Sunday, July 6, 2008

Review: In the Company of Ogres

In the Company of Ogres is the second book I've read by A. Lee Martinez, and I was just as impressed by this one as I was by the first (Gil's All Fright Diner). Where Gil's All Fright Diner brought humor to the all-too-serious world of zombies and werewolves, In the Company of Ogres fuses funny and fantasy fantastically. (For those of you who don't know, alliteration makes any review better.)

The story follows Never Dead Ned, a hapless soldier-turned-accountant who just can't seem to stay dead. Through a bunch of twists and turns, it becomes apparent that the fate of the world rests on Ned's shoulders, which isn't very comforting to the world. The book includes a whole cast of unique characters, all well-developed and interesting. There's a talking raven, a seductive fish-woman, a two-headed ogre, and a blind oracle who hears the future. And of course there's the evil demon emperor, the most powerful creature in the universe, who stands about a foot and a half tall.

If I were a better writer, I would probably say something like, "Martinez's prose winds slowly and elegantly across the page, like a majestic, well-fed python." But since I'm not, I'm just gonna say he writes very well, and his use of humor comes across as genuine and unforced. In the Company of Ogres is comparable to some of the best books by genre masters Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett (though not quite at the level of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

In the Company of Ogres is available as a trade paperback from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and probably a bunch of other places. The book is 326 pages and retails for $6.99. It also includes a short preview of Martinez's new novel, A Nameless Witch.

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Humor by itself is very hard to do, and to mix it with horror is doubly tough. I'm always careful of such works but this sounds pretty interesting so I'll give it a good look see.

Greg Schwartz said...

Charles,

I think you'll like it. Of the two books, I thought Gil's All Fright Diner was funnier and better written, but both books are definitely worth reading.

There was a magazine that folded a year or two ago called Dark Jesters which published humorous horror stories. I thought it had some potential, but it went under pretty quickly.

Enjoy the book!

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