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Book Review: A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Age of Madness (Book #1 of 3), First Law World (Book, #8 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Pages: 480 pages (Hardback)

Published: 17th September 2019 by Gollancz (UK) & 17th September 2019 by Orbit (US)


Grim, dark, fun, and glorious; A Little Hatred is irrefutably worth the wait.

Let me begin by saying that although this is a new series in the First Law World and you can technically start your journey into this world here, it’s quite mandatory to read at least The First Law trilogy in order to fully appreciate the intricacies of this book; even better if you’ve also read Best Served Cold and The Heroes. Reading A Little Hatred without knowledge of the previous books would be a similar experience to reading Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold without reading his previous three books or reading Robin Hobb’s Tawny Man trilogy without reading Farseer trilogy first. Do yourself a favor and make sure you read The First Law trilogy first before you start A Little Hatred, I even binge reread the entire trilogy to make sure that I can start this book with refreshed information. Make some time for it, not only it’s a brilliant trilogy, but you’ll also be doing a huge disservice to the book and most of all your reading experience if you don’t do it. On to the actual review now.

“Nothing like being wanted, is there? Wanted by someone you want. Always seems like magic, that something can feel so good but cost nothing.”

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Book Review: Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3) by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #3 of 3), First Law World (Book, #2 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Pages: 670 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 20th March 2008 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


Abercrombie has been titled as Lord Grimdark for years now; I truly believe that Last Argument of Kings is majorly responsible for this.

“Round and round in circles we go, clutching at successes we never grasp, endlessly tripping over the same old failures. Truly, life is the misery we endure between disappointments.”

Last Argument of Kings is the third—and final book—in The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Every plot lines from the first two books lead to the revelations and brutal conclusion in this installment. The story picks up immediately from where Before They Are Hanged left off, and it has come full circle. Depending on your perspective, Last Argument of Kings is either bittersweet, depressingly bleak or in between; I personally think it’s the latter. Abercrombie writes as if he’s a maestro of death and hopelessness. If you’re hanging on the edge of a cliff, Abercrombie will give you a dangling rope to save you but when you use that rope to save yourself from falling, he annihilates your hopes by using that rope to strangle you when you’re at the top. Yet, I must say that it is precisely for this unforgiving realism that I end up considering Last Argument of Kings as my favorite book in the series.

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Book Review: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #2 of 3), First Law World (Book, #2 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Pages: 573 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 15th March 2007 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


Before They Are Hanged succeeds over The Blade Itself wonderfully.

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”—Heinrich Heine

I’ve mentioned in my review of The Blade Itself that although I highly enjoyed it, Abercrombie’s debut felt like more like a setup book; a necessary installment for the remaining two books in the trilogy to shine. Before They Are Hanged is where Abercrombie starts progressing the storyline and the third book is where he wraps things up explosively. On this reread, I’ve come to realize that The First Law trilogy can be defined as one gigantic volume divided into three; the conclusion of the first two books in the trilogy continues immediately in their respective sequel as if it’s a simple chapter change and there were no definite conclusive storylines until the end of Last Argument of Kings. This storytelling style makes binge-reading the trilogy such a great experience, and I love this book more than The Blade Itself.

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Book Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie


The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #1 of 3), First Law World (Book, #1 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Pages: 544 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 4th May 2006 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


The Blade Itself was my first entry into a grimdark fantasy novel that I highly enjoyed; on this reread, I loved it even more.

“Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.”

Back in October 2016, the only reason I stumbled upon this bloody marvelous trilogy was that, as many other readers did, I was looking for a reading experience that could offer me the kind of unpredictability and morally ambiguous characters that the Game of Thrones TV show did. I haven’t read A Song of Ice and Fire back then, fans of Game of Thrones weren’t so divisive in their opinion yet too, but suffice to say I was surprised that I got what I was looking for in this series, and more. I’ve read many grimdark novels since then, and it’s baffling that I haven’t encountered many grimdark characters with characterizations level as high as Abercrombie. Seeing that Abercrombie’s newest novel in the world of First Law is coming out in a month, I figured it’s about time for me to actually refresh my memory and check whether it was my nostalgia goggles playing trick on me; it wasn’t, I actually loved my reread experience more than my first read.

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Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company (Book #1-3 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US Omnibus edition)

Published: 18th September, 2018 by Gollancz (UK) & 13th November 2017 by Tor Books (US)


The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook is a series that Steven Erikson has praised intensely for a long time now, it’s even considered to be his inspiration for Malazan Book of the Fallen and after reading this omnibus, I can certainly see why.

There were many aspects that displayed them; similarities between the Bridgeburners and the Black Company, a storytelling style that drops readers into the midst of the plot without any clear explanation, just to name a few without spoilers. The differences between Erikson and Cook would be that Erikson’s series is gigantically more massive in scope and difficulty. Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus comprises of the first three books in the series: The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose. These three made up for the first story arc in the series: Books of the North story arc. Same as my review for Riyria Revelations omnibuses, I won’t be writing a full review for each book but I’ll write a mini-review for each book in this volume instead.

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Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)

Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)

ARC provided by the publisher—Jo Fletcher Books—in exchange for an honest review.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An outstanding grimdark sequel. Feel free to consider me a huge fan of this low-fantasy series now.

At the moment, I honestly don’t know whether I should be happy or sad about the fact that I finished this book already. In less than two weeks, Priest of Lies will officially be published, and I’m truly glad that I have the privilege to read this book earlier than its publication, but oh my lord, I’m in dire need the next book NOW and I’m sad that it’s nowhere in sight yet! Priest of Lies, the second book in the War for the Rose Throne by Peter McLean, is a huge step up from its predecessor; that’s saying a lot because I had a terrific time reading Priest of Bones.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

—Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

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Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne, #1)

Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne, #1)

Priest of Bones by Peter McLean
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Peeky fookin bloindah with a powerful one more chapter syndrome.

A confession first, I’m not a fan of the TV show Peaky Blinders. Despite the well-acted performance of the casts, I gave up watching the TV series in the midst of season 2 because I was insanely bored with the snail-pacing. Yes yes, heresy right? Feel free to mock me with no fighting no fooking fighting meme. Hearing that Priest of Bones is inspired by the TV series was honestly the main reason why I haven’t given this book a go until now. Don’t get me wrong, what they’ve said about this being similar to Peaky Blinders is true; the similarity and inspirations were myriad and some elements did felt a bit too similar, especially in the first half. However, Priest of Bones, to my mind, has a significantly superior package compared to what I’ve seen so far in Peaky Blinders.

“When people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy.”

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The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne, #3)

The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne, #3)

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

The Killing Light by Myke Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A compelling read that offers a satisfying conclusion to The Sacred Throne trilogy.

I won’t be talking about the plot at all; there’s nothing about the story that I can say without spoiling something from the previous two books. As for what worked for me, there were many. I found the start of this book to be significantly better than the beginning of The Queen of Crows. This doesn’t mean that The Queen of Crows began horribly, but in my opinion, that book requires readers to binge-read the first two books or at least read them not too far in-between; the story continued immediately with no refresher on who’s who and it took me a long time to care about Heloise again. However, The Killing Light is not inflicted by the same situation; it started by efficiently refreshing reader’s memories on the characters and most importantly, allowing me to reacquaint myself with Heloise Factor because Cole elaborated on her characterizations first.

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The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blade Itself is exactly why I believe in second chances. When I first read this book four years ago, I had very little adult fantasy under my belt. I had read Elantris, Mistborn, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Kingkiller Chronicle. That’s pretty much it. I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for something like The Blade Itself. Even ASoIaF, by far the darkest of the fantasy novels I had read up to that point, had a number of characters who were mostly moral. Even if I wasn’t sure how long said characters would live, I knew that there was good even in this dark world. Then Abercrombie entered. While even on my first reading I appreciated how fleshed out and unique his characters were, there was a part of me that was horrified to find a core of darkness within those I had thought were basically good. My little brain didn’t cope well with that.

“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”

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Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Wisdom Lost by Michael Sliter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wisdom Lost strengthened the idea that Pandemonium Rising is one of the most underrated character-driven grimdark series in the market right now.

I’m very close to loving this series as much as I loved Richard Nell’s underrated Ash and Sand series. It is that good. Wisdom Lost is the second book in the Pandemonium Rising quartet by Michael Sliter. Told in the same multi-perspective character-driven narration as its predecessor, the story picks up immediately from where the previous book left off. Although I did give a content warning for the first installment, I don’t think Wisdom Lost merits a specific content warning. This doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t fall into the grimdark genre; it still does undeniably. However, I personally found it to be not as depressing or mentally brutal; I believe everyone’s acquainted to the genre will find this one easier—if I can call it that—to read for the heart. In Solace Lost, Sliter prepared the foundation for every main character’s background and personality; at the same time breaking one or two of the POV characters in both physical and mental aspect brutally. Wisdom Lost focuses on how the characters coped and developed from them.

“Part of understanding emotions in others was seeing what emotions they elicited within the self. One cannot truly understand rage or depression simply as an observer, bereft of empathy.”

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