Series: The Band
on February 21st, 2017
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Rating: I'M OBSESSED
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GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best -- the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It's time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
A helmet restricted your vision, all but negated your hearing, and more often than not made you look stupid as hell. Clay Cooper didn’t do helmets, and that was that.
No taxes meant no one to clean the gutters or lay down stone for roads, and so Clay and Gabriel sloshed through what they hoped was mud as they passed through the wide-open gates into the city whose parents had hired a prostitute as a babysitter and never come home.
Clay pushed his body off him and mumbled another apology—because, enemy or not, when you hit a man in the nuts with a magic hammer the least you could say was sorry.
Wow. What an adventure and what a great set of characters. And what a refreshing read.
This took me an obnoxiously long time to read, but that was no fault of the book. I’ve been traveling, and reading time was difficult to come by. However, when I had the opportunity, I sat down and devoured the majority of this book in two days.
It’s refreshing in the sense that our characters are old and weathered men, well past their glory days, with creaky knees and sore backs, round bellies and thinning hair. It’s a straight up adventure story, no overarching plots, no political intrigue, no complex world building. By the end, I found myself absolutely in love with the characters and story and world.
The main plot is basically about the “band” coming out of retirement to save Gabriel’s daughter from a city under siege by all sorts of nasties. Simple, and I must say, highly entertaining. Without all the woven complexities of most fantasy novels, it gave us the gift of a good ol’ fashioned adventure filled with fighting, friendship, and the joys and pains of life.
The world has it’s kingdoms and history, but it’s dished out as needed and without pages of boring info dumps. The focus of world building revolves around the Wyld—a forest inhabited by all sorts of monsters—and the bands/mercenaries that go hunting in that forest or take jobs to eradicate monsters encroaching on human dwellings. While the world isn’t detailed out, it feels quite full and satisfying. The lack of political intrigue and throne envy made me appreciate the sheer adventure aspect of this book. It was just plain fun!
The characters are what really grabbed me, though. They were all unique, with unique voices and characteristics, united together by their years of hunting monsters as a team.
Clay is the focus, and while the story is told in third person, it could have easily been told in first person. Clay’s thoughts are hysterical at times, and the loyalty he has to his friends endearing. He was my favorite by far; the glue that held them all together. And it didn’t hurt that he was a badass. Refreshing as well was his choice of weapon. It was a shield, and Eames did an amazing job showing just how effective a shield can be on both offense and defense. I loved the fight scenes and easily imagined it all, and I appreciated how simplistically they were done. Gabriel is the front man for the group, and the least interesting to me. However, he came alive in the end, and I found myself rooting for him as much as the others. Matrick and Ganelon were each unique and engaging, and I found them utterly delightful. Moog is the mage of the group, and quirky and crazy as could be. He was easiest to like besides Clay due to his big-eyed look at the world around him. He was curious about everything and provided tons of comic relief.
The writing was simply delightful, to how Eames worded and viewed his world, to how smooth the prose flowed. The book moved quickly, and I never, ever found myself bored.
I can’t find anything negative to say about it. I loved it. It’s a standalone, and the story threads are tied off nicely. I did read that there would be more books in this world but with different characters. Hidden somewhere in here might be a bigger plot, but I never felt it come through, which fit with this book. Fun and awesomeness were its focus.
For anyone looking for an adventure, I can’t recommend this book enough. For those of you who want a break from intricate plots and devious scheming, give this a try. For those looking for a damn good book, definitely pick this up!