I remember not so long ago my vow to never start a book that was part of a trilogy or a series. Well it appears that if the books are enjoyable enough, I can relax my rules a little bit. This is definitely the case for the First Law trilogy. Hell, I enjoyed it so much I am seriously considering checking out Abercrombie's other books.
Often with any ensemble story, it is the beginning that is the most enjoyable, as you meet the characters and their various challenges are revealed. Once you kind of know the path they are on, it can become a bit of a slog. I felt that feeling briefly in about the first third of this book, but then just got caught up in the story and was carried along for the ride, as I was in the first book. It's not so much that the outcome of the tale is wildly unexpected. It is, ultimately, the classic story of ancient powers reviving their endless fight of good vs. evil, light vs. dark and dragging a bunch of mortals along with them. However, in the First Law series, the emphasis is all on those mortals and how their stories interact with that greater battle. You really want to find out what happens to them and it is very satisfying when you get to the end (though not altogether happy).
Great trilogy, strongly recommended if that is your sort of thing.