Tuesday, September 06, 2022

47. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

I found this, if my memory serves, in the big dump of smokey, food-stained nerdy paperbacks and other belongings from some poor soul living in the rental apartment down the street from me.  I had it on my on-deck shelf for when I was ready for a nice, absorbing vacation read but ended up grabbing it now at the end of the summer just because it is thick and I need room on my on-deck shelf!

What can I say here of any depth, beyond that it delivered exactly what I had anticipated.  Another easy to read, enjoyable, funny and brutal fantasy novel.  The Heroes is fun because it is very focused, unlike the epic First Law trilogy that precedes it.  It all takes place in three days in a single location.  The story is entirely about a battle between the "barbarians" of the North and the civilized Union of the South.  Not only do we get a beautifully illustrated map of this pastoral valley, but each of the three sections of the book updates the map with the various military positions at the end of each day.  This was all super helpful for me to picture the action and be clear on what was going on, though I suspect that Abercrombie's writing is clear enough that one could still figure it out without the maps.

Many of the characters from the First Law trilogy show up here and some of the lesser ones get a full expansion.  We also have some new ones.  As usual, we get all the wide range of grim, cynical and funny characters that make the other books so enjoyable.  If you are more into the fantasy and politics and less the fighting and Named Men, you may not love this one.  However, if you are into crunching medieval combat and rich, funny brutal warriors, this is the book for you.  He even has an annoying warrior keener, in Whirrun of Blight, who loves to fight and is always super enthusiastic, a hilarious counterpoint to the mostly grim and weary members of his dozen.

Just a lot of fun and it reminded me how much I enjoyed The First Law.  There is another trilogy taking place the next generation down that I will be keeping an eye out for, but will have to save it for later is it will always be readily available and I have an overflowing on-deck shelf to deal with now.

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