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Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
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May 16, 11

Read in May, 2011

Joe Abercrombie's second book in the First Law series has finally gathered all of its characters, and finally we're ready for some adventure! After 500 pages of world building now finally we can have some action! Sort of.

Like "The Blade Itself", this is not a stand alone book. It's really the middle part of a 1700 page novel. So if you liked book one, you'll like what you see here. All of the characters get to wiggle their toes a little and start to really fill in more 3 dimensionally, albeit in relatively cliched ways. The battle scenes remain enjoyably visceral and violent if somewhat muddled.

But unfortunately we have to slog through another 500 odd pages of incredibly slow story telling in order to have a handful of interesting and exciting moments. Abercrombie diligently tries to illustrate how long a journey to the ends of the earth is, but ends up boring us to death in the telling. Once again you're left wondering if all of the pages dedicated to weak and muddled political intrigue will ultimately pay off with some mind bending twists and turns. Nope. At least not in this book. Again, maybe next time.

Unfortunately, Abercrombie's prose can't carry his heavy, multifaceted, yet ultimately mundane plot. This book could have lost 200 pages and been much stronger for it.
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