Read Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie Online


Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frSuperior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged....

Title : Before They Are Hanged
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780575077881
Format Type : Trade Paperback
Number of Pages : 441 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Before They Are Hanged Reviews

  • James LafayetteTivendale
    2019-03-25 07:55

    "We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged" - Heinrich Heine Before They Are Hanged is Abercrombie's second entry into the twisted and grim world of The First Law. It follows on from the three story arcs that The Blade itself stylishly led towards. Bayaz, the first of the Magi is venturing to the end of the Earth with his bizarre collection of distinctive personnel for reasons unbeknown to all apart from the Mage himself. Superior Glokta has traveled South to infiltrate the politics of an allied nation, hoping to find out what happened to his ill-fated predecessor and preparing defences for the attacks soon to be initiated by an advancing and ultimately imminent rival army. The remaining narrative intertwines the stories of the rough-living, legendary warrior group of Threetrees and the Dogman with the troubles in the North where the Union is tackling the Northern King's great forces. Here we follow the action of "the worst-armed, worst-trained and worst-led army in the world" For one of the narratives arcs, three points of view presentations are followed, often within the same chapter switching between actions and opinions. The second has two viewpoints from very different characters summarising the happenings in the unwelcoming harshness of the cold real world with battles looming. The final is presented by Superior Glotka alone. A former dashing fencer who was tortured, crippled and now is an inquisitor/ torturer. Trust me, you would have to wake up pretty early in the morning to outsmart this gentleman! He is perhaps the finest creation in this series, for his tortuous past, achingly uncomfortable present and also his internal monolgues which are as highly gritty as they are humorous. I mentioned he is the only POV section in this arc, but his internal thoughts are often so comically different from his statements and actions that it is like two amazing viewpoints. His character is outstandingly well written. There is also a pretty distinctive juxtaposition in his presentation of events and environments. He still sees beauty in the world in his descriptions of things and then a second later could be commanding a subordinate to cut off a traitors body part.I very rarely read other reviews before writing my own, but I did catch one snippet from a status update that was very apt. It stated that Abercrombie's stories are full of "bastards that grow on you." I think that that is a perfect analogy. I honestly shouldn't care about most of the people written here. Why do I truly care about vain, flamboyant, selfish officer Jezal when something bad happens to him? Perhaps he deserves all he gets for his previous outlook and analysis of existence. Why do I care about Logan Ninefingers? He seems like an average warrior guy with scars encompassing his body, who people say was pretty handy with a sword and did some damning things in the past. I really cared about the majority of the main characters. Although a few fantasy character tropes are presented, spoilt King in waiting, mages, Devils etc... Nothing at all seems cliche and that cannot be said for a lot of modern fantasy works. My review of The Blade Itself raved about the characters and from my previous paragraph, you can see my opinions there haven't changed. If anything, my views have been reinforced and heightened about how much of a knack Abercrombie has for this aspect of his fantasy work. Although not really too negative and off-putting, I did comment on the lack of action throughout the first book. Action wise, Joe truly has raised the bar high here. Battles, sieges, and The Bloody Nine - all are expertly presented and adrenaline pumping. It doesn't all need to be full guts gory and bloody to have an emotional dark impact either, and there are a few moments here that are poignant in their effectiveness for that reason. I call this the (just made this up but it sounds cool) "pushing Bran from the Tower technique," very intricate actions that have long lasting effects even though the act in question was simple. In addition to the lack of action, my other grating issue with The Blade Itself was the world and the histories, although not hollow, did seem a bit unfulfilled. I was unsatisfied that there was still no map, but a lot of the above has been rectified here. Most of Bayaz et al's scenes are travel based (the end of the world isn't close) so we are presented cool stories by the characters to pass the time at campfires. Bayaz talking about the history of the world, his relationships with other important, almost legendary figures and his past failings are memorable. A scene that stood out to me was very simple, perhaps twelve pages where an ensemble discusses their scars. So not only have the already complex characters become deeper, the world and its past are filled in pretty well here. There is also a bit of a "love story" here to look forward to. I was highly satisfied with the majority of what I read here. Abercrombie is a genius is his moulding of characters and of all things "grim". Normally, the ending of a story can add a star to my rating. The finale to one of the arcs of this book had the opposite effect. I will not go into details but I will be interested in the comments to see if people agree and/or know the narrative I am discussing. I felt let down and almost like I had wasted my time waiting for that culmination. This is probably a 8.5/10 but "Last Argument of Kings" must give me a reason for the arc ending this way. If it does, I will re-evaluate what I have written in this little section. To conclude, this trilogy seems to be a character driven fantasy that is unequaled in the genre. Gripping, thrilling, gritty and pretty damn awesome.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-04-24 05:54

    Glokta is an excellent torturer. Some would even say the best, but somewhere down his crooked path he made some rather nasty enemies. Such is life......So, as a polite death sentence, he gets sent on a mission that is suicidal and near impossible to complete. Anybody else would fail. However, this is Sand Dan Glockta: the most ingenious torturer and manipulator to ever wear the Union’s colours. You can’t simply get rid of him. His enemies have made a terrible mistake in underestimating him. Physically, he is very weak. Mentally, he is brilliant and ruthless. You’d be a fool to cross him.A party of hatersAbercrombie certainly likes to give a dark twist on what could have been a conventional fantasy series. Instead of having a company of friends and allies, there is a company of misfits who absolutely detest each other. Bayaz, the first of the Magi, has brought them together to recover a deadly weapon; it’s clearly for his own ends, but he has concocted a persuasive lie about his intentions. Despite his supposed moral superiority, he is just as bad as the rest. Indeed, the group’s members are mean, selfish and they’re all killers. This makes for an amusing, and somewhat unusual, group of travelers. The chances of a member being murdered are just as high as the party working together. As the novel progresses this dynamic begins to shift. The hatred doesn’t evaporate, though it does develop into a mutual need to succeed and survive. They learn to rely on each other’s talents, and even go as far as to pay the odd compliment on each other’s killing skills. Such comradery! In the end, they’ve got each other’s backs. Either that or there all dead. It was a slow development that was appropriate to their personalities; it would have been very strange if these guys suddenly became best mates overnight. These just aren't the sort of people that have friends, at least, not for very long.It’s all about Glokta, the nastiest bastard in fantasy.Superior Glotka was once a hero. Those days are long gone. He now enjoys to torture in the same ways he was once tortured. But, he’s not malicious. It’s his job to torture. Someone’s got to do it, right? So why not an expert? Why not get some fun out of it? Except on his mission he learns to torture people in another way; he manipulates them emotionally and forces them to aid in his hopeless defence of Dogoska whilst he tries to uncover who murdered his predecessor. It’s not an easy task, but Glokta can handle it. He’s one tough, remorseless, bastard. "Honour, eh? What the hell is that anyway? Every man thinks it's something different. You can't drink it. You can't fuck it. The more of it you have the less good it does you, and if you've got none at all you don't miss it."I love his characterisation; it’s dark and powerful, but most importantly it’s utterly unique. I feel like I should hate this guy, though somehow he comes across as sorrowful. He’s a pragmatist; he knows what his weaknesses are, and he knows what he is. No other writer I’ve come across in fantasy can write such villainous characters that can so easily be sympathised with. Mark Lawrence certainly couldn’t pull it off in hisBroken Empire Trilogy.I think Abercrombie has earnt his reputation as King of grimdark fantasy. What’s not to love? There’s war, political drama and evil vs evil. These early books are so much better that his newer stuff! The First Law Trilogy1.The Blade Itself- A bloody four stars2.Before They are Hanged - A gritty fours stars3. The Last Argument of Kings- A strong four stars

  • mark monday
    2019-04-20 10:20

    okay enough with the reviews and comments from folks saying that there aren't any likeable characters in this series! what we have here are: (1) a barbarian with a heart of gold. sure, he can turn into a mass murdering psychopath when pressed, but my gosh, that doesn't happen too often!(2) an ex-slave who lives to destroy her former abusers. yes, she's grouchy & savage & suspicious of everyone, particularly white people. do you blame her? she was a former slave, abused and raped repeatedly. come on!(3) a centuries-old sorceror, also very grouchy. hey, he's been alive for centuries. he's seen the rise and fall of men. he's trying to stop the world from ending. give him a break!(4) a spoiled nobleman. he doesn't stay spoiled for long! the reader clearly sees him grow and discover new-found empathy, freshly-discovered understanding of the world and the people around him. a person can change, can't they? these are all completely loveable and endearing creations; i understood their bitterness and suspicious nature and off-putting high-handedness, but i also cheered their slow movements towards understanding each other, towards kindness (of a sort), towards decency. their courage has always been obvious, but with this novel, they become much more recognizably human. reading about their journey was pure pleasure. and the end of that journey? a great bit of dark, dark irony. it is a rather a brave and surprising thing for Abercrombie to pull off. although i am confident more will come out of that journey.also pure pleasure: the continuing misadventures of the torturer Glotka. i was pleased to see a decrease of his italicized snarkiness. it is still there, of course, but it is not everywhere and no longer functions as a kind of shorthand for actual characterization - it is just a part of who he is. was anyone reminded of Tyrion at King's Landing when reading about him seeing to the city of Dagoska? i was. Glotka remains a wonderful and unusual character. as do West and Dogman and all the rest. sure these are all some bitter folks, but they barely even qualify as anti-heroes. to me, they are heroes.Before They Are Hanged is a great middle book. unlike many second novels in a series, it does not feel at all like it is treading water. if anything, this is where the action of the series truly begins. the description of the various travels, battles, and siege are all riveting and Abercrombie retains his status as a writer who truly knows how to describe action. the depiction of magic and of mythology remain compelling. the mysteries remain mysterious - but not in a confounding way; we learn more but just enough to keep things tantalizing. and the writing remains "muscular". i usually hate seeing that word to describe prose because i'm often not sure what it even means, but in this case, the word fits. the writing is tight, sardonic, self-aware, and muscular. this was more than a good read, it was a wonderful experience and i am really stoked to see how it all turns out in the third book.

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-04-03 04:01

    While Superior Glokta holds Dagoska against the Gurkish, Collum West endures untold hardship in the north in the companion of the Prince and Logen's six barbarian friends. Meanwhile, Bayaz, Logen, Luthar, and Nessa head toward the edge of the world for something that should best be left buried...As Elizabeth said in her review of The Two Towers, middle books in a trilogy are tricky business. While you occasionally get one the literary equivalent of The Empire Strike Back, most of them are more like Temple of Doom. This one is way closer to Empire in terms of quality. It even has an ending as shocking as "Luke, I am your father."Where do I start? How about Glokta? Glokta is the Tyrion Lannister of the First Law trilogy as far as I'm concerned. He's crass, crippled, and very complicated. His protectiveness toward Ardee and dedication to the hopeless task of defending Dagoska against overwhelming odds won me over. More Glokta in the next book, please! As for the other characters, I love how Bayaz keeps trickling out details of the history of the Magi, all the while not being completely trusted. The friendship between Logen and Nessa seemed fairly natural and I love what's going on with Luthar. The events in Aulcus were gripping page-turners. It was really hard to put the book down at the end of my lunch break. Qwai and Longfoot could be fleshed out a bit more but you can't have everything. Where would you keep it all?Colonel West and the barbarians enduring the hellish Northern winter made King Stannis' march toward Winterfell seem like a breeze. West pushing the Prince off the cliff was one of my favorite parts of the book.The ending was better than my highest expectations. I wonder how Bayaz and company will rebound from that, as well as Glokta and the mess he's found himself ensnared in.In closing, no sophomore jinx here! Before They are Hanged was even better than The Blade Itself. Five gore-spattered stars!

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-03-26 08:20

    Don’t write off the fantasy tropes just yet, all you unbelievers. This trilogy shows that there is still an enormous amount of life left in some of them. This dark sequel to The Blade Itself is everything I hoped it would be. I would be hard pressed to select a favourite out of the multiple plot threads featured in Before They Are Hanged, but I’m probably partial to the sequences featuring the Named Men. Again, there is an old school sense of wonder to this novel, despite the modern fantasy grittiness. There are some nasty surprises between these pages and many issues aren’t resolved in quite the fashion that the reader might have expected, or even had hoped for. But, as Logen Ninefingers would almost certainly say: you have to be realistic about these things. A great mix of epic and heroic, fantasy-heads can do far worse than giving this trilogy a spin. Unless they are averse to some swearing, violence, dark humour and the occasional rather, um, unrefined and comical hop in the sack. It is at times an uneasy and unsettling read, yet I can’t help but feel that this is part of its charm.The action scenes are relentless and splendidly written, albeit somewhat gruesome on occasion. The book showcases everything from minor skirmishes to full scale pitched warfare. There is even a siege thrown in for good measure. Two wars being fought on two separate fronts inevitably equal a high body count. Abercrombie certainly appears to have a knack for this kind of thing. You’d think that the character development would suffer in all this chaos and madness. Oh, how wrong you’d be! As the second novel in a trilogy, this could easily be seen as a bridging work. However, I enjoyed it even more than the first. There’s certainly a lot more going on. The Blade Itself was very good, but it didn’t really go anywhere and left the reader somewhat mystified as to where the story was headed. Before They Are Hanged rectifies this in spades, and there is a lot of progression. Here’s hoping Last Argument of Kings continues this run of good form and closes the trilogy in spectacular fashion. Capital!

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2019-04-23 05:53

    4.5 With Characters Like These Who Worries About the Plot Stars Buddy read with Athena, Alexa,Ashley, Eon, Anasylvia and MichelleThe Blade Itself was a complete character study without a lot of plot, Before They Are Hanged has a little more plotting involved but for me it was still all about the characters. I travelled with them, I worried for them, I hoped for the best even in the midst of the worst and at the end I’m left wondering how they will ever get out of the complete mess they are all in.GlotkaStrange how, with time, even the most terrible suffering of others can become . . . tediousGlotcka has proved again what a complex character he is. Is he the misunderstood hero or is he the villain? I’m never quite sure myself. He can torture better than anyone but still it seems that he has a conscience and I love the inner dialogue he has. I look forward to his chapters because even though in so many ways he is awful he is also extremely clever and knows the true score. He might be dead as soon as the other players in this dangerous game he is playing. If he can’t keep on the right side of the people in power he will be the body floating in the docks. So he plays his part of the game better than anyone else and proves that just because you are horribly crippled the mind is a dangerous thing and being smart will save your ass more than a solid sword arm.Logen and Ferro + the rest of the travelers (Bayaz, Jazel, Quai and Longfoot)I ship Logen and Ferro so hard. Both are fierce warriors with horrible pasts. Again we get to see Logen and the burden he has carried by having Ninefingers as a traveler in his head. Logen is calm, smart and collected. He hands out great advice and seems like the true leader of the pack. But when 'The Bloody Nine' comes out to play no one is safe, even his allies. Ferro, I just want to hug you, but you’d probably slit my throat if I tried. Learning about her past made me feel so much for her character. She is a feral beast to be sure but I loved the time she and Logen spent together and how close they became. Jazel surprisingly has grown on me, all it took was a near brush with death and some real pain to make the boy grow up a bit. He might be a decent person after all and it just make me wonder what is Bayaz grooming the boy for.‘Easy, now, and listen to me. It hurts, yes. Seems like more than you can take, but it isn’t. You think you’re going to die, but you won’t. Listen to me, because I’ve been there, and I know. Each minute. Each hour. Each day, it gets better.’ Bayaz is still a huge mystery to me and everyone else he is traveling with so I guess it is only fair I’m in the dark about his character as well. It seems that Quai has started to question his master a little more and the First Magi must tell stories of his past in order to convince the group that he is prepared and will not make the same mistakes again.“All the great heroes of old, you know - the great kings, the great generals - they all faced adversity from time to time.” Jezal looked up. He had almost forgotten that Bayaz was there. “Suffering is what gives a man strength, my boy, just as the steel most hammered turns out the hardest.”Wow what a journey these characters had and I will say at the end of it I was beyond surprised with how it all turned out. With all they went through to get where they were going I didn’t expect the outcome and can’t wait to see what the band of brothers + Ferro will do now.The Northmen and WestThe Named men from the north have found a common ally against Bethod, but the crafty king has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and things might just get a little bloody.”It was a bad day for men, all in all, and a good one for the ground. Always the way, after a battle. Only the ground wins.”I was so upset with West at the end of The Blade Itself but seeing him in his new position and having to deal with the Prince and a few other circumstances I really began to like him again. He has practically redeemed himself to me and I honestly felt extremely bad for him at one point (view spoiler)[She winced and stared down at the ground beside his feet. ‘I didn’t mean to . . . well. I owe you a lot, I know. It’s just that . . . you’re too angry for me. That’s all.’West stared at her as she trudged off up the hill after the Northmen, hardly able to believe his ears. She was happy to bed that stinking savage, but he was too angry? It was so unfair he almost choked on his rage.So no love for West yet.(hide spoiler)]But I like West and the Named men together and it seems they have a lot to teach each other.The Rest of the StoryThere was a lot going on in this and at the end of it and well to be honest, it seems hopeless for everyone. The deck is definitely stacked against them all and I’m not sure how they will win let alone survive the upcoming battles. There are so many players, old debts to be settled, new terrifying adversaries how many more will die???That said I still can’t wait to see how everything plays out and I am crossing my fingers and hoping that at least of few of my favorite characters, if not all, will make it out alive.Buddy Read of the next book cannot come soon enough.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Jokoloyo
    2019-04-07 08:02

    The fun continues!!!I give a high rating due to its page turning storytelling, dark humour, fight/battle scenes, and characters. Especially characters! There are new interesting characters made first appearance on this book. (view spoiler)[For example Nicomo Cosca and Caul Shivers. They will have more important roles on Best Served Cold. You'll love Cosca although he is an unreliable drunkard.(hide spoiler)]But as book two of a trilogy serial, the plots are still far from finish. At least some questions/mysteries from book one are answered on this book.

  • Ɗắɳ2.☊
    2019-04-23 06:06

    Having waited nearly two years to delve back into this series, I was a bit concerned about picking up the thread of the storyline without becoming overly confused. Surprisingly, that never proved to be much of an issue at all—a true sign of a well written tale. Another surprising revelation was that I enjoyed most all the characters this time around, which was one of my big complaints from book one. I basically hated two of the points of view in that one. Jezal was such an insufferable snob, but nothing that a little smack in the mouth couldn’t fix. Both he and Glokta became much more sympathetic characters over this leg of the journey. However, I was still aggravated with Glokta’s constant bellyaching—I get it, you’re crippled, your body is wrecked in a thousand unspeakable ways, every movement is pure torture, but can you give it a rest already? Thankfully, it was toned down somewhat from book one, which was torturous to read at times.Our story here picks up right where book one left off, and soon finds the cast split into three main groups. Our core group of Bayaz, Logen, Ferro, and Jezal is led by a navigator to the edge of the known world on a quest to acquire an ancient weapon capable of destroying the Gurkish emperor—a powerful magi at odds with Bayaz. Meanwhile, Glokta is tasked with an impossible mission of not only holding the port city of Dagoska, which is currently under siege, but also rooting out any Gurkish sympathizers within the high council. Then lastly, Jezal’s old friend Colonel West welcomes Logen’s pack of barbarians (whom Logen still believes to be dead) into the ranks of the Union army to scout out a way to defeat the Northern savages . . .The story was told, once again, through the multiple points of views. Although, the author adapted a technique that I wish all writers would follow: Whenever the action perked up, he stayed with that particular POV until the scene reached its natural conclusion, rather than building to some cliffhanger only to jump to another storyline. That’s a cheap and vastly overused ploy to make a story appear to be more compelling than it actually is. I always hate to be manipulated in such a manner.Often, the second novel in a trilogy is a lesser work, typically populated with backstories and filler material to set the stage for the finale—not so here. This book, in my opinion, was superior to book one in every conceivable way. Not to mention, the ending to one of the POVs was such a lark that I felt compelled to say, kudos to Mr. Abercrombie for having the cajones to pull that rug out from under us. I found it oddly hilarious. Bottom line: There are so many threads left dangling here that it just begs you to jump right into the third and final book, but since I’ve already managed to hold out for two years between reading books one and two, I think I can resist the urge to wrap things just a tad bit longer. After all, my TBR pile is not getting any smaller. Bonus: In the mist of all this killing and savagery two of my favorite character managed to hook up, in one of the most awkward sex scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading: review of book one, wherein I ramble for hours on end, over matters entirely unrelated to the story. ;)

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-04-21 11:01

    Onvan : Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) - Nevisande : Joe Abercrombie - ISBN : 575077883 - ISBN13 : 9780575077881 - Dar 441 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2007

  • Joshua
    2019-03-28 03:03

    Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say that he's a hell of a writer. With this, he proves that he earned his status as a Named Man of fantasy. This picks up where "TBI" left off, and carries the characters and plot away in new and unpredictable directions. There's political intrigue, betrayal, torture, fights galore, broken hearts and twisted limbs, love, sex, laughs, and going back to the mud. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll refrain from talking about the travails of Collem West in Angland, of the Dogman and the rest of Ninefingers' old crew, of Glokta in a no-win situation on the edge of the Gurkish Empire, and of Logen and Bayaz's group on a journey to the End of the World. Once again, Abercrombie deftly uses the tropes of heroic fiction in ways both satisfying and surprising. The fight scenes are top-notch, approaching the Bernard Cornwell-level of excellence. Abercrombie keeps the story moving, but it is driven by the characters. He never falls victim to the fantasy trap of privileging world-building over character and plot, or of using made-up words when perfectly good English ones will do (Stephen Erikson, I'm looking at you!). I learned more about the social structure of the Union and the North, but it was through the characters and not through needless exposition. The violent meritocracy of the North is contrasted with the rigid class stratification of the Union, with serious results.

  • Kells Next Read
    2019-04-04 09:11

    Hope. Arch lector. Patience. Glokta frowned. Never have three ideas belonged together lessThis second book....dare I say was even better than the first. It was and had every freaking thing I could possibly want in a book. The characters were in ripping form and I'm still at a lost as too who I love more. Glokta is my hero in every aspect of the word. He's witty, raw and down right nasty...and I love him for itLogen, the deadly brute...that's *realistic about things* is hard not to love. His personality is down right wonderful and love to see how he continues to grow and bring the group closer to each other.Jezal character did not fail in the least to have me laughing out loud throughout this Epic read. With all the fighting and killing his humor was most welcomed and necessary.In All, this was a Hell of a book and I can't wait to move unto book three. Joe Abercrombie has definitely become one of my fave authors. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work

  • Nimrod Daniel
    2019-04-01 02:57

    Joe really shines when it comes to his characters, his writing and his style. His characters are what makes the book so enjoyable, with lots of funny/cynical moments. A few times while reading the book I just felt like saying “haha, I like this character, he/ she is super- awesome”. Joe’s style is unique, and that’s what I like in his books, he can write a great book without pulling off lots of sophisticated tricks (plot-wise).There’s more plot here in comparison to the first book (the first 30% was another exposition, though), and the book has a great ending, while Joe pulled-off an Abercrombie-trick from his hat (which is not the Butcher/Sanderson-trick), and with a moving scene afterwards. But still, it’s a four-stars plot, so that’s why I reduced half a star from the overall rating.4.5/5.

  • Evgeny
    2019-04-02 08:12

    This book picks up right where the previous one left. In fact, the only reason to split this tale between two books I see was the length. There are three major plot-lines in here.The first one is a defense by Union forces of its northern territory against an invasion by barbarians united by a ruthless and cunning leader. The Union has an advantage in numbers, but the majority of its soldiers are ill-equipped peasants who never wielded any weapons in their lives. The high command of Union consists of scheming politicians who do not care about the outcome of the war except to advance their own ambitions.The second subplot is a defense by Union forces of its southern territory against an invasion of a mighty Empire united by a ruthless and cunning leader. Did you notice a similarity with the previous one? Everything I mentioned regarding north can be said about south as well.The last subplot is a quest for an artifact by an extremely diverse group of people. This reminds of The Lord of the Rings somewhat, but the outcome of the quest is quite different.Usually the middle book of the trilogy is the least exciting one of it. In this case the author cheated to avoid this: I already mentioned before that the first book feels like a giant prolog, so the second book is the place where things started getting interesting. Most of the characters are very memorable and feel like living people with seemingly bad guys showing traces of humanity and good guys developing their dark sides. The writing quality remains very good and for the most part the book does not disappoint.I still find some kind of exciting is missing - I cannot even name it exactly and this is the reason for the book losing 1/2 of the star from perfect 5 star rating. Thus the final rating is 4.5 stars.This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one:

  • Stjepan Cobets
    2019-04-01 11:17

    The second part of the trilogy “Before they are hanged” takes us into the wastelands of the old empire. Glokta gets impossible and a suicide mission to save the city Dagoska from the attack off Gurhul Empire. Meanwhile, Glokta must find out who killed his predecessor and uncover the conspiracy. Meanwhile fueling the war with northerners, Major West went to fight with unprepared units and mutually antagonistic generals. The only hope is supreme commander Burr that keeps them together. One thing is certain, the leader of northerners Bethod is relentless and his enemies can only hope for death. First of the Magi Bayaz led his small group, over the old empire that has all but not hospitable. Who will live and who will die, no one knows. Writer Joe Abercrombie experienced, as well as in the first part takes us through the story where you can expect the unexpected. I honestly could not wait to buy this book because I enjoyed in the first part and I was not wrong, this is really a fantastic book and soon I intended to buy the third book. The book I would gladly recommend to all fans of fantasy because this is now excellent series.

  • Lema
    2019-04-23 11:17

    Guys! This book is so awesomely non-cliché I can't even..!Ok, first let's put some context into why I loved this so much. So I'm working like crazy and barely have time to read more than 1 hour each day, so reading these in slow doses over 1 month has been such a treat.. I would come back every day eager to jump into my pajamas and spend some time with Glokta, Logen and Jezal and see what those bastards are up to today.Can we take a second to applaud character development done at its finest? and when I say development it could be to the better, the worse or just to the batshit crazy, which I honestly haven't seen done that much before.Let me add that this book probably contains the single most hilarious sex scene I have ever read about *slo-mo claps* This book is such an amazing blend of brutal, gory, awkward, funny, dark, touching, sad, exhilarating, I wouldn't know where to start in my review.. I'll just throw this quote at you while I try to gather my thoughts." 'You could not even guess at the things that I have done. Awful, evil, obscene, the telling of them alone could make you puke.' He shrugged. 'They nag at me from time to time, but I tell myself I had good reasons. The years pass, the unimaginable becomes everyday, the hideous becomes tedious, the unbearable becomes routine. I push it all into the dark corners of my mind, and it's incredible the room back there. Amazing what one can live with.' "See, see?! Anyway, it may not be the best book to binge-read, but it's the best thing that happened to me during a stressful month (Petrik man, I owe you! :D), and the characters are so worth it... They all will probably be committed for intensive psychotherapy if they were real, and they do make me question my morals every time shit goes down and I cheer for those shady bastards.Only one book left in the trilogy and I can't wait to see how all the craziness that happened in book 2 will unfold! Hopefully it'll take me less than a month to finish this time :P

  • Jaya
    2019-04-13 07:57

    4.85 starsI like reading fantasies well enough but was never too keen on those being termed as High/Epic Fantasies considering them not my cuppa... or so I thought. I am glad to be wrong in this instance :)This series is well into my favourites/re-reads shelf. My only regret is that I took so many months to finish this one off, no fault of the book just my capricious infidelities towards books O.OP.S : Glokta (No more words needed)

  • ChopinFC
    2019-03-27 08:01

    Full review... 5 Stars Abercrombie does it again! Before They Are Hanged is a superb follow up series with fantastic characters devious plots and schemes and volatile action that does not stop until the very end! This book is an incredible achievement for a sophomore series. Picture you live in a world much like the medieval times, with large castles and rustic brick roads and villages, where magic both pure and innocent as well as dark and omnipotent are found in the deep confines of the world. Imagine the church, and it's forever dominating inquisicion forge 'truths' from torture chambers and heavy hooks and chains... where battles are inundated by the sounds of crashing swords, chinks of armor and the only sound you hear are hysterical yells of pain and the squeal of dying horses... This to me is the world of the masterpiece by Joe AbercrombieBefore They are HangedChaotic battle in 'Before They are Hanged'It's amazing how reading can take you places you never imagine existed! Joe Abercrombie'sThe First Law series completely blew me away from the get go! I didn't write a full review for the first book, but it was superbly written and developed. Abercrombie probably tops himself in this second installement of the trilogy, as we revisit the adventures and misadventures of such memorable characters! Abercrombie has instantly become one of my favorite fantasy authors after I read the first book in this series,The Blade Itself. The writing is like nothing I've read before in the fantasy genre. Certainly there are many elements of 'grimdark' fantasy in the story, with lots of violence, gore and awesome battle scenes. Yet, Abercrombie can interlude such brilliant moments of innocence and grandiosity, that one would think to be reading an epic fantasy novel!The action in 'Before They Are Hanged' is unrelenting and incredible! The tension in a chapter can go from tame boring to nuclear in 2.2 seconds! Certainly that is one of the addicting qualities in his writing. In one moment a group of characters are walking along a deserted road on a sunny and tranquil day, and the next a group of 'shankas' (also known as 'flatheads') can be waiting 'round the corner for a full all out death experience!Ugly but deadly ShankaThe second book pics up chronologically after the end of the first book. The story is subdivided into 3 separate arcs. One follows 'Logen Ninefingers', captain Jazal and Bayaz 'first of the Magi' ( a sort of wizardry 'Gandalf) in their quest for an evil magician. The second plot follows captain 'West' and the his battle for the troop of 'Angland' against the Northmen. Finally the last arc is my favorite, as everything related to the devilishly fun character ofinquisitor Glokta. A word on Abercrombie and his style of character creation: they are all unique, interesting to the core and bad asses! The dialogue between characters is ever dynamic. There are so many memorable lines, with lots of curses and grimdark themes, but never done in a distasteful way. Inquisitor Glokta, oh Glokta! What a fucked up, deranged, borderline schizophrenic character who's by far myFAVORITE character in the whole series. To understand his present horrific shortcomings one must look at his tragic past! Glokta was a master fencer, a high captain of distinguished valor in the arm of 'Angland', before he was capture by enemy troops and tortured to smithereens. After getting tortured for months, including physical, psychological and emotional abuse, the end result is the broken Glokta... a shadow of his previous self! Boy oh boy, but he is a clusterfuck mess!I always imagine Glokta after the character 'caliban' (from the movie 'Logan'). Glokta is bald, toothless, has ample physical deformities from his previous torture days which make him walk hunched back and limping... a true gruesome sight, specially as he is chosen as the major 'inquisitor' for the church! They say, 'to the victor goes the spoils'... in Glokta's case, to the 'tortured, goes a crazed and jaded inquisitor'. Inquisitor GloktaGlokta has constant internal struggles with himself. Abercrombie masterfully crafts a character who's both sadistic, angry with the world, but clearly processes an internal struggle of identity and right vs wrong. Abercrombie describe's what Glokta is thinking (on a first POV) and immediately his response to other characters! These moments of inner struggle and the ones he's having 'fun' torturing prisoners are what make him such a fascinating character! Here's an example of his constant dialogue with himself:" His grotesque, toeless left leg twitched to itself, still beyond his control. He glared down at it with a burning hatred.Fucking horrible thing. Revolting useless lump of flesh. Why didnt' they just cut you off? Why dont I still?But he knew why not...Abercrombie achieves near nirvana in this incredible follow up series withBefore They Are Hanged . Incredible characters full of tension and emotion, battle scenes of epic proportions and lots of humor and grimdark moments, make this book a must read! 5 Stars

  • Molly
    2019-04-14 03:00

    Here we go... Welcome to round two of The First Law Trilogy. My lovely chocolate asortie of anti-heroes .... or as I'm starting to think of it .... The Sand dan Glokta (or how I still spell it in my head one out of ten times...Glotka) Saga. I love this guy. He's the epitome of all anti-heroes, and a delight to read.In the first book, almost all roads (save for Logen's badass ex-crew of Named Men) led us to Adua. In the second novel the characters scatter towards different sides of the world.Logen "You-have-to-be-realistic-about-this-things" Ninefingers, Jezal dan Luthar (he is growing on me more and more), Ferro Maljinn, Malacus Quai, Brother Longfoot and Bayaz the First of the Magi, embark on a mysterious quest leading them across the Old Empire to Edge of the World. Just looking at this unlikely travelling companions, one knows it will not be a boring and peaceful endeavour.War is brewing in the North, and Major West marches with the rest of the Union troops, under the command of Lord Marshal Burr, to stop Bethod's promised invasion of Anglia.“Burr was frowning. He had been frowning constantly, as far as West could tell, for the last month or two. The man seemed to have no other expressions. He had a frown for hope, a frown for satisfaction, a frown for surprise. This was a frown of the most intense anger. West shifted nervously from one numb foot to the other, trying to get the blood flowing, wishing he was anywhere but here.” Burr leaves West in the back lines to take care of the needs of the heir to the throne, the spoiled Crowned Prince Ladisla and his fancy entourage of rich brats (and keep him safe and out of trouble). Not a position to envy, the one West finds himself in. For better or worse (definitely better, as he will soon realize) he meets there a gang of unlikely allies, Logen's old companions, Dogman, Threetrees, Tul Duru, Black Dow (I'll miss this one the most when his turn comes to go back to the mud) and Harding Grim (who manages to give us a little more than the usual "Uh").“The Great Leveller,' Dogman whispered to himself, since he was in a thoughtful frame of mind. That's what the hillmen call him. Death, that is. He levels all differences. Named Men and nobodies, south or north. He catches everyone in the end, and he treats each man the same.”Last but no the least ...“I am here under a flag of parley, on a mission from the Emperor himself! To harm an unarmed emissary would be expressly against the rules of war!''Parley? Rules of war?' Glokta chuckled. Severard chuckled. Vitari chuckled. Frost was silent. 'Do they even have those any more? Save that rubbish for children like Vissbruck, that's not the way grown-ups play the game. ” Sand dan Glokta travelles South to the city of Dagoska in the company of his Practicals, Frost, Severard and the annoying Vitari (who he suspects might have orders to report on him to the boss and/or leave him as a "body found floating by the docks", heh). “The land walls were twenty strides high at the least. Glokta allowed himself the very slightest smile at the thought of the Arch Lector's favourite Practical slipping, sliding, tumbling from the wall, hands clutching at nothing. Perhaps a despairing scream as she fell to her death? But she didn't fall. Bitch.”Glokta's mission is to solve by any means necessary (as usual) the mystery regarding the disappearance of his predecessor, Superior Davoust. Until he does so, he has to keep the city out of the hands of the Gurkish forces that besiege it, fight the corrupt council, find a traitor ( or traitors) in its midst, and stay alive ... heh, a picnic.“The iron scraped as Frost dragged it from the brazier, glowing orange. Glokta could feel the heat of it even from where he was sitting. Ah, hot iron. It keeps no secrets, it tells no lies.”It has been a great ride. By half point I was pretty sure I would give a perfect five to the second book, but...To tell the truth the only story-line that kept me satisfied till the end was Glokta's. Never a boring chapter. The other two on the other hand (and I know I'm the odd one out)...*sigh*...The West/Dogman story-line was interesting till they re-joined Burr ... than my mind went on holiday. (view spoiler)[West's dark moods and jealousy and Dogman's "romance" did't cut it for me ... and I wasn't surprised one of the crew went back to the mud. I kind of expected it, and somehow I didn't care (fortunately it wasn't my favorite in the gang to bite the dust). (hide spoiler)]“Suffering is what gives a man strength, my boy, just as the steel most hammered turns out the hardest.”On the Logen and Co. front it was kick-ass fun until their exit from Aulcus, the old capital of the Empire.During their journey they were pursued by some pretty persistent bastards trying to get them. They found themselves surrounded by a city full of Shanka, Logen's old foes ... and we had the unwanted "pleasure" to see the reappearance of the Bloody-Nine (Damn, Logen's Jekyll and Hyde moments are blood-curdling). Logen provided the most funny,“The first you'll hear of the Bloody-Nine is the blood hissing out of your neck, that used to be the rumour. Say one thing for Logen Ninefingers, say that he's stealthy.He flowed up to the first wall, slid one leg over it, silent as a mouse. He lifted himself up, smooth as butter, keeping quiet, keeping low.His back foot caught on a set of loose stones, dragged them scraping with him. He grabbed at them, fumbled them, knocked over even more with his elbow and they clattered down loud around him. He stumbled onto his weak ankle, twisted it, squawked with pain, fell over and rolled through a patch of thistles. 'Shit,' he grunted, struggling up, .. all tangled up with his coat.” ... and the most chilling parts of this story-line.“The long blade whispered its secret and the Shanka split apart, clean down the middle like a flower opening, blood spraying out warm and comforting, spattering the anvil, and the stone floor, and the Bloody-Nine's face with wet little gifts.”Loved the interchanging Logen/Jezal/Ferro point of views, and I enjoyed Logen and Jezal's budding "bromance".“A family?' Ninefingers frowned, rubbing grimly at the stump of his middle finger. 'I did have one. And now I've got another. You don't pick your family, you take what you're given and you make the best of it.' He pointed at Ferro, then at Quai. 'You see her, and him, and you?' He slapped his hand down on Jezal's shoulder. 'That's my family now, and I don't plan on losing a brother today, you understand?”Unfortunately after Aulcus (at least for me) (view spoiler)[followed Logen and Ferro's a-few-chapters-too-long "let's call it romance" problems and the somewhat anticlimactic end of the Quest. (hide spoiler)] I know there's another book ... and some things are left for later, but if it wasn't for Glokta the last chapters would have been ... I don't have words.Still a great book, I was just a little disappointed, that's all. Anyway by the raving reviews, maybe it's just me.Next book soon.“Ah. Superior Glokta, I should have guessed.' His voice was deep and rich, his mastery of the common tongue predictably excellent. 'Many people on our side of the sea were very disappointed when your corpse was not among those found in the citadel of Dagoska.' 'I hope you will convey my sincere apologies to them.' 'I will do so.”["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Carmen
    2019-04-16 10:53

    Joe Abercrombie has given me what I enjoy most in a novel: character growth and development.It has me on the edge of my seat to see those jerks from THE BLADE ITSELF learn and grow: a brain, a spine and a heart.Superior Glokta, the heartless cripple who tortures others and has no mercy or remorse, is growing a heart. He is starting to care about whether the confessions he tortures out of people are true or not. He is sparing certain people's lives when before he wouldn't have hesitated to kill them. He is acting as Ardee's protector, shielding the young woman from the harshness of the world. He's still not A Good Man - he still tortures, kills, sentences innocent people to death - but I can see compassion and mercy in him now, where before there was none. He's starting to heal (mentally) from being tortured those two years in the Emperor's prisons. He also, in this book, acts out against racism and forces the people around him to respect the 'natives' and give the 'natives' back their basic rights. He also stops the ghettoization of the 'natives' and opens the city gates to them again.Jezal, the pretty, arrogant, self-centered, whiny spoiled brat from the first book learns A LOT in this novel. He experiences battle firsthand. He kills two men. He's wounded - in a terrible way for him - they wound his beautiful face. His companions, people who he looks down on and treat like crap, patched him up and helped him. Now he is no longer so pretty. He's humbler (although still full of himself) and he's learning to value the 'barbarians', ugly people, and people of low birth who he would have spit on, previously. Slowly but surely, he's growing a brain. He also has killed two men now, so that makes him a little more wise about battle and what it really means to take a life.Logen Ninefingers - I liked this character since the beginning of THE BLADE ITSELF, so I can't really say I've enjoyed watching him change and grow - he's a pretty Good Man, you know, except for being a merciless and brutal slaughterer of thousands. In this book I loved to see his and Ferro's relationship grow.Ferro, the scarred barbarian ex-slavewoman, is slowly, very, very slowly learning how to trust again. Logen Ninefingers is so, so, so careful and patient with her. He does little things to make her life easier. He shows time and time again that he's got her back in battle. This is seduction. Forget about pretty boys, these arrogant jerks I see now that are so popular in YA and New Adult fiction. Logen is certainly not pretty, but he makes it clear that Ferro is the center of his world. He is always respectful of her. Respectful, kind, patient, trustworthy, and slow-moving - it's no wonder that Ferro's defenses are slowly crumbling in the wake of this overwhelming Good being aimed directly at her. He isn't looking for sex, actually even just getting her to sit next to him at the fire seemed like a lofty goal. He just wants her to be happier and wants to help her join the human race again. Hot, hot, hot! Doesn't matter to me that they are both ugly, scarred, tormented people who are used to killing and even more used to being betrayed - this love story (which is miniscule in the book, totally a small little side-plot) makes my heart melt. I hate in stories where people instantly fall in love - I am glad Abercrombie made me wait a book and a half for this. I also hate when sex and lust are in the forefront - some hot guy shows up and makes a few sarcastic remarks and the next thing you know the couple are having (excellent) sex right and left, even though the girl is a virgin. This love story between Ferro and Ninefingers is realistic. It's hard, it takes work, it takes time, and the sex isn't instantly amazing either. Not only is the sex a work in progress, getting better and better each time, but Ferro is so harsh and bitter and angry that it's hard for her to have a normal conversation. She lashes out - a lot - and then doesn't know how to apologize. Ninefingers really has to be extremely patient and cautious with her, and it's a constant struggle. Both are people who have been really beat up by life, and I liked seeing them make a connection.I want to stress that this book is in no way a romance, this is a tiny little subplot that's barely on the radar, but it made me extremely happy, so I had to talk about it.Who else? Oh yeah, Colonel West. He's going to war with a bunch of morons leading the troops. Needless to say, the Union - civilization, the people who look down on the Northern barbarians - picks men to lead battle and rule the country based on birth, not on any sort of merit. As a result, the King is moron, his sons are morons, the Generals (who are Generals because of their ancestry) are inept and petty. It's all West can do to keep some semblance of order. The best part of West's story is when he and the barbarians have to travel a bit by themselves after a horrifying battle. Dow, Dogman, Cathil (the blacksmith woman), and West travel together for a time and West learns a lot. He learns to respect the barbarians. He kills some of Bethod's men in a very vicious manner and earns the name Furious. He catches Prince Ladisla just as he's about to rape Cathil so he kills him. Before this, he was taking every risk to protect the Prince, giving him his coat, slowing the barbarians down to the Prince's pace, etc. etc. I'm was so glad to see West finally grow a spine and save Cathil from that scumbag.It's also fair to note that I love how Abercrombie makes this play out. West has had his eye on Cathil since he first met her (not in an icky way - in a love way). After he saves her from her would-be rapist, he grows more and more accustomed to the idea that he might be in love with her. One night he goes looking for her and finds her having sex with Dogman. Needless to say, he's shocked and disappointed. Much, much later in the book, he and Cathil have a mini-conversation about it - and Cathil admits that she's not attracted to West because he's too angry.This blew my mind. I really appreciate this tiny side-plot by Abercrombie, and I thought it was masterfully done. So often in books the woman who either was raped or was almost-raped falls into bed with the man who rescues her. It's not even a question, usually, it's just assumed that the man who rescues her from being raped is going to end up in bed with her. And I loved that Abercrombie just spit in the face of that trope. BECAUSE CATHIL IS RIGHT. West is angry. He's a man with a temper, and a big problem controlling that temper. He never raised his voice or his hand to Cathil, but she can see that he has a problem and she doesn't want that mess. She makes a good, intelligent decision and I respect Abercrombie so much for making such a great female character. No reader will forget the scene in the first book when West comes home from a bad day at work and beats the sh*t out of his little sister, almost choking her to death and punching her repeatedly in the face. And Abercrombie does make it tempting to forget this - after all, most of the time West is a really stand-up, do-right, sensible, helpful guy who treats barbarians, foreigners, and women with kindness and respect. He saves people's lives and shows mercy when others wouldn't. It would be almost easy to forget the darkness and horrible temper that lurks inside of him, just waiting for the wrong woman to say the wrong thing.This kind of excellent character development and growth is the reason I am staring to adore this trilogy. And it's not the kind of trilogy I would usually pick up - it's dark, it's grim, it's got torture, attempted rape, graphic war scenes. Not to mention a pretty bleak outlook on life. However, Abercrombie tempers all this with such a glimmer of hope that I'm just about going crazy with anticipation to see how the characters, who I once despised, will become better people. Perhaps they will never be 'good people', exactly, but much-improved versions of their former selves - people capable of mercy, trust, love, and respect.If I like the third and final book in the series, I will go back and give each book in the series 5 stars.

  • Mpauli
    2019-04-14 07:13

    "Oh sir, Mr.Abercrombie. Good to have you back. The Blade Itself was fantastic.""You're right, of course. But now we have to decide on the sequel.""Naturally, may I suggest looking into plots this time?""I suppose, having cool characters isn't enough?""It certainly is great, but having them do cool stuff with a purpose would be even better.""Well, if you say so. So what kind of story is popular?""Hm, CSI or NCIS?""What's that? Sounds like learning to spell in Sesamestreet!""No, they're tv shows about crime and murder. Murder mysteries.""Allright, guess I'll already have my own Peter Falk.""Pardon me, sir?""Yeah, you know this Colombo guy I invented. Missing teeth, walks slowly, always has another question...""Glokta?""That's him, what did I do with him?"You send him south.""Why would I do that?""It's the middle book, guess you wanted him to do something untill he's more important in book 3 again.""Makes sense, why did I write 3 books?""Money?""Sounds about right. So murder mystery in the south it is with Glokta. What else?""Maybe a quest?""Like Froggle and the ring? I hate these heroics. Can't I just make more character development?""Maybe a combination of both. Most of your characters were going west anyway.""Yeah, but I have to think about something with a twist. Stupid quest stories being stupid and all.""Fair enough.""So, great. That's about it then.""Well, remember the savages, who showed up at the casting? You put them in the book.""Oh those guys, damn. Where are they?""North.""Anyone near them?""West.""No, I know everybody is West, is someone North?""You had this character named West, sir. He's North."Why would I sent a character named West North? Doesn't make sense. Well, I will work something out.""Say one thing about you sir, say you'll always work something out."And again Joe Abercrombie delivered. As we are very familiar with the characters now, he puts more weight on the plot and the background of his world.We're seeing a wider scope, delving more into the history and get more character development.Nonetheless, I had the feeling of reading a middle book. Glokta's part was interesting in itself, but felt more of an occupation for the character, untill the rest of the main cast finished their journey.But that would be the only point of crtique for me. Apart from that, you're getting more from the characters you've grown fond of in the first book and get a lot of glimpses to speculate where the whole story is heading to. Another great read which I can wholeheartedly recommend to every fan of grimdark fantasy.

  • ~Dani~ LazyTurtle's Books
    2019-04-13 09:52

    Read this review and listen to the podcast discussion at Book Geeks Uncompromised.I liked this book better than the first.Where The Blade Itself seemed fairly directionless to me, this one seemed to have more actually going on. Looking back, it seems like The Blade Itself was almost entirely just setting the stage for the story to actually begin. And I appreciate the time taken to get everything just right to be able to tell the story. I have to say though that this one actually having bigger conflicts than a duel where the stakes are little more than bragging rights enabled me to engage more.That said, I don't think it is quite perfect.I like all the individual plot lines. One group of characters is in the north fighting Bethod, one group is in the south fighting the Gurkish, while a third group is traipsing across the world to retrieve a magical item. As of yet, these three plot lines don't intersect hardly at all. It is almost like reading three totally separate stories in one book. I am okay with this right now because there is still one more book in this storyline and I am holding faith that all the threads will be brought together.The only plots that kinda sorta begin to converge is the war with the Gurkish and the magical item that Bayaz is leading his group across the world to retrieve. I have trouble with this though because this plotline is easily my least favorite just because I don't feel the logic in it. I like Logen Ninefingers, I like Jezal, I like how much their characters were grown and developed in this book, but Bayaz's whole quests just seems so vague.There is no information on how he supposedly knows that this magical item is needed and so the motivations for the characters following him is lacking.The other two storylines, I enjoyed very much.Sand dan Glokta is probably my favorite character of this series and I would argue one of the best written. An ex-soldier of some renown, he was tortured after being captured during battle, leaving in crippling agony. At his heart, he is a good person that wants to find the truth and wants to do the right thing. Yet he is a torturer. He doesn't take pride in what he does but puts his qualms aside to just do his job. He is intelligent, he is somewhat angry at just about everyone, but he continues to try and do right by his country even when his superiors keep telling him he should stick his nose out of things that smell suspicious.Another major character, and one that really didn't receive a lot of character development in the first book, but that shone pretty well in this book was Logen Ninefingers.There was just nothing to him in The Blade Itself. He was mostly the hulking shadow that followed Bayaz around not saying a whole lot. We finally get some development with him though and saw from his point of view how he saw the problem with their group was the lack of trust and how much that would hurt them in the long run and so sought to make small gestures to bring them together. I liked his display of leadership even though he was in no way an actual leader of this group unless some fighting started. It made it easier to understand how the other Northmen followed him so easily.West and Jezal's characters also saw quite a bit of growth in this book. West as he continues to be confronted with how much anger he carries inside him even though outwardly he is a good person. Jezal's character is sort of mirroring him in the opposite direction. In the first book Jezal is very much a pampered, arrogant rich kid that just can't find the time of day for anyone but himself but due to his circumstances and the things that happen to him know is beginning to reflect on the person that he has been and who he wants to be.Overall this book was far superior to the first in character development as well as in story development. I think if the final book brings all the stories together really well, this series could be a new favorite.

  • Saša
    2019-04-11 11:17

    Pa da se vratimo malo recenzijama...Da li postoje savrsene knjige? Naravno da postoje.Da li je ovo jedna od takvih? I te kako.Abercrombie je uspeo da nadmasi sebe i napise jos bolji nastavak.Ako smo u prvom delu imali malo manje fantastike, ovde je i to ''ispravljeno''. Carobnjaci, drevni gradovi, put na kraj sveta, natprirodna bica, svega ovde ima. Svega. Humora, jos vise. Jos boljeg. U pojedinim trenucima sam se toliko smejao da vise nisam znao da li citam ep. fantastiku ili komediju.Scene izmedju Logena i Fero su me dovodile bukvalno do suza (od smejanja).Likovi su jos vise razradjeni, i kako ih i mi sada odlicno poznajemo, tako se i oni medju sobom vrlo dobro poznaju. Cak i vise nego dobro.Akcija? Pregrst akcije na sve moguce nacine.Ovo je jedna od retkih retkih knjiga gde mi cesto ponavljanje nekih hmm, izraza nije uopste smetalo. "Jebem ti" se ponavlja, pa... svakih par stranica, ali sam se ja UVEK smejao kad je dolazilo dotle. Sve je u pravo vreme na pravom mestu.Zanimljiva je takodje i ideja sa: ''Ako nesto mozete reci o Logenu Devetoprstom, to je da...'', i zatim svaki put ide nesto drugacije, i uvek je zanimljivo. I tako kroz sve tri knjige. Fenomenalno.Ovo je knjiga koja ce mi ostati zauvek u srcu, jedna od najomiljenijih, najzabavnijih i kojoj cu se sigurno vratiti. Nekoliko puta, siguran sam.Samo jos da dodam da ovakvog odusevljenja mozda ne bi ni bilo da gospodin Nikola Pajvancic nije uneo celog sebe (prosto se da primetiti) u prevod, i dodao na neki nacin svoj pecat ovoj fantasticnoj knjizi. Svaka cast Nikola.Drevne tajne biće otkrivene, krvave bitke biće izgubljene i dobijene, a ogorčenim neprijateljima biće oprošteno – ali tek pošto završe na vešalima.Perfect book for book lovers.10/10

  • Phrynne
    2019-03-27 10:12

    Middle books in trilogies are often pretty average. Not so this one. This one is brilliant! Several separate story lines run parallel throughout the book and each one features strong characters so I never minded switching back from one to another. Having said that Superior Glokta has to be one of the best characters ever written. Despite the fact that he is deformed, merciless and totally evil he makes some of the most entertaining comments and you just have to like him! I should comment here that I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator was superb. He probably helped make Glokta what he was for me. There are many more great characters, Logan Ninefingers, Ferro, Jezal, Captain West and even the Dogman. I could rave on but I think I have run out of superlatives. Let me just say if you like this genre then read this trilogy. You won't be sorry.

  • Dragan Medić
    2019-04-07 07:57

    Well none of our heroes have been hung yet. That's the first out of many good things in this book. I can't get away from the comparison with SOIAF once again. Not delving into similarities and differences too much, in my humble opinion and only having read two of Abercrombies' books so far, these two are the best epic fantasy series ever. Sorry Wheel of Time fans. There is one massive difference though, while Martin creates this beautiful, enormous, diverse world through his wast amount of characters and his story, Abercrombie does it the other way around. He gives you just enough of his world to get to know it, but his characters and the story take centre stage. I have enjoyed every single page of this book. There was not a single filler chapter in it. Two more things separate this trilogy from other fantasy novels, fabulous, dark, dry, humour that is just so much like myself and why I like it so and fantastically created action scenes. In a lot of books in my reading history writer would get you to the battle and then simply skip to the aftermath not feeling comfortable tackling the fight scenes. Battle, fight, action is where Abercrombie shines the brightest. I think I forget to blink while reading it. It nails my eyes to the pages (in fact a kindle screen) and an hour later upon completion of the chapter I wake up to the real world with my heart galloping like war horse. I cannot wait to immerse myself into the Last Argument of the Kings. It is gonna be some argument, I just know it.

  • Marko Radosavljevic
    2019-03-25 03:06

    Za nekog ko ne čita epsku fantastiku WOW!

  • Carol.
    2019-04-20 10:17

    "Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us." I thoroughly enjoyed this book. BTAH continues to follow the troop of reluctant heroes, including Ninefingers, Jezel, Bayaz and Ferro; Inquisitor Glokta, defending a besieged city and hunting for a traitor; and Colonel West working to defend Angland against the Northman, along with a small band of Northmen with grudges of their own. In that sense, it's very much the second book in a trilogy, and I don't think it would stand as well read on its own or out of order. However, there is largely a complete story arc for each of our groups, so while the larger issues of the invasions and political maneuvering continue to grow in complexity, I didn't feel as if it was a complete cliffhanger ending. I can't say enough about how well Abercrombie writes characters. They all feel so real, layered, and different. When plugged into a quest plot, there is a risk of them turning into stereotypes, but that is adroitly avoided by the depth and feeling given to them. It's interesting that we get the inner thoughts of our select few characters, but then leaving some such as Quai or Baya, devoid of any hints except through actions or the interpretations of others. It creates tension during the quest, as Quai almost seems to be baiting the mages and more of Bayaz' role in creating the conflict becomes apparent.Plotwise, the quest of the troop seemed unremarkable enough in the epic fantasy tradition--the questers entering the dead city flashed on several scenes from Terry Brooks and David Eddings--but it was still well done. Using the guise of telling stories while they journeyed, the questers and the readers are familiarized with the mythical back-story to the quest. It works well, maintaining interest in the background while avoiding the info-dump syndrome. The siege itself is not particularly unusual either, but is gritty, and the process of Glokta shoring defense of the city while rooting out the traitor is interesting and full of tension. Letter updates between Glokta and the Arch Lector are an interesting way of updating the story.The tale is full of detailed fight scenes. If that's your taste, you'll have all the more reason to love it, but if its not, don't let it put you off, as there is so much more worth reading. One quibble is the author's tendency to use both first and last names of a character, even within the same scene, which leads to unnecessary name confusion. Small complaints, however.I find this series engrossing, and am glad I have the next book ready to go.

  • The Shayne-Train
    2019-04-08 04:07

    Usually it's such a drag to review a middle-of-the-trilogy book. Yeah, the characters that were introduced in the first book did some things, developed some shit, made progress on whatever journey, yadda-yadda-yadda, we'll see what happens in the next one. That is so NOT the case with this book/series, that perhaps the case itself should be overturned.Man, but J-Aber (best nickname ever, thank you) makes characters you LOVE. Even the ones you don;t like very much. And boy oh boy, is there some character development in this book.Another thing, he writes action/fighty-fight scenes the way Charles Bukowski writes filth: he makes it transcendentally beautiful. They can be so damn clunky sometimes, and occasionally ruin what could otherwise be a rollicking adventure. Not here, friend, no no, not here.Second-of-ly, the dialogue. DAT DIALOGUE. So spot on, never seems far-fetched. Once in a while, because I suspect I'm half-retarded, I will read a character's dialogue out loud, all under-my-breath-like, to see if it sounds like the way a person actually speaks, with throat vibrations instead of text, ya know. Joe's characters never fail to not only sound like people, but people so, so much cooler than I am.In closing: if you haven't yet, go read the first fucking book, then this fucking book, and then the last fucking book. If you already have, go fucking do it again.

  • Helen
    2019-04-20 07:18

    Joe Abercrombie is fast becoming my new fantasy god. After loving The Blade Itself, I immediately started reading this one, and was a little worried that I would be disappointed. Turns out I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. This book is even better than the first book, something I would not have thought possible. I want this book to have my babies. However, I'm going to hold off on sleeping with it, in case book 3 is better still. On second thought, screw it, if book 3 is even better than book 2, I'll just sleep with it as well. This series is turning me into a major book slut, and I am perfectly okay with that. By the way, how would I go about beginning to stalk Joe Abercrombie?

  • Jim
    2019-04-17 08:00

    Everything I wrote about the first book holds true in this one except it's better. Even the horses are better done, a pleasant surprise. The characters & politics were even better developed. There are now better hints at what all the fuss is about. I'm definitely going to listen to the third book soon. The narration is good, if a bit slow, but that's easily solved. The voices of the characters are very well done. The only thing that annoys me is that Abercrombie is very fond of using "he grimaced" & the narrator insists on pronouncing it with a long 'a' sound like in 'mace'. Either one is slightly annoying. Together though! Ugh.

  • Nate
    2019-04-16 07:16

    The exposition, setup, and introductions are long past and we're left with 500+ pages of brutal, cynical and witty fun. This book hit the ground running and never looked back for me. All the characters are deep into the shit and there's absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel, which is how Abercrombie fans want it. Whatever you liked about The Blade Itself is gonna be here in spades. Even the "quest" storyline I wasn't particularly into at the start turned out awesomely. One of the things I love about Abercrombie is that he takes completely stale fantasy fiction tropes and breathes life back into them--the storylines are all ones we've seen before: quest, war, mystery, etc. but they're so much more fun and surprising than what you'd expect.And the characters...delicious characters, one and all. Everyone has their favorites but mine are definitely Ninefingers, Ferro, Glokta, and the Dogman. Even the usually intolerable Jezal was fun to read this time around. It makes me sad there's only one book in the trilogy left and I have to face the depressing prospect of no more books with these lovely people in them. Don't get me wrong, there are obviously tons of great authors writing great characters but no one does fictional humanity quite like this. What's especially great is even though most of them have oversized, colorful personalities you'll still get moments here and there that remind you that they're still people and not just entertaining caricatures.So yeah, allow me some hyperbole as I stuff this into the pantheon of Great Second Entries in a Trilogy, alongside works like The Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers, Aliens, The Godfather Part II, Enemy of God, "Heroes" (for you Bowie fans out there), or Ocean's Twelve (just kidding.) The second entry in a three-part work should be pure meat; you don't need to worry particularly about starting or finishing anything. Before They Are Hanged is one of the grossest, bloodiest, gristliest pieces of literary steak I've eaten...Gods and Goodreads friends both please forgive me for that metaphor. I just wanted to feel like an Entertainment Weekly® columnist, if even only for a short, blissful while.EDIT: I forgot to mention Major West! He's one of the most level-headed, pensive characters in the books and has some surprising scenes. West definitely deserves more love, but it's not really surprising why he would be overshadowed by these huge personalities.DOUBLE EDIT: I mistakenly listed Bowie's Low as the second in the Berlin trilogy when it was actually "Heroes". An unforgivable fuckup.