Willy Wonka and the Charlie Factory. It's far darker than Abercrombie's First Law.

If there is something good in the world, it's stamped out. Deaths by the dozens and not one main character doesn't get brutalized in some way, be it emotionally, physically, or both.

Betrayals, torture, rape, violence -- the whole book is packed with it.

There were a few parts I had to fast forward (on my Audiobook) because I just couldn't take how depressing it got. But there's a lot of good stuff here -- well developed, emotionally tortured characters, an interesting wide world (and magic system, which we don't know too much about just yet), an epic struggle upon an epic struggle involving gods, men, wizards, monsters, and even older, ancient stuff. And brutal, bloody violence.

If you haven't picked up this series yet and you like grimdark, well this is it.

HIGHLY recommended if you love Abercrombie (this work is pretty much the closest you will find to a style, setting, and plot to the First Law -- there are some very similar characters the author is obviously paying homage to Abercrombie, including a version of The Bloody Nine), Lawrence, Jeff Salyards, or Martin.
 
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btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#5
Yea, absolutely. Not sure if it's JUST a trilogy or more. But there is more coming that's for sure.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#6
Sounds good to me. Is it planned to be a trilogy?

Thanks for the review BTW.


Sent from my flip phone
Dead Man's Steel, the third book in the planned trilogy, is scheduled to be released on Dec 6 2016.