K.J. Parker's THE COMPANY has a paperback release here shortly. We figured after reading the Engineer Trilogy that we should give her (K.J. Parker) another chance. Bottom line here: we really wanted to like this novel, but at the end of the day, we were left unsatisfied.
Let's be clear here, we didn't hate THE COMPANY, but we sure didn't love it either. This novel follows the story of A Company, a small group of soldiers who were considered the most fearsome during a past war. THE COMPANY is partially about their attempts to reintegrate into society after the war, and partially about their attempts to colonize an island they...procured.
The good? OK, we suppose we can start there. The set-up of the novel is well done. The flash-backs between the current time-period and their days in the war is well done. It has a slight LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA feel to it (Hurray!). The big, problematic-type logic flaw that was present in the Engineer's Trilogy is absent, and it made the novel a tad more enjoyable.
However. (Yeah, it's a bummer, but someone has to tell you the problems...)
The subtitle on the novel says "The War is Never Over." We wish that was really the case. What it should have been was "This Book Isn't About War." Yes, we are aware that Parker probably meant to be all symbolic here. Whatever. Had this novel focused on the actual war (this novel is billed as military fantasy, after all), and less on the poor administration of a colony, it would have been much more interesting. Really, we aren't violence starved maniacs (well, Steve is) and we can appreciate a book that doesn't have it. However, our expectations with this novel weren't met. Not by a long shot. Or rather no shot at all. Remember...the lack of violence?
As you can see, we were left unsatisfied. Look, all we want is a good story, with good characters. This just wasn't quite up to that challenge. It promised a lot, but delivered on very little of it.
In all, we've decided THE COMPANY--and consequently Parker--is middle of the road. Some people are certain to love it, while others will consider it nothing but mediocre. We are in the latter camp. If you did like her other works, you will, without a doubt, like this novel, and you should purchase it. If you were "meh" about her work, this won't change your mind in the slightest.
Recommended Age: 16 and up. Lots of administrative type stuff here that will go over a younger person's head.
Language: There were professional soldiers, so yes, there is language. It is prominent, but not excessive.
Violence: Very little. Kind of a bummer. These guys are supposed to be crazy awesome, yet all they do is stand around and live off reputation. Rather lame.
Note: You may have noticed this review lacked our normal humor. Why, you ask? The sheer mediocrity of the novel literally (Yes literally. Like a vampire who has been on a diet for months) sucked the humor out of of. We each cried a little.