Monday, July 28, 2008

Chronicles of The Black Company (Books 1 - 3) Kindle Edition

This is going to be a different sort of review. It'll talk very little about the book itself, and a lot more about the Kindle edition of the book. Usually we don't do that sort of thing, but in this case, I feel that its quite warranted.

The Black Company is probably one of the most amazing fantasy series out there. It started with 3 books, and then later on expanded to 9. But not in a bad way (see Robert Jordan with his Eye of the World series). In fact, its so far away from Robert Jordan's style that a case can be made that these two series are diametrically opposed. Cook's writing style in The Black Company doesn't lend itself to long exposes of what his characters do with their hair, or skirts, or whatever, its pretty much just action, dialogue, and the bare minimum of descriptions to set the scenes.

And that's because there's a real story to tell. The Black Company tells the tale of a mercenary unit that is the very best at what it does, whether that is killing people, defending a city, or what not. Along the way, they get involved with high powered sorcerers and its a page turner to find out how they deal or don't deal with the various threats they encounter, along the twists and turns of the fortunes of the company. This isn't a high-fantasy novel in the sense that the only races in the world are humans, no elves, no dwarves, no halfings, but there IS magic, and magical monsters, though present, are uncommon. The powerful mages in the world are demi-gods and nigh-near unkillable.

The real meat of the story is that you do care for the fate of the company. The dialogue is witty, the characters seem real, and the adversaries are never as black or white as you'd like them to be. Its a fantasy novel for the mature audience, in short.

Now, onto the Kindle portion of the review.

The Kindle edition of this novel sucks, in a word. I've read many a kindle edition of books and this was the first one that I've found numerous typo's, type-set errors (where you see a word displayed twice in a row, or missing a word in the beginning of the chapter).

Having read the original paperback releases of the books, the beginning of each chapter that starts with a calligraphed word is accurate, but someone didn't do the conversion correct as the calligraphed word covers up part of that first word. So often you're left guessing what the word is. Its not hard, but it IS annoying. It becomes more of a problem in books 2 and 3 because Cook decided to make his chapters shorter, and so you get more missing words.

Still, for 9.99 and for what I think is one of the best fantasy series that exists, its still quite worth the money. If you haven't read the series yet, run and buy the dead tree version or the kindle version if you've got a kindle!
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