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Read In The Company Of Ogres (2007)

In the Company of Ogres (2007)

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3.9 of 5 Votes: 4
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0765354578 (ISBN13: 9780765354570)
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In The Company Of Ogres (2007) - Plot & Excerpts

I’ve often heard A Company of Ogres compared to Terry Pratchett. I’m not sure where they get that. Martinez and Pratchett seem as different as night and day from one another. In my opinion, A Company of Ogres is actually more akin to a demented mixture of Catch 22 and Planescape: Torment. Which is a pretty flattering comparison in of itself. Although not as good as his subsequent work, Martinez does manage to improve the quality of his work exponentially from his terrible first novel.In this novel, Martinez turns his deft hand to the fantasy genre. Ogres is the story of a human known Never Dead Ned. It’s a misnomer, really. He can die, often quite painfully. He just comes back to life immediately after. And he has no idea why. All he knows is that every time he awakens, it’s at the hands of a mysterious woman in red. Who is she? What does she want? In time, he’ll find out. In the meantime, he has to deal with a variety of intriguing individuals as he attempts to whip Ogre Company into shape lest they get fired. And by fired, I mean endure the fires of hell. I do want it to be known that this is not a perfect book. It may be better than its predecessor by leaps and bounds, but, frankly, it’s hard to imagine it possibly being worse. The sexism found so prevalent in Martinez’s first novel hasn’t been worked out of his system by his second. The love triangle between Ned, an amazon named Regina, and a siren called Miriam was ridiculous, demeaning, offensive, and, most importantly, reduced these two potentially strong characters into caricatures. So be forewarned, but know that at some point this disappears from his writing. I haven’t figured out when, though.The rest of the characters are extremely fascinating, though, and are stronger, in terms of a narrative element, than the often meandering plot. Most of them are imbibed with a distinct personality and an astonishing level of depth. It’s the characters, and the military setting, of course, that led me to compare this book to Catch-22. Like that book, the characters serve as both obstacles and allies to Never Dead Ned – frequently at the same time. And although A Company of Ogres comes nowhere near that book’s level of absurdity, it doesn’t have to in order to be a superb tale. A Company of Ogres is a fine book. It’s funny, interesting, and the plot goes in interesting, pleasing directions, although admittedly this is only when it stops aimlessly meandering. Also, did I mention that there were rocs in it? I see that I did not. Well, there are indeed hungry, goblin-eating rocs present in this book. In my opinion, rocs are some of the most awesome mythological creatures out there, and any book that has them gets praise. And I can also praise the superb characters, and assure you that Martinez’s writing only gets better from here.

"In The Company Of Ogres" is the most fun I've had reading a fantasy book with humor in many years. I grew up reading Piers Anthony's "Xanth" books, Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series, and Mary Gentle's one-shot with "Grunts" and have always kept an eye out for upcoming fantasy humorists to win me over. Not many have and not many have come along since then. A. Lee Martinez is a born storyteller and I've read often how he has been compared to Pratchett and Anthony, though I don't agree, really. To me, his voice and style remind me more of IF Joe R. Lansdale were writing fantasy. I will probably be struck by a blue lightning bolt sent straight from one of the Gods out of the "AD&D Deities & Demigods" handbook for saying this, but, I like this book better than all of Pratchett's books, most of Anthony's and certainly more than Gentle's one attempt...and even some of Lansdale's stuff. Never Dead Ned, our "hero", is chosen to lead Ogre Company, which is the antithesis equivalent to LOTR The Fellowship or The Sword of Shannara's 'formation'. Only, in this case it is Ned's job to whip this company in to shape BEFORE their inevitable battles with the good peoples of the world. Instead of your wizard (or druid), elves, dwarves, rangers, halfling thieves, knights in shining armor, or manly barbarian-like warriors, Ned is appointed to discipline a motley crew of "evil" denizens including a two-headed ogre, an orc, a goblin, an Amazon warrior, a siren, and an Ent-like (or Treant-like) walking tree. This all leads to Never Dead Ned's destiny; Ned, who has "died" 49 times but can never stay dead, and his final confrontation with an all-powerful demon. Yes, it starts off slow and I almost had regrets thinking it wasn't my thing, but then, it casts a 9th level spell over you that won't allow you to put it down until after the extraordinarily, perfectly conceived ending, proving A. Lee Martinez is a new master in fantasy fiction. This book is for anyone and everyone who likes their fantasy set in a world complete with magic, fantasy creatures, and races they think they already know well, but told with a voice and imagination tired of cliche's and storylines you've heard too many times before. My highest recommendation.

What do You think about In The Company Of Ogres (2007)?

In the Company of Ogres is an entertaining and action-packed book, similar in style to Terry Pratchett's work. Although, this one has chapters, thank goodness! While reading In the Company of Ogres, I couldn't help being reminded of Orcs by Stan Nicholls, probably because, like Orcs, In the Company of Ogres is about an army of large, mythical (usually portrayed as evil) creatures. The similarities stop there, however, as Orcs is much darker and more dramatic and the main character of In the Company of Ogres - Never Dead Ned - is the literal opposite of Orc's main character Stryke. He is cowardly, clumsy and undisciplined, with an extraordinary ability to die at the drop of a hat, or more accurately, "at the footstep of a Roc". In the Company of Ogres follows Ned's deaths as he struggles toward redemption in his new command post "Ogre Company" a motley group of mythical creatures in a last-chance assignment before washing out of the military. The unlikely characters Ned meets and absurd situations the Ned manages to find himself in gives the book a jocular, comical quality that makes putting the book down difficult.In the Company of Ogres is not as polished as A. Lee Martinez' later work, but it is a fun, light read for anyone with a sense of humor and a penchant for the fantasy genre.

Ich habe schon länger keine humoristische Fantasy gelesen. Aufmerksam auf diese Buch wurde ich durch das Cover. Die alte Auflage mit dem anderen Cover wäre mir bestimmt nicht wirklich ins Auge gefallen. Die Geschichte war einfach zu lesen und nicht wirklich komplex. Die Charaktere waren allesamt sehr liebenswürdig und auf ihre ganz persönliche Art und Weise lustig. Besonders die Ogerzwillinge Lewis und Martin haben mir sehr gut gefallen. Die Handlungsstränge hatten eine angenehme Kürze und wurden auch nicht großartig ausformuliert bzw. beschrieben. Dieses Buch bzw. die Geschichte lebt von den witzigen Dialogen und Handlungen der Charaktere, jedoch nicht von der Umgebung wo diese stattfinden. Die Geschichte will auch gar nicht den Anspruch von High-Fantasy Elementen erfüllen. Dieses Buch bzw. der Autor wird sehr oft mit Terry Pratchett verglichen. Ein sehr schwieriger und gewagter Vergleich wie ich finde. Man kann den Humor der beiden Autoren nicht wirklich vergleichen: Beide sind auf ihre Weise sehr komisch. Wobei ich sagen muss, dass es mir leichter gefallen ist dieses Buch zu lesen, als die meisten Bücher von Terry Pratchett.Wie oben schon erwähnt, haben mir die Charaktere besonders gut gefallen. Trotz der Kürze dieses Buches haben alle Charaktere eine wunderbare Entwicklung vollzogen. Gegen Ende wurde es sogar emotional: Die undisziplinierte Ogerkompanie rüttelt sich auf um ihren vorher noch so verhassten Kommandeur Never Dead Ned zu befreien. Besonders zur Geltung kommt Never Dead Ned's Persönlichkeit: Er ist einfach gestrickt, zurückhaltend, feige und eigentlich ziemlich unfähig und dumm. Dies machte ihn jedoch im Laufe der Zeit bei der Ogerkompanie sehr beliebt und bei mir als Leser selbstverständlich auch. Gegen Ende hin, wird er ein mächtiger Held mit Ecken und Kanten - mit eigentlich nur einer Stärke und vielen hundert Schwächen. Großartig!Die Plots und der größte Teil der Handlung wirkte auf mich etwas sehr weit hergeholt und an den Haaren herbeigezogen. Die Handlungsstränge trafen teilweise sehr hart aufeinander, sodass ich manchmal kurz zurück blättern musste um ein genaueres Verständnis zu bekommen.Die Kämpfe wurden flach, aber dennoch gut beschrieben. Das Finale war, wie für humoristische Fantasy üblich, nicht episch aber dennoch spannend.Fazit: Mit Sicherheit kein Terry Pratchett - aber verdammt nah dran ohne zu kopieren!© kekz

Not everyone will enjoy this book - a lot of people would hate it or find it "stupid". Me though, I got a major kick out of it because it's so damn funny and so much fun. Most fantasy novels that are humorous are fantasies first with comedy as a supplement, but this one has comedy at the forefront. And, like most forms of humour, this type is not for everyone. If you like hyperbole and surreal comedy (bizarre juxtapositions, absurd situations, nonsense logic) and playful pastiche, this novel will make you laugh. If you don't understand that kind of humour and/or if you like your fantasy "high" (like LotR) you might as well just bypass this novel, because you will get no epic battles, no heroes, no seriousness. You might also be a prig who needs to lighten up. The first half is especially funny. I enjoy pastiche quite a bit, and this novel is clearly a pastiche of fantasy as a whole. Now, it's different from Pratchett, whose comedy is more refined and less the forefront of the story. Ogres is meant to be read as a ridiculous one-time romp where the novel's raison d'etre is to make you laugh, first and foremost. And, despite the book's flaws (which I'll get to), the comedy is excellent. For example, the part about "secret wizards". (Mild) (view spoiler)[The absurdity of the initial conversation made me laugh but then when it turns out Ned is actually a secret wizard I nearly lost it. (hide spoiler)]

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