Abercrombie uses this book to assemble his cast of characters, and a fascinating and irresistible crew they are. Flawed, idiosyncratic, dangerous and..Show More » often quite funny when they least mean to be, they have been dragged kicking and screaming into his tale and, by the end of the book, he has them all moving reluctantly in the same direction. The wonder is that, while we know the "real" story has not even begun yet, he has already ushered us through a harrowing and thrilling ordeal filled with brilliant detail. Simultaneously, along the way, he has introduced us to a fully imagined world which is remarkably convincing. And as several other reviewers have remarked, not the least of the attraction is that the characters we meet are complex and unlikely heroes.
I bought this audiobook because I so enjoyed "Best Served Cold," by the same author. I was slightly apprehensive because a part of the attraction of that book was the narrator, Michael Page, who did a superb job. I was a bit sad that he was not the narrator for this one as well. To my amazement I found that Steven Pacey was at least Page's equal and perhaps even a demi-shade better. This is a wonderful marriage of great writing and great reading.
I am going to have to delay reading the second and third books in this series because I am loathe to have the whole thing end. Anticipation will heighten the experience, I think. In any event, Abercrombie is now among my very favorite authors of this genre.
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 wh..Show More »o 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.
If you like happy endings where the hero gets the girl or the hobbit returns home to sit by the fire then you need to look elsewhere. However, if you ..Show More »have enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy then chances are you aren't looking for those kind of endings anyway. If you are wavering on reading book 3 because of the darkness of the first two then be warned that it only gets worse. It is likely something bad will happen to whatever character you are rooting for.
Abercrombie is ruthless in the way he resolves his story arc and no character gets through unscathed. You will have to take comfort in the fact that you do get a full reveal of what's been going on behind the scenes from the beginning because you will find little comfort in what actually happens. Things go from bad to worse for most of the characters and even those who win big in the end are actually losers. The big reveal didn’t make all the pieces fit together perfectly for me, but I am going with 5 stars anyway because I totally enjoyed the series and I wasn’t left guessing.
When I step back and think about the series and the characters I still wonder why I like it. Each of the main characters has a dark side and does some truly evil things, female characters are treated pretty poorly by the author, and the world itself is pretty bleak and almost without hope. Then I think upon Steven Pacey’s reading and I wonder no longer. I enjoy almost every character in the series and it is simply because of the way Pacey reads them. They feel like old friends that I trust and therefore I am willing to look the other way when they do something I despise. I have listened to a lot of audio books and I would now list Steven Pacey as one of my favorite narrators.
So if you liked the first 2 books, bust out your antidepressants and get ready for more of the same. Although the ending does leave things open-ended enough for a continuation of the series, I am quite satisfied with the way all of the threads came together and don’t feel like I was left hanging. After all, you have to be realistic about these things.