The Barney for Best Barbarian Warrior not named Logan Ninefingers, because let’s face it no single warrior in modern fantasy can compete, because wow was Logan awesome. I mean when he beat The Feared I almost shouted out loud, and I was sitting in a Subway around ten o’clock at night when I read it.
What? Oh, ya, the award.
The first nominee is Brodar Kayne from The Grim Company, by Luke Scull. Note how he is not the Bloody Nine. He may be a Northern barbarian on the outs with the land’s ruler, and he may be the best around despite not getting any younger, and he may have tragic backstory including a lost family. But he is NOT the Bloody Nine. I have seen him described as more cuddly and that description could certainly work; he is a hard man but genuine in his desire to get better. And despite his similarities to Logan his story stands up on its own, part of a fun weave that made The Grim Company an exciting new entry for us lovers of dark fantasy.
The second nominee is The Black Thorn from The Heresy Within, by Rob J. Hayes. Now this guy is certainly not Logan Ninefingers, despite being the most dangerous barbarian around and running with a crew of big nasties. And despite that fact that his reputation for killing (specifically of killing arbitrators) is often enough to force him to kill again. But unlike Logan there isn’t that hint of wanting something better coming from The Black Thorn, his nasty isn’t hidden behind an awesome nickname. Betrim (his real name) and The Black Thorn are the same person, not two sides of a coin.
So who wins? Surprising even myself the winner is… Betrim, The Black Thorn! While I enjoyed The Grim Company more on the whole (though both books entertained me), when it comes specifically to Barbarian Warriors Not Named Logan Ninefingers I enjoyed Betrim’s path more. He was the best character in his book, whereas Kayne was often overshadowed by a strong surrounding cast.
So congratulations Mr Hayes, your creation has won a coveted Barney award. From what I understand, the trophy has already been lost in the mail. Sorry.
My review of The Heresy Within
My review of The Grim Company