Wednesday, October 18, 2006

JD's Take: In the Company of Ogres (A. Lee Martinez)

So you're done reading Pratchett, Aspirin kinda sucks, and Adams is rather unlikely to publish another book. Life is looking pretty grim for fans of sci-fi/fantasy with a sense of humor. What's a reader to do? Clearly, pick up one of the random new authors trying to make a name for themselves in the subgenre. I chose Martinez because I saw that he had two books on the shelf (the other being "Gil's All Fright Diner") and that implied at least marginal success.

Ogres follows the not-so-accurately named Never-Dead Ned as he reluctantly takes command of the infamous Ogre Company (a part of the world's largest mercenary army, Brute's Legion). Never-Permanently-Dead Ned would be more accurate, but alas, doesn't roll off the tongue nearly so well. Anway, hijinx ensue and frankly, I laughed my ass off. Clever writing combined with an interesting story and characters made this book fly by. It is pure candy, and not the Everlasting variety, more like cotton candy or something. You'll get to end without realizing you were even eating it, and be left with a sweet taste in your mouth for the rest of the day.

Martinez is no Pratchett, but neither was Pratchett for his first few books. It is clear that the big P in particular influenced his writing style, and that sure doesn't suck. Although he occasionally reused a joke or two, and there were times when a slightly different delivery would have perhaps has greater impact, but the prose flows so smoothly that you hardly notice such things. So smoothly, in fact, that putting the book down at the end of chapters was a serious challenge.

The world he created is interesting, and he introduced plenty of other aspects that could be fleshed into full stories. I hope he does. Keep an eye on this guy, he has the makings of a very funny author worth following, and he's not even British.

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