A war torn empire fighting on several fronts, but the most dangerous may be the threats from within. Abercrombie takes us to all sides of the conflicts and all rungs of the social ladder. I absolutely loved this novel and I’ve decided to do another list post just because there are so many things that I can rave about.
- The characters are full of energy and life. Committed to their causes and brutally torn by the world around them. Each one seems to go through some sort of shift in the pages of this epic. Spurred on by the direction of one side or another… some morally tied to a higher power and many have their compasses spinning for the duration. The veteran turned rebel. The two princes in waiting acting as perfect foils to each other. The sly businesswoman who works her magic with capital. The outlier young woman who has a gift to see visions of the future… These characters kept the pages turning for me.
- The writing is focused on these amazingly drawn people. Some authors open each chapter with descriptions of landscapes and weather patterns… Not Abercrombie! Thrown into the fray, be it the war-room, the prison cell, or the rebel hideout… we are a part of every decision. And I am loathe to compare authors or series, but I see so much of the things that I love about fantasy and escapism in this book. I was out of the genre for many years in my 20s and 30s and this book makes me so happy to be back.
- Now for the confession: This is my first Abercrombie book. I was hesitant to begin this book because of that. Intimidated by the world he has already built and all the history that has been placed in Angland. But I am here to say that this is a perfect place of entry for the uninitiated. Abercrombie did not hold my hand, but gave a bit a trust in me as a reader that I would figure things out and begin to care about the characters.
- The worldbuilding. Two major conflicts prompt every action in the book. First is the distrust and rebellion against the central government brought on by gross taxation and an oppressive royalty. The second is the new age of metal and machination. With the advent of fully automated factories, the common folk are put out on their asses. No work, no money, no food. It is especially the veterans of these ongoing conflicts that take it the hardest and now fight back.
- The added joy of excellent dialogue and fight scenes. This is where the grim comes out to play. The dark wit and the bloody swords. The pages turn with amazing swiftness as no character is can hide from Abercrombie’s pen.
Old fans and new ones (me) will be ready for Book 2 to come out!
5 out of 5 stars for this one.
Thank you to Orbit Books and the author for an advanced copy for review.