Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trinitytwo's View: The Grim Company by Luke Scull

The Grim Company
Author:  Luke Scull
Series:  Grim Company 1
Publisher:  Roc, September 3, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $26.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780425264843 (print)
US Debut

The Gods are dead. The Magelord Salazar and his magically enhanced troops, the Augmentors, crush any dissent they find in the minds of the populace. On the other side of the Broken Sea, the White Lady plots the liberation of Dorminia, with her spymistresses, the Pale Women. Demons and abominations plague the Highlands.

The world is desperately in need of heroes. But what they get instead are a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans and an oddly capable manservant: the Grim Company.

The Grim Company is a dark and brutal epic fantasy set in a landscape where over 500 years ago the gods were destroyed by an alliance of Magelords. The Magelords are no longer united, because one source of their powers is the corpses of the dead gods and the “raw magic” they collect is running low. The story opens with Salazar, the Magelord and Ruler of Dorminia exacting revenge on a neighboring kingdom by magically dumping enough water to fill a small ocean upon its city, resulting in its utter obliteration. Salazar rules his own country by oppression and fear. His magically enhanced army mercilessly seeks out dissenters who can expect torture, enslavement, or death. Enter Davarus Cole, a hero in his own mind, and wielder of the enchanted blade, Magebane. Cole’s impetuous actions land him in trouble with Salazar’s heavy handed Red Guard. It takes world-weary warrior, Brodar Kayne, to save him from himself and the Guards. With the help of Jerek, Kayne’s sidekick, Sasha a compatriot of Cole, and Isaac the mysterious manservant of the Halfmage, Emerul, the roster of The Grim Company is complete,and so begins the exciting events in their quest to destroy Salazar.

Trinitytwo’s Point of View:

The first book in a trilogy, The Grim Company is decidedly grim. Luke Scull has created a world that seems without hope. Magelords killed the gods and now rule their world with iron fists. How does one stand up to all powerful, practically immortal, beings that are able to destroy gods? It’s really a rhetorical question, as one doesn’t or at least not very well. I really wasn’t surprised to learn that Mr. Scull is a video-game designer. His description of disembowelments, death, and mass destruction are flawlessly grisly and remind me of the mayhem I have witnessed unfold in various violent video-games. The language is foul, the tortures are highly descriptive, and maiming, killings and carnage abound. I have to admit that I cringed from time to time. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but this adventure is definitely not for the weak of stomach. (Also, just a heads up, there are excessive references made to hemorrhoids.) I felt that the first half of the book was too depressing to keep me fully engaged. The Grim Company’s quest seems to be an exercise in futility and for the most part the members of the company are off on their own, which belies the title. I was slightly disappointed with the massive amounts of setups that lead to ultimately unanswered questions. Undoubtedly, they will be answered in Book 2 or 3, but a little more closure in Book 1 would have been nice. I also didn’t connect to most of the members of the Grim Company. There really wasn’t a definitive bad guy or good guy, just many different perspectives. Davarus Cole was written to be obnoxious and although I liked the fact that he wasn’t a traditional hero, it was hard to root for him. Brodar Kayne, the grizzled veteran with a tragic past and a volatile best friend was easier to like. Sasha, the sole female in the Grim Company, was a disappointment, as her character did not seem very fleshed out. By the second half of the book, however, I realized I had grown to care for more of the characters. It became increasingly harder to put the book down and I was sorry when I reached the last page. I am very curious to find out where the tangled web that Luke Scull has woven is going and who will remain to see it through. This isn’t a book that I would recommend to the meek. If you like your fantasy dark, with a pinch of twisted humor, you will ultimately find The Grim Company compelling, satisfying, and something to savor.

Read an interview with Luke here.


  1. At first glace, this would be my type of book but it seems to me that this review has a point. I am a bit meek and i think that knowing before reading it, I will need to prepare myself for gore and guts.

  2. I completely agree. Trying to root for the hero was a bit of a challenge especially because of the fact that there really wasn't a defined good guy and bad guy. Also, I don't understand why the only female character didn't have enough substance. Sasha is our female representative in this book and I just felt like there should have been more to her.

  3. Looks like it may be something new for me to try. Normally, I would abandon a book after the first 1/4, but I just may be convinced to finish a read now.