Book Review: The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

I received an ARC of The Trouble with Peace (Gollancz) in exchange for an honest review.

Cover illustration by: Tomás Almeida

The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Age of Madness (Book #2 of 3), First Law World (Book, #9 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Published: 15th September 2020 by Gollancz (UK) & 15th September 2020 by Orbit (US)

A savagely stunning sequel. 

The Trouble With Peace takes place shortly after the events of A Little Hatred and its ominous conclusion. Whilst peace has been hard-won, it is a peace built on shaky foundations and the title for this second book in The Age of Madness trilogy is not coy about the direction of this story.

“In times of peace, the warlike man attacks himself.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I want to avoid any possible spoilers, so the plot is a no-go here, but much is at stake during this peaceful time with threats looming everywhere, both visible and hidden. Abercrombie, of course, brings his A-game with deft writing and some fantastically twisty plot points that will leave you grinning at the brilliance of it, but I’m once again doing my best impression of a broken record here. Who needs this fantastic, gripping story when you have such compelling characters?!?! And this second book is where the younger generation really starts to come into their own. Rikke, Orso, Leo, Savine, Victarine, even Stour Nightfall; all start to carve their own paths in this book, their own legends, breaking away from the shadows of their parents for good or for bad. You may think you know them already, but think again! The author caught me off guard more than once with the choices our colourful cast made and I cant wait to see how they further grow in The Wisdom of Crowds. Despite these surprising developments I was fascinated by how often these choices reinforced the feeling that history is repeating itself and wonder at how far it’s going to go.

“…great soldiers become prisoners of their own success.”

While the story is filled to the brim with cutting dialogue, crafty manoeuvring and trademark Abercrombie humour, the Lord of Grimdark has earned his title through blood, sweat and tears on-page. And it’s all here again. Bigger and bloodier than ever with a particular sequence that was as savage as they come, delivering blow after blow, after blow. When you think of assembling a dream team of writers for fight scenes, surely the name Abercrombie is an automatic entry. There is also a narrative device that I first encountered in The Heroes where the author switches POV’s from one character to another, in this case as they come into contact with one another. Abercrombie employs it perfectly once again in the midst of a tumultuous scene, which does a brilliant job of emphasizing the chaos unfolding.  It’s a hell of a performance and I loved every second.

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
Helmuth von Moltke

I had been putting this series off for a long time, and for no obvious reason, but I am certain I won’t make that mistake again when it comes to this author’s books. After all, I could not help but read these two books back to back, they are that good, and Joe Abercrombie’s writing never ceases to delight. Memorable characters, spellbindingly ferocious action, twists that scare a pretzel and gallows humour to die for, The Trouble with Peace mauls expectations to serve up a sublime sequel that’s even better than it’s showstopper of a predecessor. I am without doubt that like me, any Abercrombie fan will devour this story and soon after be practising their best Oliver Twist impression.

Highly recommended.

Official release date: 15th September 2020

You can order the book from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository (Free shipping)
Bookshop (Support Local Bookstores)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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