Can’t Wait Wednesday : A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie.

LittleHatred.jpgThe chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another…

Due for Publication July 2019

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“Life is like a hand of cards’

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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Casino: “Whisky, gambling and Ferraris are better than housework “

It feels like we only just had this theme so coming up with another cover was not easy.  I’ve had to go with a book off my shelves that I haven’t read yet: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie (it was either that or a James Bond book).

And my favourite

sharp ends 1

Which is your favourite?  Next week – Circus

Future themes:

07/04/2017 – Circus “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town!

14/04/2017 – Easter “The rabbit of Easter. He bring the chocolate”

21/04/2017 – Bridge “I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to push forward”

28/04/2017 – Beach/Seaside”Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!”

05/05/2017 – Lion “If you place your head in a lion’s mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off”

12/05/2017 – Phone “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it”

19/05/2017 – Plane “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it ….”

26/05/2017 – Mice “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘it might have been’…”

02/06/2017 – Moon “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

09/06/2017 – Mummy “It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness”

16/06/2017 – Guitar “You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar”

23/06/2017 – Cat “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this”

30/06/2017 – Hat “It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself “

07/07/2017 – Gold “All that is gold does not glitter”

14/07/2017 – Boats “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea green boat…”

21/07/2017 – Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

As old as the hills?? – A cover with mountains

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

As old as the hills?? – A cover with mountains

and my winner:

half4

I just like the scope of it – the tiny figures in the background, the crispness – it makes me feel cold just looking at it and of course mountains.

Which is your favourite??

If you fancy joining in with the FFO the themes for the next few weeks are below.  

2nd December – Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements – A cover with fruit

9th December – Soul Meets Soul on Lovers’ Lips – a cover with lips

16 December – Give a Girl the Right Shoes and she can conquor the world – a cover with shoes

23rd December – The first noel… – a cover with angels

30th December –  Ho ho ho! To the bottle I go… – a cover with drink

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Just finished reading Half a King by Joe Abercrombie which I really enjoyed.  I confess that I haven’t read Mr Abercrombie’s previous books although that’s not for the want of owning them so I can’t compare his YA to his other works.  What I can say is that I was riveted to the pages of this story.  The tale itself is just a really intriguing read and the storytelling voice quite mesmerising.

The story begins with Yarvi.  Yarvi is a Prince but only half a man in the eyes of most of his kingdom.  Born with a deformed hand, unable to wield a sword and shield at the same time his worth as a warrior of the kingdom is greatly diminished.  At the start of the story Yarvi is perfectly happy.  Little does he realise just how obliviously happy he is.  Apprentice to the King’s Minister – a role usually held by women – he awaits his final test before throwing off the mantle of prince and becoming a successor to the current advisor to the King.  Jarvi is the second son and therefore was never intended for the throne but a cruel twist of fate will bring him a crown, a throne, a betrothed and an army bent of vengeance sailing head first to the start of his troubles – or adventures into manhood.

One thing I will start out by saying is that Joe Abercrombie doesn’t beat about the bush.  There’s no going around the houses with this guy he just literally plows right in with both boots and gets the action off to an immediate start.  Within a chapter you have the gist of how it’s going to be, a few chapters later and the course of the young Prince’s future has been turned on it’s head.

This really is an excellent story.  The characters are interesting and pop out of the book before your very eyes.  You will care about them and develop likes and dislikes.  On top of this we have war, treachery, slavery, life out on the rough seas – and plenty more.  It really is a thoroughly entertaining book!

I went to an event of Joe Abercrombies recently at which he made very clear that his main focus lies in characterisation and he isn’t kidding.  I love character led stories and so I confess that basically Mr Abercrombie had me at ‘hello’ and to be honest he was sincere.  The characters are interesting, the vocabulary is sharp and friendships are formed where you least expect.

The thing with Yarvi – he’s his own worst critic really which is no surprise when you consider how constantly he’s been put down by others.  Mocked and laughed at Yarvi does have a sharp intellect.  What he lacks in braun he certainly makes up for with his wit and mental abilities and he puts these to use very effectively constantly.  On top of this his training kicks in quite often.  Yes, he’s not your typical hero – he’s not going to rush into the fray wielding his sword and felling enemies in one swoop.  He takes the course of action open to him and whilst that doesn’t always feel like the best course of action in terms of others he at least has the honesty to sometimes feel regret.  Basically put, Yarvi uses the gifts he’s been given in life.

This is to a certain extent a coming of age story and also, although being nothing like the actual story or style of writing, has a Tolkien feel in terms of the friendship/fellowship that is formed.  I don’t doubt that this is different than JA’s more adult novels – specifically in terms of the ‘f’ bomb and the level of graphic violence, however, let me be perfectly plain, whilst this is YA – the emphasis is undoubtedly on the ‘A’ in YA and if we get back to comparisons – plenty of adults have read Tolkien and yet those books aren’t graphic, etc.

The other winning point for this book is that it is a self contained novel.  I love that.  I’ve finished it and it feels complete.  Now, iroinically that’s probably more a bonus for those who don’t like this as much as I do – there’s nothing more grating than feeling like you have to continue with a series simply because you’re completist or want closure and cliff hanger endings do have a certain feeling of torture or even strong arming!  Now, personally, I do want more from this series – that is without doubt.  But, I still love that it doesn’t end on one of those horrible notes of suspense.

Well done indeed.  Will absolutely without doubt read more in this series.

Which cover?  (I thought I liked the black best but I’m no longer sure – the white and blue is very effective and has more of a feel for the story.)  Thoughts??

 

Half a King and other random, or incredibly important, info….

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Last night I went, with the lovely Jenny from Wondrous Reads to an event organised by Waterstones and held in the newly refurbished Manchester Central Library – which is very impressive btw -in fact we got lost temporarily – how embarrassing would that have been – going to see a fantasy author and can’t even traverse a library without getting lost (clearly we need some sort of tracker or just, maybe, Aragorn to help us in our quest) – we were literally ‘on an adventure..  ‘

Okay.  This was a reading by Joe Abercrombie from his latest book Half a King together with a Q&A and book signing – would it be rude to say he’s very easy on the eye – or would it be awkward?  Well, there it is – I chucked it out there!  Also, he’s amusing, reads very well and is interesting to listen to.  I suppose it helps when you’re in a room full of people who basically love your work but yes, he came over very well and I would certainly recommend you go and listen to him and engage in a few Q&A at any future events.

In terms of the questions (what I can remember or make out from my notes, which are not the best).  The following is is no particular order and is not some sort of verbatim style record.  I’ve just given a general feeling and I’ve not captured all the questions – I certainly haven’t even attempted to capture the humour!

There was a question about what part of the writing stage does JA like best.  The answer being when the book has been drafted and is now ready for it’s second draft – this being the part where you finely hone your novel!!  Jokingly put – the writing part is the least enjoyable part!  The answer was longer but I’m summarising a little for you here (or can’t read all my notes – you can decide!)

In terms of characters and favourites – this tends to be the smaller characters of the piece.  It’s not necessarily that they’re the favourites but they’re the ones who aren’t really carrying the weight of the story on their shoulders.  They just duck in and out and are easier to have a good time with and consequently to write without always thinking of the bigger picture and, yes, sometimes these characters become more than originally envisaged.

One question that I’m always interested in (but never ask because I’m such a shrinking violet!) is: what type of books an author likes to read.  The answer to this was mostly non-fictional books.  JA mentioned that he doesn’t really read fantasy as it’s too easy to fall into critical editor mode and also in fairness it probably ends up feeling like a busman’s holiday.  He likes to read about vikings (as do I!) – obviously purely for research purposes (same here!  Don’t judge!) which is why he maybe, sometimes, also plays on Skyrim (this is also for work purposes!).

Another character based question revolved around the use of scarred, maimed or disabled characters in his writing.  Actually, this was a really interesting question and answer that I wish I’d noted the answer to more thoroughly.  Basically JA mentioned that he was interested in looking at the consequences of actions.  Writing in a brutal world with sword fighting, wars and skirmishes means that your characters suffer injuries and this is reflected in the reality that people carry the scars and reminders of their actions.  It’s about looking at fantasy versus reality really, it’s a fantasy world but it’s brutal and therefore the characterisation is a reflection of that.  Again – sorry that I didn’t get the answer more fully!

In terms of future books – and I could be wrong, but the Half King book is a trilogy with releases due July/Feb/July (pretty impressive dateline to be honest).  After that a possible return to the first law world with some tie-in short stories.  In terms of the graphic/comic adaptations – it doesn’t look like there will be any more of these – it’s a difficult market to break into and involves a huge ass amount of work (I’m sort of ad libbing a little bit but, you get the picture).

There was the inevitable (and much loved) question about future film/tv adaptations and surprisingly Mr Abercrombie is not averse to the possibility!  Hey, I’m not averse to that idea either!!  However, these things involve a very lengthy process beginning with the right to option – which is really only a baby step!  He certainly won’t be turning down any approaches so all you film makers out there, what are you waiting for!!  No. Seriously.  The rest of us – the message is don’t hold your breath just yet!

At this point – my note taking left a little (even more) to be desired.

Jumping backwards I think the first question was about naming any character that you wish you’d written?  Now here’s the thing, this was right at the beginning in which we were told about a particular author and a particularly nasty little character that he wrote about – and Mr A said he would have liked to have written that character – and both names have escaped me – is that the ultimate teaser or what? Try to bear in mind that I didn’t want to actually, really take notes – I wanted to listen – so, I can’t remember the name of the author or character mentioned, mm, because… I was too busy listening.  So, I’m very bad with names.  That’s why.

Question about world building –  which, yes, Mr A does maybe have a map and a timeline, and probably a few other bits and pieces along those lines!  but, ultimately, he’s more interested in the characters – which is all good.  The world building is important but it’s a setting and the characters, who they are and what they’re up to, what motivates them that is more important.  Smiley face in particular for this answer.

I can’t remember why I wrote this down, or more to the point, what the question was but I do remember a discussion where JA compared himself to the Sergio Leonie of the fantasy world – so, focusing on the face, the sweat, the sun pounding down, the close up of the large eye!  Dirt under the finger nails – not the type of thing that you focused on in your early western films!  Basically making it real I suppose?  And as you know the answer now you can probably guess the question – answers on a postcard.

Asked if, looking back, would he change anything about his books – no, that’s not to say they’re perfect or don’t have some howlers – but, that’s the book – I suppose there comes a point where you’ve finished basically (and anyway – and in this case I quote because it made me LOL  – he CBA – that was jokingly said btw).

Writing for YA – No different really, yes, not dropping the ‘f’ bomb but – this is a different setting and so it doesn’t feel wrong or untrue.  He’s not just basically gone back to the First Law world and told everyone to clean up their act and watch their potty mouth!!!  There’s a story that he wanted to tell, this may be not as explicit as the other books but the writing, story and plot don’t have to be less effective and it is a different world from First Law.  This book has a younger protagonist and I suppose in that respect a coming of age feel but at the end of the day young adults are still adults and they’re entitled to good fantasy too.

In terms of how he would sell this to a teenage market – ‘buy this book because I want a swimming pool shaped like a magic sword’ had to be my favourite answer – okay, this was just a joke – although now you mention it….  Read it because of the characters, because it’s good – just read it!

Yes, I have a very higgledy-piggledy way of writing this up which is probably why I’m not a reporter!

This was a very enjoyable evening and as Mr Abercrombie left us on a bombshell with the excerpt he read I’m off to read the rest…. ‘the end, goodbye.’