Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp
Published by Tor.com
Release Date: 21st February 2017
Cold Counsel is a fun fantasy book with a relatively simple plot. Slud, last of the trolls, is pushed into starting a war with the Rock Wolf clan by the witch Agnes. Behind the plot there are characters with their own motives. The impact the troll has on the other characters is what makes Cold Counsel an engaging read.
I do enjoy a fantasy novel that attempts to narrate a story from various different perspectives, which enables the reader to sympathise both with Slud the troll and the goblins who are under attack. The characters are very grey in respect that no character is pure good or pure bad. When the story switches to the perspective of the wolf Luther, the events of the battle with the goblins is told from the wolf’s point of view. To Luther goblins enslave wolves and goblins are also potential food. Luther is not thinking maybe you can negotiate with the goblins. If you were expecting a cheerful story then this is not the book for you but if you are a fan of gritty fantasy, with the odd swear word thrown in, then Cold Counsel is the book for you.
Slud may come across as your typical dim troll, but one cannot help liking him as a character. The witch Agnes is using Slud to fulfil her own schemes and yet there is a compassionate side to Slud. Slud forms a friendship with the goblin Neither-Nor, who like Slud enjoys killing other goblins. At first glance the friendship seems unlikely but having a common enemy and a thirst for violence can oddly bring together those who despise one another.
The writing is simple and easy to read, which allows the words to effortlessly paint the picture of the story in the mind. There are plenty of chapters which involve goblins being cut to pieces. My one criticism is that the book could have been a little longer because I am still unsure on what the witch Agnes is trying to achieve by having Slud kill all of the goblins. The book was entertaining, and a relatively quick read. Fans of grimdark fantasy should enjoy this book and without spoiling the ending, there is most definitely going to be more books to follow from Cold Counsel.
Rating 3.5/5 Stars