In the top 3 (of about 30).
Marshal Kroy, for trying to do the right thing and seeing that sometimes there isn't a right thing.
Yes. I took extra-long dog walks so I could hear more.
Joe Abercrombie has ruined me for other authors. When I read battle scenes in other books, I get impatient with all the near-misses, and the way that the protagonists get all the lucky breaks. In a real battle, for all the crazy near misses, there must be many more cases where the guy didn't turn around in time, or ducked left instead of right, or tripped on a gopher mound.
Abercrombie tells the whole story. He tells us about the cases where the near-miss didn't happen, about the guy who is formidable on the battlefield but chews his nails when he gets nervous in the evening between battles, and about the inevitable aches and pains that come with beating on other people and getting beaten. His characters are human and multi-dimensional, and funny enough to make me laugh out loud. One twist really surprised me, enough that I was again laughing at the crazy but credible way things went.
It has been a while since I read Abercrombie's other books, but I didn't feel lost, and I don't think that jumping into this as a first-time Abercrombie book would be a problem.
I am often bored by action scenes, but I was riveted by the action in this book. When any character can die at any time, suddenly it's important to know what happens and how. I also liked the way the tone shifts with each different point of view. Each character sees the world in a different way, and notices and interprets things differently. When I read that this book just covers a single 3-day battle, I thought it might be all action, no heart. I should have trusted Joe. As rough and dark as his books are, they are all about heart and soul and how people really think.
I've never heard the other narrator that some reviewers are raving about, but I very much enjoyed Michael Page's narration. The characters all had distinct voices, and the general quality of his voice was great for this book's style.
I enjoyed this book because of the many cool ideas. David Brin excels at projecting current trends into the future, and his science is solid. I didn't identify with any of the characters, but I enjoyed their stories. I liked the near-future parts a lot, but then the last several chapters got less personal and thus less interesting. Or it might just be that the later parts focused on characters I didn't like. But we were supposed to dislike them, so I can't fault the book for that. All in all, I am glad I read this. I am still mulling over some of the new ideas.
No. Just other books in this series.
Some people found this book confusing. I didn't; I just found it boring. I don't care about any of the characters or what happens to them. Well, actually, I do care about one character, but her future arc is far too predictable. I'm not one of those people who's always anticipating the plot, but I could see every "twist" coming from a mile away. Granted, I did not finish the book. I knew things were going downhill in a trite tournament scene, and by the time I got halfway through the book, I just couldn't be bothered to continue.
I think a great narrator could have saved this book. Paul Boehmer, unfortunately, is not that narrator.
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