|About the Book|
2.5 starsWhat can I say? I find myself constantly underwhelmed by this series despite loving other books by Perez-Reverte. I guess I just want a really good historical swashbuckler with a bit of meat on it and despite having been generally underwhelmed by each book in the series so far I keep hoping that Perez-Reverte warms up in the next one. So far in my mind this hasnt happened.Theres nothing terrible about this story: we get to see Captain Alatriste through the eyes of our narrator Inigo (aside from those infuriating portions of the story where Inigo is not present but we are somehow still given a first person view of events...a nit pick perhaps, but if your whole conceit is that this is a first person memoir then you ought to figure out how to handle this kind of situation without contradicting the whole support structure of your text - youre a writer, its your job isnt it?!) Okay with that off my chest: Inigo is now a bit older (hes the ripe old age of fifteen here) and is following Alatriste to the war in Flanders, specifically around the city of Breda. Inigos role as a mochilero (basically a boy who follows the army around and does odd jobs for the soldiers) means he gets to see a lot of the action up close and personal, but isnt technically a combatant (not a paid one anyway). He is starting to see Alatriste in a somewhat more complicated way, its not all just hero-worship anymore, but he is still devoted to his mentor and the squad of veterans of which Alatriste is the de facto commander.In a nutshell the story is about Alatriste and Inigo as they struggle with the difficulties of war: not just the enemy, but hunger, boredom and even insurrection and I dont know if theres really much more for me to say. Not much of the story left a lasting impression on me. There really didnt seem to be much plot going on here aside from: this is what war in the era of Spains fading glory was like and Im going to insert Alatriste and Inigo into the middle of it. If the characters really jumped off the page then perhaps that by itself would be worth it, but Im starting to think that Alatriste is perhaps a bit *too* laconic. We see him from a remove as it is given that almost everything is coming from Inigos point of view, but when you add to that the taciturnity of Alatriste which sometimes borders on the ridiculous then its really hard to identify with the titular hero of the series. Its almost like getting all of the melancholy taciturnity of Athos from The Three Musketeers without any of Dumas excellent dialogue to bolster it. A mention is made of Alatristes past, when he was apparently more adventurous and outgoing, and I found myself wishing Perez-Reverte had written a story about *that* epsiode which would have had the virtue of being more exciting and not having to filter everything through the eyes and mouth of Inigo. As for Inigo: I must admit to not being much of a fan...hes a pretty boring character as far as I can tell and his main character traits seems to be devotion to Alatriste, courage in the face of adversity, and undying devotion to a girl he knows wants to kill him.Anyway...not sure I will muster the strength to continue with this series. Every new book still seems like set-up to some overarching story arc that never ultimately materializes.