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Before They Are Hanged: The First Law: Book Two: 2 Paperback – 13 Mar 2008
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Highly recommended - a funny, finely-wrought, terrifically energetic work of high fantasy. Seek it out (Joe Hill)
Before They Are Hanged is an excellent sequel from an author writing compelling, character-driven, adult fantasy, for readers who want to be entertained as well as challenged. (SFF WORLD)
In my opinion, Joe Abercrombie possesses all the qualities that made David Eddings such a powerhouse during the 80s and 90s. Before They Are Hanged is a satisfying sequel which should establish Joe Abercrombie as one of the bright new voices of the genre. (FANTASY HOT LIST)
Before They Are Hanged grabs you and drags you along. (SFF SITE)
Dark, deeply ironic and full of character gems that will appeal to your cynical side, Before They Are Hanged is as brilliant as its predecessor. (John Berlyne SF REVU)
"We're right there in the heads of these dudes, thanks to the author's style of showcasing their thoughts. His knowing turn of phrase means that situations often appear ironic, with peripheral characters verging on the Dickensian. This follow-up is crammed with unexpected betrayals, murders and liaisons, often catching us off guard." (Dave Bradley SFX)
Striking, character-driven and cynical noir fantasySee all Product description
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Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a band of adventurers on a perilous mission to distant lands. The most hated and deadly woman in the South, Ferro, the most feared man in the North, Logan Ninefingers, and the most selfish boy in the Union, Jezel, make a strange alliance. Their ability to inflict brutal damage to opponents is tempered with their loyalty and sense of justice. As a band of warriors, their cohesion and diversities continue to captivate. We get to see deeper into their nature and the subtle charisma with several is surprising.
Several other characters are so intriguing including Glokta, the Inquisitor. Having to defend his city knowing it is full of traitors that he must root out, where no-one can be trusted and where failure means execution. We will have our favourites but imagine feeling empathy and fond gravitation towards an Inquisitor!
This is an amazing fantasy adventure that is full of wonderfully drawn characters, a landscape that comes alive in the writing, and a plot that is ridiculously imaginative.
I would highly recommend this book, and the whole First Law trilogy
The characters are superbly written and I am thoroughly invested in their stories. Logen and Bayaz are particular favourites of mine, however its Glokta who steals the show yet again. I don't feel as though I'm exaggerating when I say that Glokta is my favourite character in all of fiction. If I had one complaint, it would be that some of the side characters are a little underdeveloped by comparison but this is only in terms of this series. By any other series they would be more than developed enough.
If you have even a passing interest in Fantasy novels I can heartily recommend this series without reservation. You will be hard pushed to find a better written and more compelling series than this. Treat yourself to the audio book as well: the performance by Steven Pacey matches the quality of the book!
If I try to put my finger on why the book feels like not much happens, I think it has to be the numerous POV changes. I'm not usually against POV changes and they are handled well enough but I think they diluted the content too much.
Glokta has to be one of my favourite written characters. I enjoy hearing his internal monologue and the contrasting elements of his personality.
Finally, I wish the books had a summary of the previous book. Its been years since I read the first one and I'd forgotten pretty much everything!
I'll be pausing a while to read some other things before the next book.
Things do develop, but there is also a sense of matters being tied up. The overarching story still remains, but the end of the book heralds the end of the quest, the end of another Union battle, and a full stop (of sorts) for Glokta – but all left teetering enticingly on the edge, with a whole new chapter ready to be opened, and new set of questions to be answered. My point being that you don’t immediately have to pick up Last Argument of Kings (but you will want to).
I maintain my comments from the first book about some characters you’d rather read about/with than others. Glokta remains absolutely superb, West comes into his own and develops into one of the most interesting and justifiably introspective characters, and Bayaz still annoys the hell out of me (although this is tempered by Logen, Jezal, and Ferro ,who remain close to him on their quest westward[?], which is altogether a great part of the story). I think this probably means there’s something for everybody, which may be part of the overall appeal; although I also think we can all agree on our opinion of Sand dan Glokta[?]
In short, it flows from the first book, and I will eagerly move onto the third. Good (old school) stuff.