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Search Results for your search with keyword "Abercrombie"
Joe Abercrombie
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Last Argument Of Kings
paperback
704 pages
Having not actually read the first 2 parts of the trilogy, I was expecting pages of epic landscapes alive with giants, goblins, dragons and bestrode by shining heroes in silver armour wielding magic swords dealing out death and destruction...

In face, Abercrombie's world is a world made of men. Their actions, emotions desires, words, triumphs, failings, smells and innards. The author takes you through the story from the various points of view of the main charactors, and what a collection of charactors they are, beautifully fleshed out, 3D and brought to life so that I almost expected to meet them whilst out walking the dog in the woods. The major benefit of this style is that you never tire of one charactor and you ride along behind their eyes so you know and understand their motives and grow to love and sympathise with them even though they are cabable of the dreadful.

Don't get me wrong, there is much here the hackneyed fantasy reader will recognise. A grizzled campaigner, a young handsome swordsman, an ancient arch magi, a torturer, a beautiful girl and a host of barbarian tribesman. However all given a refreshing twist. The swordsman is a cowardly, self obsessed snob. The grizzled campaigner is oft possessed by a 'beserker' alter ego who is as likey to kill his best friend as his worst enemy and the beautiful girl is a slightly tarty 'low-born' with an inclination to hit the bottle.

Potential buyers of a sensitive nature be warned the writing style is more Guy Ritchie than Tolkien. Expect profanities, sex, gore and plenty of black humour.

The joys of this book are the authors ability to create 'real' people, he has a gift for dialogue and moves the action along at a satisfying pace and puts you in the heart of it. The story avoids being cliched and predictable for the most part. The charactors are all shades of grey rather than being definatively evil or good.

Would have scored higher if it wasn't for the rather "sudden" appearance of "magic" at the end, but I guess that was somewhat to be expected. Still would have been nice to have a fantasy story without it for once..

Still, the writing is so involving that I'll overlook this minor issue, can't wait to read the other books in this trilogy

Recommended
9/10
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Joe Abercrombie
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The Blade Itself
paperback
536 pages
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body... Not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed.. especially when Bayaz gets involved.

A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult...

One you won't want to put down, a thrilling ride through the eyes of each of the protagonists as their lives slowly converge towards each other.

Recommended!
9/10
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Joe Abercrombie
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Before They Are Hanged
paperback
448 pages
The second book in The First Law Trilogy and the sequel to The Blade Itself. In this middle volume of the sequence, Before They Are Hanged picks up the storylines left dangling from the first novel and develops them further. As with the first book, this volume often feels like a 'standard' fantasy novel with lots of standard tropes in use, but Abercrombie successfully continues to put a subversive spin on events which keeps things fresh and interesting.

There are three main plot threads in the book. In the Northlands, the Union Army prepares to face the forces under Beothed. They have enlisted the aid of Threetrees and his band of cutthroats and warriors, but Marshal Burr and Colonel West find their hands full with just keeping their feuding generals from each others throats and babysitting the preening, useless Prince Ladisla.

Meanwhile, in the South, the city of Dagoska falls under siege from the army of the Gurkhal Empire. Inquisitor Glokta, in the city to investigate the disappearance of his predecessor, finds himself orchestrating the defence of the city against a vast and powerful foe, but is also forced into making alliances with suspect agents in order to ensure the city's survival.

In the West, Bayaz and his band of unlikely companions continue their journey to the edge of the Circle of the World, to recover a weapon of tremendous power. Their journey will take them through the fallen remnants of the Old Empire, an ancient city and a towering mountain range before their goal can be achieved.

Abercrombie's story rattles along at a fair old pace. With the characters introduced, there is no more need for scene-setting and the plot explodes with vigour. More happens in this 450-page novel than some writers struggle to squeeze into an 800-page tome, and it's all invigorating, page-turning stuff. There's a lightness of touch and plenty of humour in the writing which makes reading the book all the more pleasurable. The characters become more interesting, with Glokta particularly becoming a morally ambiguous person whom the author gives real character to, his decisive ruthlessness coming as quite a shock in some parts of the book. Meanwhile, in other parts of the story other characters undertake unexpected transformations. Meeting other people who know Bayaz from earlier in the world's history forces the reader to reconsider their opinion of him, whilst another character undergoes a startling personality transformation which is kept quietly in the background, hinting at some darker force moving in the storyline which will be explored further in the final book of the series, which I read first..

I think this is the weakest one in the series, as it's somewhat goalless and meandering, although you'd probably get that with the second book in a trilogy. But on a whole it's still a great read, especially when it will lead to reading the third, and best, episode..

Recommended.

7/10
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Running Apache