Before they are hanged

The second tome of Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, Before they are hanged, does not leave live up to its expectations. I really enjoyed the first volume, The Blade Itself, overreacting a little bit at the novelty in tone and style by suggesting a ranking in the New Yorker fantasy list, but this second volume definitely falls very short from my expectations! I mentioned the potential connections with David Eddings in my earlier post, and they are much more apparent in the second volume: the characters are lacking depth but not stereotypes, the way the central society behaves is caricatural, the enemies have endless facilities and power… The (obligatory) quest has started but the crossing of the continent to the other sea is very boring and does not bring further perspectives on the six characters, some of which like Qai and Longfoot (!) do not even seem to have a proper role in the trip. They were interesting anti-heros in the first volume, they are no longer that interesting nor that anti-heros. The other main character, Glokta, has also lost some of his cruel appeal by playing the rescuer to all distressed maidens crossing his path. Overall, the witty exchanges found in the first volume have mostly disappeared from the second (or I do not find them so funny!) So I fear this is another example of a good start turned into a tepid follow-up (please let not this happen to The Name of Wind!). Given the mixed reviews on the third volume, I am not sure I will give it a try!

2 Responses to “Before they are hanged”

  1. […] discussed in this review (spoilers included), and I am thus looking forward the third volume. (Abercrombie’s second volume Before they are hanged was more disappointing by […]

  2. […] canons engraved with!), I must say this final volume redeems the series after the disastrous and uninspiring second volume, Before they are hanged. There is a lot of action, almost too much in terms of fights […]

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