If you want to be a fine new person with a fine new life you’ve got to put the person you were behind you, like a snake sheds its skin. You’ve got to stop picking through your hoard of hurts and grievances like a miser with his coins, set ’em down and allow yourself to go free. You’ve got to forgive and you’ve got to trust, not because anyone else deserves it, but because you do.
– Joe Abercrombie, Three’s A Crowd, Sharp Ends.
I finished listening to the audiobook today and it delivered great grimdark stories and has nearly every character in the First Law Trilogy and World Books either referenced directly, hinted at, or even a small cameo. I think the book shines with the newer characters of Shevedieh and Javre and their stories interweave wonderfully between stories that are more related to the First Law Trilogy or World books. The narration is top-notch, it’s great to hear Steven Pacey voice old and familiar characters as well as creating great voices for newer characters, even Joe Abercrombie narrates a story pretty good. This was a highly anticipated book for me this year and it did not disappoint, that makes 2 in a row for great audiobooks this week (the other being The Last Werewolf.)
- A Beautiful Bastard: Story about Colonel Glokta and the infamous bridge. A cool backstory for Glokta with numerous cameos of the First Law Trilogy and a couple from the Heroes.
- Small Kindnesses: Shev and Javre, their first meeting and formation of their long working relationship. Severard is also featured.
- The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw and his Dozen in the east of the Crinna. Cracknut Whirrun, Wonderful, and Jolly Yon featured, what’s not to like here?
- Skipping Town: Another Shev and Javre tale, and another fun story.
- Hell: Temple and Haddish Kahdia experience of the tail end of the Siege/Fall of the Dagoska. This one was extremely good. It features the fruit of the desert, thrice blessed and thrice cursed.
- Two’s Company: Shev and Javre meet Cracknut Whirrun, need I say more?
- Wrong Place, Wrong Time: This one features the little people who get caught in Monzcarro Murcatto’s epic plot for revenge.
- Some Desperado: Shy South/Smoke backstory before the events of Red Country. Listening to this story in Dangerous Women is what lead me to picking up the First Law Trilogy.
- Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: another backstory before the events of the Heroes, featuring Bremer dan Gorst and Pale as Snow. I enjoyed this one as the Heroes, over time but not initially, became my favorite novel in series.
- Three’s a Crowd: Shev, Javra, and Carcolf. This one is my favorite out of the whole book. Some cool references and backstory for some of my favorite characters.
- Freedom: This is the one Abercrombie narrated, it’s a retelling of the events in Red Country where Cosca sacks a town sheltering supposed rebels. I liked this one too, Abercrombie is a decent narrator, he really goes over the top in the already over the top account of the sack of Averstock.
- Tough Times All Over: Another great tale featuring numerous First Law characters.
- Made A Monster: This one is another awesome tale. It was close to being my favorite of the book. It’s a story of infamous event of Rattleneck and his son, it provides a great insight to how the Bloody-nine came about.
So this was an audible credit well spent. Abercrombie’s First Law series (trilogy and world books) delivers on satisfying fantasy that also has great humorous bits to round out the grimdark story. Shev and Javre, they quickly became some of my favorite characters (along with Logen/The Bloody-Nine, Glokta, Cosca, Monzcarro Murcatto, Shylo Vitari, Shy South, Bayaz, Craw and his dozen.)
Dogman nodded, took a long ragged breath and blew it out. ‘Anyone want to speak for Threetrees?’
Dow flinched and looked down at his boots, shifting ’em in the dirt. Tul blinked up at the sky, looking like he had a bit of damp in his eye. Dogman himself was only a stride away from weeping as it was. If he had to speak another word he knew he’d set to bawling like a child. Threetrees would have known what to say, but there was the trouble, he was gone. Seemed like no one had any words. Then Grim took a step forward.
‘Rudd Threetrees,’ he said, looking round at ’em one by one. ‘Rock of Uffrith, they called him. No bigger name in all the North. Great fighter. Great leader. Great friend. Lifetime o’ battles. Stood face to face with the Bloody-Nine, then shoulder to shoulder with him. Never took an easy path, if he thought it was the wrong one. Never stepped back from a fight, if he thought it had to be done. I stood with him, walked with him, fought with him, ten years, all over the North.’ His face broke out in a smile. ‘I’ve no complaints.’
‘Good words, Grim,’ said Dow, looking down at the cold earth. ‘Good words.’
‘There’ll be no more like Threetrees,’ muttered Tul, wiping his eye like he’d got something in it.
— Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged.
Loved every bit of that story. Abercrombie definitely writes great characters and this story is a great example of that.
Can’t wait to pick up the audiobook for Sharp Ends when it comes out.
Yeah, pretty excited about that. Along with the Dresden Files and The Dark Tower, The First Law series is one of my favorite series.
I’ve enjoyed the short stories on a couple of anthologies I picked up (Some Desperado from Dangerous Women, and Tough Times All Over from Rogues) and can’t wait to pick up Sharp Ends in April 2016. It’s stated that Steven Pacey will hopefully do the audiobook narration.
I just finished the Rogues audiobook and I enjoyed most of the stories very much, I thought the narration was well done for most of them and the stories themselves were compelling as well as interesting. After finishing it, I added a couple of new series to my wishlist, Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch and KingKiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, based on their short stories in Rogues “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch narrated by Gwendoline Christie and “The Lightning Tree” by Patrick Rothfuss narrated by Rupert Degas. Those 2 short stories were very good and narrated well.
Other stories I enjoyed were:
- “Tough Times All Over” by Joe Abercrombie narrated by Gwendoline Christie.
- “What do you do?” by Gillian Flynn narrated by Julia Whelan
- “Bent Twig” by Joe R. Lansdale narrated by Phil Gigante
- “Providence” by David W. Ball narrated by Morgan Sheppard
- “Heavy Metal” by Cherie Priest narrated by Scott Brick
- “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” by Neil Gaiman
- “The Rogue Prince” by George R.R Martin narrated by Iain Glen
I used an audible credit, I got the 2 per month plan, on it specifically for the stories by Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R Martin. It was well worth it. The story I enjoyed most was Abercrombie’s “Tough Times All Over” because it had so many references to characters I liked as well as a cool story set in Sipani, all from the very good First Law series.
Proof is boring. Proof is tiresome. Proof is an irrelevance. People would far rather be handed an easy lie than search for a difficult truth, especially if it suits their own purposes
– Joe Abercrombie, Last Argument of Kings.