Too old for this shit,' muttered Craw, wincing at the pain in his dodgy knee with every other step.
–Joe Abercrombie - The heroes - c.2011 - pg.9
The forces of the Union are about to meet those of the North in battle. Over the next three days war will be waged, and men will die. Or become heroes. Or something in between. This is the story of those bloody days, the story of the men, and occasional women, on both sides who fight.
I picked this one up because I had heard fairly positive things about Abercrombie’s books, and this was a stand-alone, although set in the same world as his First Blade series, or so I understand, as I haven’t read that. I had no idea of what to expect, or even of the plot, apart from the fact that it was about a war. Or a battle fought over three days would maybe be a more accurate description.
At first I wasn’t sure quite what to make of it. I didn’t really like any of the characters, although I thought that the writing in places was very entertaining. And, as the reader is just thrown in with very little backstory, I was a bit worried that I should have read other books in this ‘verse before this one. Just to get a sense of place. But as I kept reading I found that I didn’t need that. It may very well have added to my read if I did know more about the world, but it really is not necessary to appreciate this book.
The majority of the characters are unlikable. Or you find yourself thinking that you’d like that character if only he was a little different, or maybe if he redeemed himself over the course of the book. Well, some may do so, I’m not going to tell you that.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the way unlikeable characters became understandable, and I found myself hoping they’d get what they wanted, even if I didn’t agree with their methods or actions.
It is a very solid, rewarding read. And I think I’ll have to find time for more of his books.