Monday, March 3, 2014
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie consists of a trilogy and three standalone books. The Heroes is the second of the latter. Set about nine years after the events of the trilogy this book brings back a couple of the more minor characters and gives them a chance to shine. The book focuses on a battle that takes place over the course of three days.
I have always loved Joe Abercrombie's dark and gritty approach towards realism. He doesn't sugar coat any of the actions done by the characters and in doing so he gives them a fuller and richer feel. These characters are three dimensional. They have fears and doubts. They question the decisions they have made and try to put on a front for those around them. In short that act like human beings.
What really stood out for me was the fact that we got to see the action from every possible angle. When it starts out you read and you feel that you know who the bad guy is, but in the next moment you are seeing the events from another perspective and your sensibilities begin to shift. The person who was once the enemy is now someone with whom you sympathize. There is no clear cut division between good and evil. Each person has some of both residing within them.
If you are a fan of gritty fantasy that doesn't mind getting mired in the muck and wallowing in it I would recommend this book for sure. It stands on its own as a novel and does not require you to read the trilogy to enjoy it, but it is something that I would recommend. The only quibble I had with the book was the fact that the author snuck in some links to our world that took me out of the book for a moment. The first came when one of the characters created the first sandwich. It was a little ridiculous and it seemed out of place since it was never mentioned again and did not do much to advance the plot or character building. That being said it was quite the minor thing and it did not keep me from wholeheartedly enjoying this work.
Rating 4.5/5 stars.