A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1)


What can I say about A Little Hatred – read it.  Goodbye.

Okay, I suppose that isn’t really a review is it?

This is a series that is very appropriately named – The Age of Madness.  Here is a world on the brink of industrial revolution with all the resultant chaos that comes in it’s wake.  Still a time of myth and magic but a time when people are turning instead to science and industry and relying less and less on mages. Tumultuous times, bloody times and times that reflect the course of history in many respects.  This was a bloody good read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The writing is just so easy.  Easy to digest, easy on the eye, easy to keep reading into the early hours.  It’s got great characters, it’s amusing, it’s grimy and sweaty and brutal and it’s exactly what I hoped for and then some.

To be clear, I haven’t read The First Law Trilogy – I know, you can break out the pitchforks about now (there is a story behind it which involves me owning the set at least three times but I’m not going to go into that here) – the point I’m getting at is that I have no idea how this compares (and perhaps that is a good thing) and also I have no way of knowing whether or not the characters I may mention are old friends – so beware that this review may unwittingly contain spoilers.

The heroes of yesterday still remain strong for some who long for derring do and songs written about their exploits, the Lion and the Wolf stand on opposing sides.  The North is once again trying its strength against the Union, determined to rule the whole of the North.  At the same time as the battles break out unrest is also on the rise in the capital.  The poor and downtrodden have had their fill of poverty, dirt and starvation, maybe they want a little cake, they’re about to revolt and it’s going to get messy.  In fact this book shows us more of the down and dirty fighting in the capital rather than focusing on the battlefield, although there is one particular fight scene – which I won’t elaborate on – other than to say it’s so well written that I was practically holding my breath for the entire thing – and it was just spectacular, the tension, the fear, the blood, the sweat and the absolutely convincing exhaustion.  That’s what I want when I’m reading a fight scene – is that wrong?

Funnily enough, this is a difficult story to pin down a plot, and in fact kudos to the great writing in that respect because I was so swept up with the characters and the trials they were facing that I didn’t really think about the bigger picture until I sat down to write this review.  There is no shortage of action here plus great pace, witty dialogue and a wonderful balancing act that takes you through the depths of death and drudgery but then lifts you back out with some amazing human interactions and laugh out loud banter.  It really is an emotional roller coaster.  I think on the whole this is going to be just one piece of a much bigger picture and I confess that at the moment I’m a bit clueless as to what that will be – but it certainly makes me anxious and excited to keep on reading.

For me, the characters are the real winners here.  There are no shortage of people for you to get behind and I’m sure everyone will have their own particular favourites.  Savine dan Glokta – a ruthless business woman.  It takes four people to simply get her ready to face the day each morning – she has a ‘face maid’ no less.  What can I say – she’s a brilliant character and I loved her and couldn’t get enough of her page time.  She’s one tough cookie but she has a soft inner just waiting to be exposed and her vulnerability and fear help to make her that much more relatable.  Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall – two young men with an apparent deathwish who can’t wait to meet on the battlefield.  Rikke – daughter of the Dogman.  Rikke has the long eye, the gift (or curse) of foreseeing the future – of course, the real trick is being able to decipher the clues in a meaningful way.  Look, there are a lot of characters here and to be frank I never had a dull moment with any of them but I’m trying to be careful because surely the majority of these are the next generation and if I go too much into detail about how they interact readers who are already familiar with this world might just figure out some of the teasers.  Although, I simply have to give a shout out to Prince Orso.  Brilliantly foppish and droll – he could be straight out of the Scarlet Pimpernell and he certainly made me smile.

A Little Hatred is probably one of the most highly anticipated fantasy books of 2019 and whether you’re already acquainted with this world of not there’s a good reason for that.  Strong writing, characters that jump off the page, great pace and an ending that leaves you wanting more.  What more can I say.  Well, I opened with – read it.  You could have stopped right there and taken my advice I suppose.  I hope I’ve convinced you.  If you love fantasy, grimdark, history, battles, death, twists and turns then do yourself a favour and pick this up soon and be part of the conversation.  If you’re already familiar with the world then you’ll have the advantage of reading some familiar characters, if you’re like me, and new to the world, you can rest assured that this is a great starting point to jump on board.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 5 of 5 stars







19 Responses to “A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1)”

  1. Nadine - NadsBookNook

    I have yet to read a Joe Abercrombie, so I think I might start with this. Fantastic review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, this is a great place to start if you don’t have the time to go back and read the other books set in this world.
      I hope you get a chance.
      lynn 😀

  2. Paul's Picks

    I’m in the same boat. I just downloaded this one, but have never read any of his books before… Very happy to see this review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I think it’s great that this is so easy to jump on board with, I’m sure readers of First Law will love some of the characters here that I’m not familiar with and get a real kick out of returning to this world but I didn’t feel like I was missing out at all or struggling to get a feel for the place. A great book to pick up if you don’t have the time to backtrack.
      Lynn 😀

      • Paul's Picks

        Cool! It’s up next👍🏽

      • @lynnsbooks

        Great – can’t wait to read your thoughts on it
        Lynn 😀

  3. Christopher | Plucked from the Stacks

    Some books don’t even get one good cover and this one gets two?! I don’t read a lot of fantasy anymore (and I’m not all that familiar with Joe Abercrombie), but this sounds like a series I could get into. Great review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think that’s the US/UK version – I sometimes put up both covers because different readers are familiar with the copy available to them.
      I have read Joe Abercrombie before but not his First Law series which is very popular. This was great though and I liked that I could step straight into this world so easily without the benefit of having reading the previous books.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Greg

    Definitely sounds good. And it does sound like a rollercoaster ride too in terms of the action and the characters. I haven’t read any Abercrombie yet but I suppose I need to haha!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, the good thing about this book is you really can jump on board at this point, and in a world where I’m so far behind with so many good authors I always appreciate fresh starts that I can get on board with.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    I haven’t read his other trilogy either and was wondering if this would be accessible to newcomers to the universe, so I’m really, really happy to hear you loved it. Hoping to get to it next month!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hope you enjoy it – I loved it – as you can probably tell.
      Lynn 😀

  6. bkfrgr

    Even if your review hadn’t been awesome I might have had to read this just because of that cover art on the left. Thankfully, your review IS awesome, so I don’t have to admit to being so shallow … oh, wait … doh! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – not shallow at all – or am I simply being defensive because I’m equally besotted with good cover art! No – it’s the first thing to catch your eye.
      Lynn 😀

  7. waytoofantasy

    I haven’t read First Law either! 🙂
    I did read Best Served Cold (well, okay, like 85% of it) and it was great. I definitely think characters are a strong point for him. That a great dialogue.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, loved the dialogue here – such a lot of fun. He has a great turn of phrase.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Best of the Best list : 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie […]

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