Instrumentalities of the Night

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by metalhd4ever, May 4, 2007.

  1. metalhd4ever

    metalhd4ever Registered User

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    I never read anything by Glen Cook till I picked up Tyranny of the Night book 1 of the The Instrumentalities of the Night. Just looking for any opinions from anyone who has read it :)
     
  2. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I read books 1/2 recently. The first one is very choppy, and it takes a while to get into the heart of the action, I felt like slogging through the first part of the book, though it was cynical enough with great one liners to keep me going. Once you get used with the characters (Else/Piper and his companions and bosses mostly, though the "Perfect" cathar pov is interesting too) and the action settles in Rome (forgot the name in the book right now, but...) it's easier reading.
    It helps if you know a little bit of medieval history and start enjoying making connections of which is which and how things happened then versus here.

    The second book is smoother, more concentrated, though it loses a little bit of the what next of the first; also some major plots and "discoveries" are well telegraphed in advanced, but if you start caring about the characters it's ok; the refreshing cynical attitude and one-liners abound here too.

    I intend to read the next installment (have no idea if it's a trilogy or series).
     
  3. metalhd4ever

    metalhd4ever Registered User

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    well last night i read the first 50 pages and woke up still questioning what in the hell i just read. The language was ridiculous and he threw 20 characters and 50 factions out at you while discussing next to nothing. I don't think I can stick with it
     
  4. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I understand it well :) That was my sensation too, but I slogged through and after a while the story simplifies, concentrates basically on Else/Piper and his ascension as a mercenary for various roman nobles and ultimately for the pope, and the cathar sidestory

    Once the story gets to Rome it's much smoother and better, so just skip ahead fast reading through the parts that bogged you down.

    I have not read anything else by Mr. Cook (tried once a Black Company book but it bored me) and the writting is very choppy in this book, but I liked the setting, the cynicism and black humour and ultimately the characters (not only Else/Piper but several others of more or less importance) to stick with it.
     
  5. Scott

    Scott Registered User

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    I posted on your Forgotten Realms question, seems we have the same taste in books:) I love Glenn Cook, he is definitely my favorite author. He seemed to be the first to do away with the 'innocent farmboy' approach and follow a group of rough mercenaries in The Black Company. I would definitely recommend that series. I've only read the first of the Instrumentalities of the Night series but I enjoyed it. It is quite confusing at first but gets better. Be sure to check out the the Black Company, it starts off a little so but takes off from there.
     
  6. KidDork

    KidDork New Member

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    I'm so happy to hear it's not just me with this book. I enjoy the cynicism and the character of Else, but there is so much thrown at the reader. I'm always having to flip back and re-read passages, trying to remember who this guy is, or that guy.

    If any book needed maps and a glossary, it's Instrumentalities of the Night.

    I'm enjoying it enough to want to read the next one, but Tor really should have dug deep enough to hire a cartographer and some schlep to write up a glossary. This book is not reader friendly.
     
  7. Gildor

    Gildor Gentlemen!!!

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    Cook's Black Company was a very good read for me, the cynical nature of the characters and the harsh military style endeared me to Cook, and i've had the first Instrumentalities of the Night book sitting on my shelf for a few months now, i'm glad it has some of the good aspects of TBC in it.
     
  8. metalhd4ever

    metalhd4ever Registered User

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    well i must admit that the frustration grew to much for me as i wanted to get into something now and not read through and wait. Perhaps I will make another attempt but for now I am reading through my first gene wolfe book "the knight" which i am liking very much and will follow it with the wizard and then it's time to dive into "The Dark Elf Trilogy" and begin learning of the realms. :)
     
  9. spwolf

    spwolf Reader

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    Thoughts on: The Tyranny of the Night: Book One of the Instrumentalities of the Night

    Hi Hobbit and rest of the crew.

    I am big fan of Glen Cook - loved Black Company and read it all 2 times. I loved Garrett files - really well done 11 books - not perfect, but 11 books is hard to do perfect.

    However I tried to pick up Dread Empire several times and failed - it just read as an badly written book. I wrote that down to it being his earliest work and thus me liking his later style of writing.

    So I finally get to Tyranny of the Night which is 2 years old - and it is pretty horrible. It reads as if written by 10year old. Or someone like me - not really versed in writing. There is almost no character development in first 50 pages of the book - most of the book is "Priest said this:. Character did this:."

    I am so amazed that I cant figure it out - is it me? I read his latest Garrett book and it was very much fun read. Great story - great characters - I still remember it and it was 2 years ago. I just did quick read of first Black Company book and I had to make myself part from it since first 10 pages promise so much.

    Did anyone else read it? Thoughts?
     
  10. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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  11. spwolf

    spwolf Reader

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  12. metalhd4ever

    metalhd4ever Registered User

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    i gave this book a shot on breaking a cardinal rule thatwe are all guilty of "don't judge a book by it's cover"

    it looked appealing and the name grabbed me plus i'd never read anything by Cook before

    by the time i hit page 50 i was tempted to shred this book. he threw a million characters and groups and names and pieces of history and anything else he could find to throw right down your throat. it was awful in style and horrible in my opinion

    this experience has definately ruled mr. cook out of my bookshelf
     
  13. hawkwind

    hawkwind Registered User

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    In my opinion The Tyranny of the Night suffers the same problem as Eriksons Gardens of the Moon. There is alot of characters thrown at you with very little information but once you pass a certain point it all starts falling into place. I have always been a big fan of Cooks. I have read all his fantasy from The Black Comapny, Garret PI, Dread Empire, Toewr of Fear and so on. I had the same feelings as alot of other people when I first started reading Tyranny but I kept with it and it turned out to be a very good first two books in the trilogy.
     
  14. Anthorn

    Anthorn Registered User

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    Whats it about?
     
  15. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    The Tyranny of the Night is not representative of Cook's usual work or style and is actually the first Cook book I've disliked at all. In it, he was trying to approach the tale with a different structure and style, one that keeps a distance from the characters and makes them more symbolic, which is directly opposite to what Cook usually does. The story is far flung and gradually coalesces and thematically it's interesting. It reinterprets actual history and does a good job of mirroring cultures.

    There are parts of it that are pure Cook-ness -- the Viking parts, much of the military situations, weird inventions. But the plot stalls and the writing sometimes gets flat. Clearly, he was experimenting with a different type of story, and as a writer who's been creating successfully for decades, he's entitled. But that sort of bardic sprawl, I guess we could call it, doesn't usually grab me unless either the language is doing something interesting or there are characters who provide grounding for the tale. And Tyranny, though it's god situation was really interesting, didn't do that enough for me. Since I have other Cook works still to read, it wasn't that big a deal.

    I do know that other people who really like their epics epic like the book quite a bit. But if you want to see Cook in the style that made him celebrated, the Black Company novels are a better bet, in my view. Night Shade Books in the States is also reissuing a lot of his other, less well-known works and that provides a fair amount of Cook variety too.
     
  16. Inukshuk

    Inukshuk New Member

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    I originally thought just as most of you about the book as I started it; I have never read Glen Cook before, and thought that it might be interesting. The first ~75 pages were just as has been described- intricate, complicated, and generally boring. But as I continued, I found that I actually liked the book. I think that the two things that this book needs is a map and a better introduction. Otherwise, and awesome read.
     
  17. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    Never read Glen Cook before either and had the same feeling as above; the second book is even better and I am interested to see the third book though the outline where it goes is clear.
     
  18. thrinidir

    thrinidir dw4rf

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    I've only read Cooks first three books in Black Company series - but a friend of mine read most everything he wrote (a fan like you); you can read his thoughts on the book here, if you are interested anyway.
     
  19. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    This isn't the right place for my question and I'm sorry for the off-topic, but I wanted to ask - does anybody know what the deal is with those Instrumentalities of the Night editions? I mean, today the second book came out on big paperback, but it has been out in mmpb for a while. So, how does that work?
     
  20. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    My guess is that Tor is trying to keep some kind of design theme with Cook's books. They repackaged the Black Company books in terrific-looking omnibus editions with Raymond Swanland art that matched up with the Night Shade omnibus editions of his Dread Empire books - also with Raymond Swanland art. Granted, two different publishers, but smart move by Tor to keep a branding theme across Cook's books. Also frustrating since they may not reissue the remaining books in the series in mass market paperback.