Joe Abercrombie

Works of literature worth frothing over (or avoiding like the pox).

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Postby Cosmotiger » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:21 pm

I just finished the First Law Books, and started in on Heroes last night.

I think Abercrombie did a great job in "Last Argument of Kings" of tearing off the outer layers of the characters and revealing that there were deeper levels to them that we had only glimpsed in the first two books. Bayaz, Logen Ninefingers and Glokta all have patterns that Abercrombie has set up in the earlier books, and he deliberately plays against them in "Last Argument." I found that parts of the book really did surprise me.

Ferro and Jezal, on the other hand were less interesting in the last book, although their arcs do underscore Abercrombie's theme that most people (and most countries) don't have any true control over their own destinies. Their fates were sealed a long time ago, it seems.
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Postby nate the great » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:49 pm

Just finished Best Served Cold. That was a bit bloody good. Not as good as the first law books but a cracking good read.
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Postby TheImp » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:15 pm

I enjoyed them, but by the time I finished Heroes I felt I had seen all that Abercrombie had to show me. I'm still recommending them to people as a great example of what low-fantasy can be and how fantasy literature can approach topics of heroism and serious questions of right and wrong.
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Postby geronimo » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:34 pm

Red Country's out today, already stuck into it, good stuff so far 8)
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Postby Badger Loving Fluffster » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:23 pm

Yep, my sister came into the office with it this afternoon

Need to mug her :twisted:
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Postby blackfly » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:51 pm

Ordered it from the UK yesterday, since you fuukers get it a month ahead of me. :)
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Postby Squeaky » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:22 pm

geronimo wrote:Red Country's out today, already stuck into it, good stuff so far 8)


Aye, great stuff so far. Not completely convinced about the whole 'western' vibe, and how that fits in with the fantasy setting exactly BUT he writes so well it doesn't matter 8)
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Postby geronimo » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:31 am

Squeaky wrote:
geronimo wrote:Red Country's out today, already stuck into it, good stuff so far 8)


Aye, great stuff so far. Not completely convinced about the whole 'western' vibe, and how that fits in with the fantasy setting exactly BUT he writes so well it doesn't matter 8)


Finished it in a marathon session last night, loved the western vibe. Fantastically cinematic, several "oh fuck don't let him be dead" moments. Can't think of anything I've read in recent years other than Abercrombie who writes such emotionally involving characters.

In summary, then: Unforgiven with Swords. Fucking terrific stuff...and the note in the end credits referencing Abercrombie's D&D group? Now that's an RPG game that'd be :froth:
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Postby Blackie's Left Boot » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:55 am

Disclaimer: I?m only halfway through. But I am bored by this book.

What do you call a fantasy novel with no fantasy?

Deathly dull, that?s what.

I am a Joe Abercrombie fan ? I think I introduced this board to him ? but I am not enjoying Red Country. Where are the fantasy elements that were so deftly handled in Abercrombie?s masterful First Law trilogy?

No Eaters. No Shanka. No Tolomei. No communing with spirits. No Ferro Maljinn, and whatever she?s become. No Bayaz. No Magi. No Seed. No Divider. In fact, no magic of any kind. No Arch Lector Glokta.

F?rinstance, a scene I really enjoyed in The First Law was when the Union retook a captured castle ? and found something obscene within. The besieged Northmen had cut a summoning circle into the stone of the castle, in an attempt to raise ? something. What they hoped would aid them was never really explained, but that is the kind of ?we?re not in Kansas any more? weirdness that I look for in fantasy; in vain here.

I think the Western motif could have succeeded, if it hadn?t pushed out fantasy completely. As it is, I feel like I?m reading an out-and-out Western novel with a very, very thin veneer of fantasy overlaid. Not what I signed up for.

As I say, I haven?t finished yet, so I?ll push on and hope things improve, and that some of his originality and freshness make an appearance. But so far? Red Country has been a big disappointment.
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Postby Duff » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:25 pm

One of the things I love about Abercrombie is the way he actively avoids fantasy tropes (or takes great delight in subverting them). As his books go on, he seems to be using magic and mythical beasties less and less, which just makes them all the better to my mind. The world he's created is just background, his books are about the characters, perception vs reality, free will vs determinism. And fucking big swords of course. The only reason he bothers with a fantasy setting at all as far as I can see is so he doesn't have to worry about historical anachronism and he gets to fuck around with his readers preconceptions. It's one of the reasons I like his stuff so much.
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