After reading the trilogy and taking a long hiatus I returned to the Abercrombie world with “grim” (harhar) enthusiasm. To tell the tale this book wasn’t as easy going down as the prior series. It started off well enough but like a big tasty greasy meal about mid-way through I started having acid reflux and it took a long time to get over. Luckily I think the ending chapters saved it a bit.
Andy, you ask, what praytell got you rubbed all wrong?
Deep, deep, character flaws and self-loathing.
The entire center of the book seems fixated upon the self-trolling of characters. Bad people in bad places doing bad things and arguing badly.
It just mired me down.
Look I understand the premise. I applaud the effort of vengeance as the centerpiece and the bogfest that happens when you have to travel down that road for a long period of time. The betrayal, counter-betrayal, counter counter-betrayals. Sure. I just got tired of it. Like a hot humid stink on a windless summer day, I just labored through it. I knew we’d have a climb out of the morass eventually but it took me time and that soured me a bit overall.
Joe knows his material, characters, personalities, mystics, fighting, and armies alright but I think the pacing could have been a bit different. I enjoyed this book, just not as much as I have in the past. As always, your milage may vary.