The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

TheTroubleMy Five Word TL:DR Review : Let Them Eat Cake

Okay, that’s only four words and also maybe a strange way to start a review but tbh I think it fits perfectly with the themes in this book (nay, series) – or maybe more apt would be Cromwell’s ‘In the Name of God, go’.

This has to be one of the most appropriately named books that I can think of, at this particular moment in time at least (and funnily enough, looking back at my review of A Little Hatred I said the exact same thing about that book too – has Abercrombie been blessed by the God of Book Naming?

The Trouble With Peace is that people start to realise how dissatisfied they are with the smaller things in life that seemed less important when their lives were threatened by war.  The Trouble With Peace is that it makes heroes dissatisfied with their everyday lives, undertaking mundane tasks that are brushed aside in times of strife, longing for the sword and the blood that follows.  The Trouble With Peace is it makes people feel over confident in their own abilities, strutting around like peacocks, preening their feathers and dreaming of yet more glory (or money).  The Trouble With Peace is people forget just how bloody awful times of war really are and start to look upon such times with fondness and rose tinted glasses.  The (real) Trouble With Peace is that it’s a fleeting notion – wars happen regardless (as history shows us), bodies are hacked savagely, desperate pleas for mercy are cried out amongst the mud, blood and tears and disastrous mistakes are made.

I thoroughly enjoyed this second instalment by Joe Abercrombie.  It builds up a veritable mass of tension.  It’s thick with plots and behind door whisperings, clandestine meetings and murmurs of treason.  Of course, before you get too worried that this is all about political posturing and dastardly machinations, let me reassure you that this doesn’t lack the banter or  battle scenes that this author is renowned for and both are near the knuckle and brutal.

I’m not going to really elaborate on the plot for this one.  I will say that some books in a trilogy suffer from middle book syndrome and act purely as a platform between book 1 and 3 – this is not one of those books.

The characters we became familiar with in the first book in series are here again and this is something that Abercrombie excels at.  I might not love all these characters but I unreservedly love the way they’re written.

Savine dan Glokta is probably one of my favourites.  She is a cold blooded, manipulating so and so – I love her.  Let’s be honest, she develops a slightly more soft and fluffy side here (by which I mean she is still a manipulating so and so, but maybe a touch, a teensy tad bit, more vulnerable).  I did love the relationship that she strikes up (not going to spoil it though, my lips are sealed). It  has the feel of master and pupil to it but regardless I just liked it, it turned me into a mushy crust instead of a crusty crust.

Stour Nightfall. Let’s be honest, here’s a guy who is literally one consonant away from being sour.  This is one nasty pasty – don’t underestimate him.  Ruthless but also maybe a bit blinkered in the nonchalant way he’s drumming up enemies.

Leo dan Brock.  Here’s a character I want to shake.  He’s not a bad guy, really.  He’s downright likable but at the same time by God he’s easily manipulated.  I cannot deny that I like this character and at the same time completely despair of him. Could you be any less diplomatic!!

Rikke.  Another character that I just love to read about – okay, there are parts in this instalment where I was like ‘what?’, ‘NOOOOOOO’.  But, then again, on reflection, perhaps I needed the ‘long eye’ to see my way clear.  Her character arc is brilliant, a joy to read in fact, and probably one of those elements of the series that I should have taken notes – so I could look back and have all the ‘ah hah, I knew it!’ moments during the grand finale even if I knew nothing all along.

Orso.  Another firm favourite.  If anybody is more deserving of sympathy and understanding then I don’t know who it is.  Could he be more misunderstood?  The poor fella seems to get the brunt of everything, I swear that if he said the sea was wet he’d be lambasted and thrown into the stocks..  But, he’s becoming a lot more adept? cynical? – like anyone else I suppose, time and repetition start to make everything seem a little more commonplace and he’s started to get tired of being a small cog in a large machine.

There are obviously more characters but this isn’t a dissertation so I’ll curb my chattiness right here.

Basically, to avoid doubt, yes, I really enjoyed this.  The writing is plain good, the banter and dialogue made me want to laugh and cry, the plot is more mixed up than a bag of sand, the characters inspire love and hate, there isn’t a lot of actual fantasy elements, and in some respects it feels more like a snippet of history where the real magic revolved around basic superstition but, what can I say, this was a very fine read indeed.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness #2) 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 : The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness #2) by Joe Abercrombie (because I loved A Little Hatred).  Definitely a woohoo moment.

Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield . . .

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

Unrest worms into every layer of society. The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

Expected publication : September 2020

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

“Life is like a hand of cards’

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:

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”

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