Top positive review
In times of peace, the warlike man attacks himself.
Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2020
Joe Abercrombie, with his First Law books, long ago established himself as one of my favorite authors. The kind of author you eagerly await release days for. The kind of author for which you drop all other reading when those days arrive. The kind of author whose books you finish reading on a Saturday afternoon--sitting in a chair at the park--staring off into the middle distance with a small smile on your face at the sheer impressiveness of their work; happy that you only have to wait a year for the next one, furious that you have to wait an entire year for the next one. Joe is that kind of author. The First Law are those kinds of books.
Those returning after A Little Hatred know that all is not well in the Union. Years of avarice and corruption, ambition and negligence, have resulted in a ticking time-bomb of a nation, and it's ready to blow. Around a hundred pages into The Trouble with Peace I had to smile, because I felt it. That hook in me, expertly laid as usual. That hook dragging me along in Joe's wake. His prose flowing, his dialogue sharp, his plots finely woven, and his world vibrantly alive as he shows me around once more. The thing is that anyone who has made it this far into the First Law series--and for those counting this is number nine, if you count Sharp Ends--we are no longer surprised as to what Joe is. He writes some of the most compelling, realistic characters out there and displays a total mastery of cinematic POV. And if it seems like I'm being too generous with my praise I can do nothing but apologize, in my mind he deserves it.
When you can write this many books set in the same world and not just maintain quality but somehow continue to improve, then you deserve the praise. Maybe Joe is not treading entirely new ground here, but that doesn't make it any less impressive, or any easier to put down. He is leading us through a fully realized world, through matters of consequence. Forcing us into situations of ambiguity with high stakes, dragging us along kicking and screaming into an age of madness where chaos reigns. But there are always those who stand to benefit from a little chaos... And besides, in such a tumultuous time in our own world, the Age of Madness seems more relevant than ever.