Monday, 5 November 2012

Review: Before They Are Hanged

Before They Are Hanged
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ferro’s hatred drives her.

Jezal’s ego lures him.

Logen’s fear stills him.

…but the fear of the Bloody-Nine will see them through. Angland is overrun by the Northmen, Dagoska is surrounded by Gurkish, and Adua is about to be brought down from within. Pulled in three separate directions, the fate of the Union lies in the hands of a divided few. Whilst Crown Prince Ladisla straightens his best uniform for a dinner date on the battlefield, Inquisitor Glokta works his crippled legs to ‘march’ to war.

And all this hangs in the balance of a rabble’s quest…

A quest for heroes, men of courage, valour and conscience. Funnily enough, neither Ferro, Jezal nor Logen boast the desired qualities. Even if they can overcome their desires to kill each other, uncover the secrets of the past, and locate the key to their survival, they still have to make it back in one piece.

…better to hang a hope on a rabble, than to hang from the noose...

Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Before They Are Hanged’ is the sequel to his debut novel ‘The Blade Itself’, and the second book ‘The First Law’ series. ‘Before They Are Hanged’ is a hard-fought hard-earned story of ancient secrets, old foes, and fresh blood.

In ‘Before They Are Hanged’, the reader is plunged straight into the deep-end. Embattled on both north and south fronts, the Union struggles to keep its head out of the water. The plot is wide and wonderful, encompassing a journey to new-ends, a bitter fight to the end, and a charge to glory on the battlefield.

Old characters are unmistakeable in their weathered and worn guises, pumped up with the blood of a good scrap. Add to the already colourful cast an artist’s palette of pompous Princes, traitorous Underlings, and a helping of sell-out Merchants, and you’re sure to be in for a rip-roaring performance.

Abercrombie set the standard with his quirky prose in ‘The Blade Itself’ and continues it into ‘Before They Are Hanged’. However, I did find parts of ‘Before They Are Hanged’ a little slower than its predecessor, something of a slog at times. I’ll give it its due though, the promise of things yet to come is more than enough to keep any reader on board for the finale.

To win or to lose, it hangs in the balance…only blood can tip the favour.

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