Port of Shadows by Glen Cook – Review

Cover- Port of Shadows

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company #1.5

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 2.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The father of Grimdark returns…

The soldiers of the Black Company don’t ask questions, they get paid. But being “The Lady’s favored” is attracting the wrong kind of attention and has put a target on their backs, and the Company’s historian, Croaker, has the biggest target of all.

The one person who was taken into The Lady’s Tower and returned unchanged has earned the special interest of the court of sorcerers known as The Ten Who Were Taken. Now, he and the company are being asked to seek the aid of their newest member, Mischievous Rain, to break a rebel army. However, Croaker doesn’t trust any ofthe Taken, especially not ones that look so much like The Lady and her sister…

It’s been a number of years since I first delved into the glory of Glen Cook’s Black Company series and the news of another story set in this world was rather awesome. Port of Shadows is considered to be book #1.5, so once again readers would get to read about all their beloved characters in the early days. Due to an overabundance of books, I didn’t get to read this until early December despite its September release.

When I first began the book I almost immediately settled back into the world (reading a few reviews of the first book also helped). The further along I got the more I began to feel that this just wasn’t the same Black Company I remembered reading about. First of all, there were new characters introduced, the most pronounced being a new Taken (Mischievous Rain and her children. What the heck, right? Well to make matters weirder, she moves in the company’s base, shacks up with Croaker and oh, by the way, the kids are Croakers!!! Like, he apparently spent a lot more time in the Tower than he thought and did some things he couldn’t remember. It just seemed kind of ridiculous and made me wonder who the kids actually belong to. Is the result of a Lady+Croaker or a Maleficent Rainstorm+Croaker pairing? My suspicions abound. On a side note, I actually liked the kids.

There’s a fair bit of shady magical portal stuff going on and a fear that Dominator will be reincarnated through the Port of Shadows, which is a person and not a place by the way. I totally thought this would be set in a janky seaport full of dank magic and dirty pirates. It was not. Oh, and there are flashback portions where the reader is taken back to the reign of the Dominator and follows the story of two Senjak daughters and a necromancer that may have a personality disorder. It’s honestly all pretty bizarre and I expect fantasy to have moments that are completely wack from time to time.

Port of Shadows was one of my biggest disappointments of the year and I’m sad to have to say that. I expected a top notch tale from one of grimdark fantasy’s biggest names and what I got was not at all up to par. I don’t think this is even a matter of expectations, but rather that this book seemed to stray so far from the quality of the original stories. I’ll put this on my bookshelf for now, but I’m going to pretend it doesn’t actually exist.


One thought on “Port of Shadows by Glen Cook – Review

  1. Bummer. Well, this is at least the 3rd bad review for this book, so I’m going to pass and not even be tempted any more. Thanks, I guess?

    It is too bad Cook couldn’t write a good story though…


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