Lord of the Silent Kingdom - Glen Cook I believe I've finally figured out what has disappointed me in Cook's Instrumentalities of the Night. It's the same thing that spoils my enjoyment of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series: There's nothing to fight for.

The villains of both series are suitably "bad" and, by any moral criterion, deserve to be resisted but their opponents aren't much better. Oh, the individuals the authors chose to focus on may be likable enough (more so in Cook's case than Jordan's, in my opinion) but the forces they lead or are allied with are no better than the enemy.

I can handle less than saintly "good guys" but on some level they have to be striving for something better than the status quo or just to hold on. For me, it's what makes the Black Company series better. Croaker is fighting for his "family" in the Company and for Lady; at his core, he's a romantic.