Bitter and merciless war is coming to the frozen north. It's bloody and dangerous, and the Union army, split by politics and hamstrung by incompetence, is unprepared for the slaughter that's coming. Lacking experience, training, and in some cases even weapons, the army is scarcely equipped to repel Bethod's scouts, let alone his elite forces.
In the heat-ravaged south, the Gurkish are massing to assault the city of Dagoska, defended by Inquisitor Glokta. The city is braced for the inevitable defeat and massacre to come... but a plot is festering to hand the city to its besiegers without a fight, and the previous Inquisitor of Dagoska vanished without trace. Threatened from within and without the city, Glokta needs answers, and he needs them soon.
And to the east, a small band of malefactors travel to the edge of the world to reclaim a device from history - a Seed, hidden for generations - with tremendous destructive potential. A device which could put a end to war, to the army of Eaters in the South, to the invasion of Shanka from the North - but only if it can be found, and only if its power can be controlled.
©2007 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Abercrombie plays hardball. The moment you think you are getting ahead of the plot; as soon as it becomes obvious who is going to survive and who is not; an instant after you sigh with understanding and a knowing nod of the head, a new window opens, perspective changes, and everything in the room makes a new and different kind of sense. Finally you just quit trying to suss it all out, accept the fact that you are in the hands of a master, and listen--rapt. I have finished the first two books now and have no idea where this is going. I just know that I will be fascinated and satisfied when we arrive.
Steven Pacey is flawless. Exactly the narrator Abercrombie deserves. And all for less than ten dollars a book. This is heaven!!
Two caveats: under no circumstances should you read these books out of order, and if you have problems reading descriptions of brutality or tolerating common, sexually descriptive language, just don't bother starting.
Joe Abercrombie is now on my list of writers to watch and Steven Pacey is superb. I've recommended this trilogy to friends, and the audio version is a must. Thanks to audible readers who mentioned Joe Abercrombie in their comments on other books or I would never have stumbled across this great trilogy.
Much like at the end of the first book in this series, I found myself completely caught by surprise when this book ended. Once again I was entranced by Joe Abercrombie’s characters and the life infused into them by Steven Pacey and it was jarring to abruptly be forced to return to real life. I say abruptly because there is no closure to the story arc with this book. If you decide to come this far then you will need to go further to sate your hunger for an outcome to the many story threads.
Book two follows Bayaz, Logen, Jezal, and Ferro on their quest to the edge of the world for a powerful artifact. Of course this is a volatile mix of personalities and the only time they aren’t close to killing each other is when someone else is trying to do the job for them.
The Union’s war in the North continues and Collem West finds himself entangled within a dysfunctional military leadership group facing a deadly enemy in Bethod and his assembled armies. With two Generals that spend more time opposing each other than the enemy and a useless, spoiled Prince the Union army is primed to destroy itself.
And finally, our old friend Glokta finds himself in the South tasked with preventing the Gurkish from taking the city of Dagoska. As a war starts up on a second, much less defended front, Glokta must fight his own demons from the past as a prisoner of the Gurkish in addition to the Gurkish themselves.
I was pleased with the increased amount of time spent with Logen’s former band of Northmen, which is now led by Threetrees. As with all of the other story threads I was always eager to find out what happened to them next and was always saddened anytime someone was sent back to the mud.
So if you enjoyed book one, I see no reason why you would not enjoy book two. As with book one, I am once again only handing out 4 stars overall because of how I was left hanging at the end. I was shocked when it was over and felt there should have been more to the book and more closure to the story threads before moving on to book 3. That being the case, I did not hesitate to fire up book 3 because I need to spend more time with my new friends, no matter how flawed they are. And I must know what happens...
Finest author in the genre. This is not a novel for children, or for fans of unicorns and pixies. As fantasy books go, Mr Abercrombie writes his novels with an amazingly realistic portrayal of his many flawed but entertaining characters. Dark, gritty full of black humor, these books actually get better as the series progresses. Fantastic narration.
Just finished The Blade Itself - the first book in this series.
Beware: The audiobook for Blade Itself does not include the entire book and is missing the last 3 chapters. Audible has removed, I'm assuming to fix the issue. If you have not read the first book I would wait until they fix the audiobook before starting this one.
With that said, I just started this book and am really liking the continuation of the story. The narration is fantastic (as in the first book) though read a little choppy during battle sequences. The narrator does a great job with the dialogue and infusing different character into each of the voices, especially Glokta. The writing style and dialogue is top notch. Anything Abercrombie has written to date is a treat. Note: not for the faint hearted.
Haven't read the book, but Steven Pacey is an awesome narrator!
I still like Glokta. And Logan. And West. Okay, most of these characters are my favorite because they are basically trying to do the best they can given their circumstances and the world they live in. Both would reject any pity directed their way. In this novel there are no soft characters- they wouldn't survive long in the world that Abercrombie has created.
Steven gives all characters their own voices. He even does a great job of narrating Glokta's inner dialogue. That is hard to do- often you listen to a book and it takes you awhile to figure out that the narration are the thoughts of the character. Not so here. Glikta's mental musings are done fantastically! Pacey narrates all the characters with full emotional effect, and I was captivated the whole time,
This book moved me. I was spellbound. I couldn't wait to hear what happened next throughout the book. It isn't a happy book- there are no fairy tales here- but it is a compelling book.
Be warned, this book is more gruesomely graphic than the first. It's still a captivating book, and I couldn't put it down, but I wasn't quite ready for some of the gruesomeness. That's the only reason that it doesn't get a full 5 stars in every category.
My overall review of this book pretty much mirrors The Blade Itself - which is the first in the series. Mr. Pacey continues his outstanding narration work only solidifying my opinion that he is indeed one of the best in the business. The way he portrays Inquisitor Glokta makes this character come alive and one of the most interesting in the story and there are many. Abercrombie breathes life into so many characters regardless of how long they are part of the story or their significance to the main plot. If you've read the first book you need to continue on. If you have not...you should stop and go back to the beginning. It will be worth every credit you spend.
I am amazed once again by the high quality of this trilogy! Rather than disappoint, like so many sequels, Before They Are Hanged is even better than its predecessor! Joe Abercrombie's writing and characters are so interesting that I really have no 'favorite' parts. No matter which group of characters or storyline the plot is following, I am totally entertained and invested and can't wait to find out what happens next! Abercrombie's battle and fight scenes are particularly well written and evoke strong pictures in the mind- many better known authors would do well to study his style.
And Steven Pacey is a MARVEL. His vocal characterizations and accents are so solid, he brings each character to unique life, easily recognizable just by his voice. If you are looking for a new narrator to follow, look no further than Steven Pacey. I cannot give this book high enough marks for both story and reader!!
Joe Abercrombie is now one of my favorite authors, Steven Pacey one of my favorite narrators, and The First Law series one of my favorite sagas.
Great, engaging story with a GREAT narrator. SO good I can listen to it on a stairclimber and get through an hour wanting to work out more so I can keep listening. Very gritty story, not for delicate audiences.
I downloaded this entire book for a long car journey across Europe. Absolutely superb. Being new to audio books it was the quality of the narration that really impressed me... such a range of different voices and all from one person. I have read Joe Abercromie books before so I knew I could bet on a good story and I haven't been disappointed. Highly recommeded.
"Say one thing for Abercrombie: say he should write"
This book starts out as strong as the rest of the series and keeps the action flowing throughout. There is an over-arching feeling of frustration in this book and it really adds to the atmospheres created in the first two instalments. I think I enjoyed the book, though I can't shake the feeling of unease while reading it. Masterfully done yet again.
"Superb follow up"
This trilogy is probably the best piece of fantasy writing I've listened to in years. Joe Abercrombie's writing stiyle is such that you can't wait to find out what the next twist is going to be. The descriptions of the more gruesome elements of the story are so good I winced more than once. This coupled with the underlying humour moved this from a standard quest story into a whole genre. Steven Pacey's narration is perfectly paced with each of the main characters voices being distinctly different.
"Probably the best narration I have heard so far"
Steven Pacey does an amazing job of getting the cutting sarcasm and wit of the writing just right in his narration. He is certainly one of the best audiobook narrators in the business.
The story follows a number of characters which could be considered integral to the overall plot and while it constantly moves between each of them to relate their individual stories, it never loses flow or pace.
I read the first book and while it was enjoyable, Steven Pacey brings it to life in a way that I hadn't thought possible. The depth of his voice talent makes it seem like you are listening to an audio play with a large cast, rather than the narration of one man.
"We didn't cut the torture scenes!"
This review is applicable to the entire trilogy, each book is as good, if not better, than the last.
"Next book quickly, I cant wait for long"
absolutely bloody marvellous
oh just all of it, the weave of the relationships, the twists along with the desired predictable human traits. I'm even wishing the San Dan Glokta gets away
5 star, oscar winning. totally consistant the absolutely fantastic narration by Steven
When 2 characters seemed near to dying I actually said out loud in the car "oh no, they cant be" so pretty enmeshed into the story line I think
I only discovered Abercrombie recently and I just can't get enough. Characterisation is superb (helped greatly by Steven Pacey's narration) and the plots are refreshingly unpredictable. If you are looking for traditional swords and sorcery fare, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you seek original storytelling with wit and raw believability, download The Blade Itself now and get listening.
"Explosive but in depth entertainment."
The range of characters and the depth to the story made this a really engaging story that is excellently performed.
All of it it great with many different facets.
pacey brings the characters and the story to life so you can visualize them and get to know them
I wanted to hear what happened to them next.
if you like the first book don't think twice about buying this one and the third.
"The quality of the writing shines through"
Yes, if they were not put off by violence or swearing.
I don't want to introduce any spoilers, but there is little you can predict in this story, the author is very inventive.
Steven Pacey does a brilliant job maintaining all the different accents for the multitude of characters. Even the women are distinctive from each other by his rendition.
There are some very funny one-liners, but I did not think it's the type of book to make you cry.
The quality of the writing and the depth of the characterisation makes this series wonderful.
"A must for any fantasy fan"
I have now read/listened to all of Joe Abercrombies books. After the first I was gripped and eagerly consumed the rest. Absolutely brilliant. Great narration and characterisation as well.
"Steven Pacey Nailed it"
I have read this trilogy before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is my kind of mix of gritty realistic fantasy, war and hard as nails protagonists.
One of the books strengths are the large number of strong and contrasting characters. And Steven Pacey read the story beautifully. He got each character spot on. Each with it's own unique accent and flavor.
Great trilogy, by a good author, and brilliantly narrated. 5/5
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