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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie (reviewed by Łukasz Przywóski)



Official Author Website
Order A Little Hatred over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)


OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Joe Abercrombie is a freelance film editor, who works on documentaries and live music events. He lives and works in Bath. 

OFFICIAL BLURB: Introducing a cast of unforgettable new characters, A Little Hatred is the start of a brand new trilogy set in the world of the First Law which will have you gripped from the very start . . .

War. Politics. Revolution.

FORMAT/INFO: A Little Hatred is 480 pages long divided over 40 numbered chapters and is the first entry in the Age of Madness series. The book, published in September 2019 by Orbit, is currently available in all formats. Cover design for the US cover is by Lauren Panepinto with the artwork by Sam Weber while the UK cover design is by Tomás Almeida. 

OVERVIEW: Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he’s a hell of a writer. The First Law trilogy captivated me from the first page of The Blade Itself with fascinating characters, a great intrigue and thrilling unpredictability. A Little Hatred takes place 30 years after the events of Heroes.

The Northmen are invading the Union. The industrialization has been gaining momentum for a while. Business-savvy individuals make fortunes at the cost of unprivileged masses.  Savine dan Glokta, the ruthless daughter of the feared chief inquisitor, controls large chunks of industry and excels at parlor games. Her secret lover, Prince Orso, doesn’t lack charm or charisma but prefers spending his life inebriated in brothels than doing something of any worth.

In the North a hotheaded warrior, Leo dan Brock (known as the young lion) tries to stop the Northmen and dreams about beating their leader, a psychopathic Stour Nightfall (knows as A Great Wolf), in the Circle. Both Stour and Leo consider Bloody-Nine as a role model, go figure. Dogman’s daughter, Rikke, gifted with Long Eye foresees troubles on all fronts and she’s right. It’s Abercrombie’s world after all and his view of life is dark. Lord Grimdark’s trademark black humor and wit make the story enjoyable and addictive but when you look past them, you’ll witness another tragedy developing right before your eyes. 

While A Little Hatred is character-driven and character-focused, things do happen. Plots and subplots converge, but without strong and distinct voices of the POV characters, they would seem generic. Battles, morally ambiguous characters, twisted magic - we’ve seen it before. Abercrombie’s characterization skills, brilliant inner monologues of his characters and sparky dialogue make it unique and unforgettable. He destroys his characters with perfect timing and no scruples. 

I consider Sand dan Glokta the best character in modern fantasy. His daughter, Savine, has the potential to follow in his footsteps. Like her father, she’s morally gray. She’s intelligent, manipulative, well-educated, and brilliant. She’ll do anything to get on top. Nothing and no one can stop her. Except for the harsh reality she’s never experienced before. Raised in a wealthy home, wearing clothes worth more than yearly wages of most people, she considers herself more powerful and strong than she really is. Her brutal clash with the reality will leave you dazed and confused. Fast-paced, violent scenes presenting the insurrection in the Valbeck boil with rage and are among the best I’ve read this year in any book. 

Some chapters come with a heavy dose of graphic descriptions of violence, and that’s something potential readers should know. The author doesn’t hold back but you already know this, right? And I sincerely hope you don’t expect a happy romance, do you? Because if you do, I have bad news. You have to be realistic about these things.

Abercrombie juggles multiple plotlines and points of view with gusto. Each arc is thrilling and memorable. They start to overlap near the end but you need to remember A Little Hatred doesn’t work as a standalone - a lot of what happens is really just structural work for what comes later. But is this really an issue when it’s so addictive to read? I don’t think so.  

A Little Hatred is full of adventure, thrills, and twists and turns. With fully realized and fascinating characters that keep the story moving, I just couldn’t put id down. If you loved First Law trilogy prepare for a feast and enter The Age of Madness.









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