I always seem to enjoy stories that have antiheroes as their lead characters. I would wager many other readers do as well because there’s just something about non-traditional heroes that many of us seem to connect with. THE GRIM COMPANY, the new novel by video game designer Luke Scull, gives its readers several of these sad-sacks with which to make a connection. And while not perfect, this book and its characters are entertaining and definitely worth checking out.
If you are not familiar with THE GRIM COMPANY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Penguin Group (Roc) website:
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.
I can certainly see this book translated into a game, which is fitting since the author designs them as his day job. This begs the question of whether or not there will be a game tie-in with it. Even if there are no plans to do so, I would love to see how it would turn out, and I would bet many other readers out there would as well.
The storyline in THE GRIM COMPANY is dark and well thought-out. The intrigue is deep and the battles are brutal, just like fantasy should be. I could practically smell the blood and sweat as if I was right there on the battlefields with them. The detail in the prose is not overbearing and does not weigh down the action as the story progresses.
But while THE GRIM COMPANY is a good book overall, it does have its flaws. The primary one that sticks out to me is Scull’s writing style; while his grammar and syntax are proper and correct, the sentences do not flow together like they should. I found the style overall to be slightly cumbersome, which forced me to reread several passages throughout the book. I would not let this dissuade you from giving it a shot, however I feel like it is worth mentioning.
THE GRIM COMPANY is a heck of a debut, though, and is definitely worthy of attention. As this is the author’s first book, he is certainly allowed a lot of leeway as he refines his craft. I am putting Scull on my list of authors to watch, and I will definitely be looking for his future work. I recommend you do the same.