Befor The Are Hanged is the second book in Joe Abercrombie‘s The First Law Trilogy. [Here’s my review of the first Book in the series: The Blade Itself.]
I’ll try to keep this post spoilerfree for The Blade Itself, but I can’t really guarantee it. So, if you don’t want to know anything at all about TBI, please don’t read on.
Bayaz has collected his group of travellers – Logen, Jezal, Ferro, Malacus and the navigator Brother Longfoot. Together they depart for the Edge of the World, but what they want to find there, only Bayaz knows.
Inquisitor Glokta is sent to the South, to Dagoska, to defend the city of the Gurkish and uncover what happened to his predecessor, who disappeared from his room without a clue.
Colonel West in the meantime is sent to the North with the army, to fight against Bethod, who threatens to invade Angland.
Again, Abercrombie manages to keep away from the path of stereotypes that seem so close to the short description of his books. He continues to engage the reader, with both an exciting story and a sly sense of humour. Oh, and of course his great characters.
The characters… Though I don’t very much like neither Jezal nor Glokta, I want to find out more about their stories and their adventures. But I really love Logen, Ferro, West and The Dogman and therefore I’m even more glued to what’s happening to them. [SPOILER] And I loved the “love story” developing between Ferro and Logen. I so hope that they get a happy ending! [/SPOILER]
Bayaz is kind of weird – on the one hand, he’s one of the coolest characters ever, on the other hand, he’s a meddling asshole and it’s getting harder and harder not to hit him in the face.
I can also compliment Abercrombie again on keeping his narrating voices distinct and clear and fitting for the characters. [Actually, I think it’s quite sad that I have to emphasise this – this should actually be a standard in writing. But it isn’t and therefore it’s great to find someone who does it. And that deserves praise.]
I loved the ending of Bayaz’ trip. And I loved that we get to know more about the history of this world, which is interesting and thoroughly thought through.
Again, I feel obligated to point out that the books don’t shirk from the violence, quite to the contrary. So if you can’t stand reading about arrows and knifes in various body parts, the splitting open of heads or blood flowing around in generous quantities, these books may not be for you.
If you can stand it, or even enjoy it – go and read this series.
[I’m currently reading Last Argument of Kings, the third and last book, and it continues to be good.]