Review – A few more from Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

Posted: April 28, 2016 in Fantasy
Tags: , , , ,

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I’m really enjoying this collection of short stories by Joe Abercrombie. Being able to jump in and consume a perfect little slice of action during a lunch break is fantastic. But, as ever with Abercrombie and the world he has created, it’s not just the firecracker confrontations he so brilliantly crafts, it’s the characters behind them that truly stand out.

In Hell, Abercrombie let’s us walk, or more aptly run, in the shoes of a coward. Temple, the religious acolyte of Dagoskan, is running because the Gurkish have breached the city walls, the Union army is retreating and the Eaters are on their way. Through all the debris and smoke and startling description, Temple’s fear and cowardice are sumptuously laid bare. He knows what he should do yet he can’t; he despises what he does but he can’t help but do it. Wanting to live, regardless of the guilt is a powerful motivator and Temple is highly motivated.

Looking in on the fall of Dagoskan and watching the Eaters display their power, Hell is a clever commentary on a profound aspect of life; so few do what is right at the right time, especially Temple.

Two’s Company is another roaring tale featuring Javre the Lioness and Shev. Travelling in the North, attempting to evade the Templars of the Golden Order, the two women find themselves face to face with Cracknut Wirrun. The meeting, however, takes place on a very rickety rope bridge and neither warrior is in the mood to back down.

There’s a real humour laced through Abercrombie’s work and none more so than here. Wirrun and Javre engage in a classic conversation that leads to a fist fight. Before any conclusive blows are struck, a group of Bethod’s men show up looking for Wirrun. Mayhem ensues as Javre takes offence at the interruption, helping Wirrun to defeat his enemies. The favour is paid back when Javre’s foes arrive upon the scene. Throughout it all, Shev narrowly avoids death but not getting covered in blood and guts.

Shev and Javre are turning out to be brilliant actors and these stories are making me hope for a novel based around their exploits. More great stuff from the World of The First Law.

Review copy
Published by Gollancz

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