Where book 1 left me wanting more, book 2 was just left wanting…
If you are a fan of the grittiness and realism (which I am) then Abercrombie still sets the scene well. If you liked the first then this is still a must read – just don’t expect it to get better.
In book 2 all those wonderful characters Abercrombie created are “normalized”. The handsome arrogant noble learns humility. The bloodthirsty barbarian becomes really likeable. The feral demon-woman tolerates her companions. The powerful magi doesn’t really do much to make us think he is at all powerful.
This “motley crew” head out on a quest to retrieve the seed which will bring an end to the war once and for all. Quest fantasy – not all that original but then again where would the fantasy genre be without this popular cliché?
The saving grace of this book is the elevation of Sand dan Glokta and the intrigue he faces in the city of Dagoska. How many blades did he avoid in his back?? Also, the matter-of-factly appraisal of each situation from Dogman’s POV coupled with Collem West’s struggle to juggle an ailing superior, two opposing Generals and factions of the Union playing nicely with Northmen militia, makes three reasons why you should read this book.