I blew through this fantasy trilogy. Absolutely blew through it. It consumed me, rather than me devouring it. I loved it. Even the end of the third book, which has garnered some negative attention, I enjoyed in retrospect. At the time I felt some of the same disappointment that others felt at the fact that not all the loose ends were successfuly tied up (and were not meant to be), but looking back on it, well done. The evolution of Bayaz’s character was one that grabbed my attention, particularly in the last book. He went from being a powerful wizard, wise adviser, and meddling old man to a power hungry demigogue. That was unexpected and fascinating. I loved how he simply made Jezal king, then point blank told Jezal he would do as he was told. That left me feeling slimy. I liked it.
Abercrombie has written a fourth book now too, that takes place in the same world, so I’m looking forward to that. Everyone that has read it says it is the best, but I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s going to be hard to beat characters like Glokta and Logen Nine-Fingers, my two favorites. (The scenes when he “turns into” the Bloody Nine….wow…amazing!)
This definitely renewed my faith in fantasy authors that has been dashed to pieces by Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. The Wheel of Time was great for the first four books, but then sucked and now will never be fniished. The Song of Ice and Fire was wonderful too, but he suffers from Robert ordan like success. Now, instead of finishing his fucking story, he’s working on an HBO screenplay for the first book. It pisses me off. Abercrombie, by contrast, wrote an excellent and engaging story that had a start, a middle, and an end. And he was satisfied with that. And so was I. I like that he’s sticking around in the world he created because its too rich to leave the rest of it unexplored, but I’m glad the first group of books actually ended. I’m glad he didn’t stop after Book 2 to write an encyclopedia and I’m glad he didn’t make excuses when it came to writing, but actually wrote. Joe Abercrombie – THANK YOU!
Now I am on to Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas – about half way through it and enjoying it, but it’s not fantastic. It seems like a series in interconnected short stories rather than a novel, but it’s holding my attention. I understand it is one of the weakest Culture novels, but needs to be read to set things up, so I’m reading it. Actually, just this morning, it took a turn for the better in terms of overarching plot development, so that’s encouraging.
But Horza is no Logen.