Other books, little time and temporary loss of interest made sure the book would take me a month to finish. Yesterday morning, I was only about one-fourth of the way done with the book. But then I sat down and thought to myself: Ojo! You've got to finish this book! You've got to say NO to reading-greed and finish this one before you move to other books(which are numerous). Here I am now, done! Yippee! Reading this book proved really challenging.
There's many trends in epic fantasy writing. There's the classic sword and sorcery. There's the heroic kind, championed by the likes of Terry Goodkind, Patrick Rothfuss, David Gemmell, and David Eddings. There's the 'gray' character type: Steven Erikson, Paul Kearney and G.R.R Martin. Then there's the 'Fellowship/Company type.
I recently read Prince of Thorns and was struck by the brutality and savagery of the' Company'. A month or so ago, I read 'The Black Company'. Same thoughts. But then, the characters in these 'companies' do not compare with their counterparts in 'Sword of the North', imo.
What makes this book better than Prince of Thorns imo is the strength of the characters. While Prince of Thorns is more plot-based, Sword of the the North is more character based. The 'company' here, unlike that of Prince of Thorns seem real. They aren't just savage and brutal. They have emotions. They aren't a bunch of brutal, savage killers and rapists whose only concern is the next raid. They actually contribute to the plot. It's an ensemble cast you've got here.
Still on comparisons with other books, I think Sword of the North is somewhat similar to Providence of Fire, plot wise. The plot is expanding. The game is getting bigger. New pieces are being added to the chessboard. It's so unpredictable. And the cliffhanger where the author left it off is not going to help matters...
The book's biggest strength is the writing. While lots of writers have good stories, they end up failing because they cannot write it well. Some books, while not sporting all so good stories, end up as bestsellers because the author has excellent writing skills.
Kudos to Luke Scull for such a great book. An excellent read.