Tag Archives: Joe Abercrombie

Review: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (Book 2: The First Law)

Hey everyone, Werner here.

When I read The Blade Itself, I was completely blown away. It was a success on every level – the story-line, the pace, but most of all the characters. It had everything that I look for in fantasy. So I was a little hesitant when it became time for book two. I had it so built up in my head and, hearing what other people had said, I wondered if the book would reach expectations. It did, boy did it…

The story picks up where it left off with the Union fighting a war on two fronts and a quieter war within. In Dagoska, the cripple questioner Sand dan Glokta is sent as the new Superior after the previous one disappears. His objective? Find out what happened, and keep Dagoska out of Gurkish hands. Glokta is only too happy to do this as years ago the Gurkish Empire tortured him and he has no intention of repeating the experience.

Win or lose, it doesn’t mater, all he knows is they will never take him alive again. In Angland the Union faces Bethod, the new ‘crowned’ king of the north. Marshal Burr is given the command and with his aide, Collem West, they need to stop the northmen. This is harder as it sounds – the dandy Ladisla, who is also the crown price of the Union, wants glory and, if given his way, West might not make it home. They meet some northmen who are not under the sway of Bethod, northmen who know the area and Bethod better than the Union. Northmen who once fought with Logen Ninefingers the most feared and hated man in the north.

And where is the Bloody nine? He is traversing the Old Empire with Bayaz, the first of the Magi, looking for something…

I enjoyed ever second of this book. It keeps the pace and complexity we have come to expect from Joe, and the characters, all of them, are some of the best drawn I have had the pleasure to read in quite some time.

But the most important thing to me was that they grow and change with the story, which they do. They are people that can make mistakes and some make big ones, and then they redeem themselves in the most unexpected ways. The story and characters are gritty and unapologetic, dark and beautiful at the same time, just like life.

If you are looking for something that’s just that little different, just that little more, then this might be for you.


Before They Are hanged

To order your copies of Before They Are Hanged, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And don’t forget to check out Joe’s website here.

P.S. I was asked a question the other day: If I could choose five people to have dinner with, alive or dead, who would it be? Well, if I could have chosen fictional people then Glokta, Logen and West would have made the cut. Though with Glokta there we probably would only have soup.


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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Reviews


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Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (Book 1: The First Law)

With over 38-thousand ratings on Goodreads alone, The Blade Itself needs no introduction. It’s a book that Fantasy readers world wide have read and, in the majority of cases, really enjoyed, and it’s also one of those seminal titles that I’ve been wanting to read since I started this blog in 2008.

Finally, I got it done! 🙂 And damn Joe Abercrombie to the Olympus-mount of Fantasy writers – because it’s a damned good read.

As I said, most of you will know this book, and the characters, so this review will just focus on my thoughts of the experience of reading the book and meeting the unforgettable characters that populate it.

First, you’ve got Logan Ninefingers – feared, a terror of the North, fighting and then tumbling off a cliff. Definitely not the barbarian that readers probably thought they would encounter. He’s stubborn, intelligent, naive, and a peerless combatant. But he has some crazy-cool secrets, too, and the whole package makes him one of the most interesting characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in any form of fiction.

And then comes Glokta – poor, poor Glokta, or should that be brilliant, scheming Glokta? 😉 He’s the most memorable character of the novel, in my opinion, because he was the hero, the one who achieved victory and was celebrated, and the one who lost it all…

Jezal was the character I most enjoyed – he’s an utter chauvinist and whiner, but his about-turns in the novel were excellently handled, showing the reader not only his strange sense of honour but testing his limits and opinions.

These were the stars of the book, but the world Joe created for this trilogy (and which he continues to explore in the stand-alones he has since published) is a star all its own – the various cultures are expertly described, neither too much nor too vaguely, and I got a real sense of the landscapes and vistas Joe explored. It doesn’t surprise me at all the Joe has managed to explore the world so successfully – even those aspects of it just hinted at, when compared with what he shows us, were memorable.

The action in the book is hard and brutal, gory in most instances but always hard, and I stopped counting how many times I winced when blows fell. But the actions suits the characters, too – Glokta can’t wield a sword, for example; Jezal is more of a fencer, and Logan is strong and brutal with almost anything.

Plot-wise, the novel ticks along at a good clip; Joe manages to keep the pace up, even in some of the more political-passages and chapters, and the climax was both satisfying and promising, so I’m eager to Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings.

More focused on the characters, but with a great balance between world-building, plot and pacing, The Blade Itself is unique, memorable, and damned enjoyable – different enough to all the myriad ‘sub-genres’ of Fantasy available these days to stand out. I now know what the fuss is about, and I heartily agree. 🙂

9 / 10

The Blade Itself UK

To order your copies of The Blade Itself, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. There is also a boxed-set of the trilogy available: US, UK, South Africa.

Do go and check out Joe’s website – plenty of info on all his work to date, an entertaining blog, and regular updates on the graphic novel-adaptation of The Blade Itself.

On Friday Werner’s review of Before They Are Hanged will go live, so until then,


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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Reviews


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Graham McNeill’s Empire (Warhammer) Wins the David Gemmell 2010 Legend Award

Graham McNeill’s Empire, the sequel to Heldenhammer, has won the David Gemmell Legend award. 🙂 Awesome news!

Congrats, Graham! 🙂 Haven’t read Empire yet but I really enjoyed Heldenhammer and will be returning to Sigmar and his tale soon.

(Artwork by Jon Sullivan)

There were also other awards – the Morning Star for Best Newcomer went to Pierre Pevel for his debut, The Cardinal’s Blades; congrats, Pierre! 🙂

(Artwork by Jon Sullivan)

The award for the best cover art, The Ravenheart Award, went to Best Served Cold – the award was accepted by Joe Abercrombie and the Gollancz Team. 🙂 Here’s that award-winning cover for you:

Congrats to all the winners! 🙂


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Posted by on June 20, 2010 in Announcements


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Interviews on the way

Thought I’d get you all up to speed on interviews that are on the way: 🙂

First off, I’ve finished Black Ships, and I’ve posted my review, so get out there and buy the book!



 You’ll love it! 🙂 I’m waiting for Jo to send back the interview questions (when she gets time 🙂 ) so that’ll be up soon, and I’m also waiting for Peter F Hamilton to send back the interview I sent him (though I saw on his blog that he had an unplanned visit to the hospital – everything seems to be okay though 🙂 ) so that will also be up here soon. 🙂

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get Joe Abercrombie for an interview, but that’s totally understandable – he’s busy with his next book, so yè, let’s all leave him alone. 🙂

 Till next time, Be Fantastic!
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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Announcements, Musings


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