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Before They are Hanged (First Law Series #2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great quest fantasy

    In the South Inquisitor torturer Glokta serves as the Superior of the city of Dagoska. He has two missions to accomplish if he is to survive his new position unlike his recently assassinated predecessor. He must root out the traitors before they murder him and he must keep the city safe while it is under siege from superior enemy forces with no hope for outside supplies..--------- In the North the powerful well trained and equipped Northmen military have invaded neighboring Angland. Crown Prince Ladisla demands leadership of his Union army as he plans gloriously to repel the enemy back beyond his frozen border. However, as Major West escorts the bodacious royal fool he knows his side lacks proper arms, training, leadership and courage while the other side will swamp the battlefield with its superiority. ---------- In the center the First of the Magi Bayaz leads a party of pariahs (incompetent apprentice Malacus Quai, warrior Logen, Ferro the Navigator, Brother Longfoot and Jezal) seeking the Seed. Each person distrusts the rest of the participants, but it is this band that must defeat the Eaters that threaten humanity. Bayaz understands this so he tells the tale of creation to encourage them-------------- As with the First Law Book One: THE BLADE ITSELF, the second tale contains three well written major plots there is also somewhat of a fourth segue re the Named Men remaining undecided. The best of the trio is Glotka¿s saga as the audience sees deep into his unsympathetic ¿soul¿ while he tortures (graphically) anyone using the rationale he seeks to save the people by rooting out enemy plotters his detachment from his victims is classic. The West subplot is fun to follow too as he knows what his Prince is leading them into, but can do little to prevent their charge into the valley of death (think of The Charge of the Light Brigade). Finally, the Bayaz clip tells a lot about the history of the world in vivid descriptions, but his teammates fail to listen. This is a complex well written quest fantasy that will have the audience clamoring for the next law book.----------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Read Joe Abercrombie!

    Looking for something "a little different"? This is the guy. You won't read just one of his books, you'll need to read them all because of the plot twists and characters. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    CAN'T READ JUST ONE

    This series has an obsessive appeal due to the depth of the characters and their interaction. Add to the cliché about not being able to put a book down with being driven to immediately locate and pick-up the next one in the series. This book finds Bayaz, Logen, Ferro, Jezal, Quai and Longfoot journeying to the very edge of the world in search of an ancient weapon. Along the way Logen and Ferro form an unlikely and fragile partnership, Jezal loses much of his arrogance, Quai and Bayaz expound on the creation myths or history of the Old Time and explain the utter destruction of the former capital of the Old Empire, the Jewel of Cities, Aulcus. Meanwhile Threetrees, Tul Duru, Grim, Black Dow, Dogman and Colonel West struggle to fight the forces of the self-proclaimed King of the North, Bethod, to a stand-off. At the same time in Dagoska, the maimed and cynical Superior Glokta faces the impossible challenge of repairing the defenses of the city, surviving massive Gurkish assaults and revealing traitors. The language is sometimes raw, but the writing is excellent and a bond quickly forms between reader and characters.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Lots of action and battles with a magical journey mixed in as well.

    Before They Are Hanged picks up right where The Blade Itself left off. Bayaz - the First Mage, Quai his apprentice, the Navigator, Logen or Bloody Nine as he's known, Ferro, and Jezel are all on their journey to the edge of the world to get the seed to save everyone. Glokta and his practicals are in the Southern city Dagoskan, to save a doomed city from the Gurkish. Colonel West is up North fighting with, or for, the Prince against the savage Northmen. It all sounds simple where the characters are and what they are doing. But, the journey with these characters always seems to go by quickly for me with the wonderous things, good and bad, that happen.

    I enjoyed The Blade Itself, but I think I enjoyed Before They Are Hanged even more. Joe Abercrombie has a wonderful way of telling the story full of action and wonder. I enjoyed reading of all the happenings with these characters in the different ends of the world, to see there is a great deal going on around the world and needing help in fixing.

    I don't know which set of characters I enjoy reading about more. They are all have different happenings and characteristics that pull me into their stories. Glokta is always a pleasure to read with his suspicious negative thoughts are always interesting in how he comes to his conclusions of people and happenings. And he is usually right in his suspicions. Bayaz and the crew have the magic with them and the great journey. Magic and wonder always interest me. Colonel West has the Northern Men coming to him and the crazy chaos.

    The characters have all gone through great hardships of their own kind. They are all grew greatly by the end of this book. The Blade Itself defined who they where at the start, and now they are changing. I got to learn more about the Eaters in the south and Shanka (or Flatheads) in the north. Also, some history leading up to the reason Khaluh is doing what he is doing.

    You start to see the inside workings of the history to why they are where they are and the world as it is. I love how the history ties everyone together. Even why Bayaz picked the crew, and yet wonder the purpose of a few of them.

    There was one thing I would have liked to have, a map. BUT I really liked how Joe Abercrombie drew a map of the world with his worlds and I didn't need a physical map to help visualize the world.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another killer story!

    Really 4 1/2 stars but I don't think it deserved to be brought down to a 4. I am fortunate to have become interested in this genre & to have found this talented author. It makes me realize how simple, cheesy, & blah some of the books were I was reading before this. I now understand the difference between mediocre & superior. A fantastic horrifying story, intertwined with dark humor, that will leave the hair on the back of your neck standing up & give you chills down your spine. This series has multiple story lines & each one offers it's own entertainment.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    "We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged." There lies the theme of this book.

    Inspector Glokta is bent and crippled and in constant pain from having been tortured. So, after recovery, the only job he could get was as a ruthless torturer. In this book, he has also become a ruthless and not surprisingly, an effective governor. And there is a wise and gifted wizard, an enigmatic and dangerous old geezer in possession of powers beyond knowing, who is trekking towards The Edge of the World with an odd band of cohorts, heroes from their own various achievements, who don't like themselves and must be vigilantly suspicious of each other... for very good reasons.

    Another small band of willful cutthroats, every one an outcast, is on a mission to depose a ruler they all despise in the midst of lands filled with people who hate them, too. And there are generals fit only to command, having no leadership skills or judgment, led by an earnest young chap with few credentials and very little experience. There is a General Assembly chockablock with knaves who wouldn't be able to do anything wise or humane if anyone's life depended on it. And there are unending meaningless wars being fought by citizens who, after all, are going to die anyway. Enemies are advancing and threatening, as well as so nearby they can't be detected.

    As you've surely gathered by now, Joe Abercrombie has a deft sense of humor and has written quite a funny book. It is a fantasy, like all good solid escapism, which has more than a ring of truth. It might take you as many as twenty pages to get to know these dishonorable, indeed mostly despicable, characters before you like them and you become part of their various adventures.

    A caution. This is Book Two, strong and heady wine if you haven't first imbibed in The Blade Itself (Book One). And caution, too, dear Reader: Book Three is out -- The Last Argument of Kings. Prepare to get hooked.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wild Ride

    I must say that i was very impressed with Abercrombies writing style. This series was a wild ride for me. Its full of fantastic characters including Glokta. I loved reading about him. And also the wizard Bayaz, a truly one of a kind mage. This is hardcore dark fantasy at its core. the squemish and faint of heart should stay away. I read these books with a feel of adventure, love, hate and alot of times i even laughed out loud. You will experience all kinds of emotions throughout this series. If your wanting to get away from typical sterotype fantasy then this series is for you. So buy the books and enjoy the wild ride...

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Terrific middle-book in Abercrombie's First Law trilogy

    Unlike a lot of fluff in the fantasy genre, Abercrombie's "Before They are Hanged" is a wonderfully dark take on good versus evil. The dialog is witty and intelligent, the characters are richly developed and complex, and the story unfolds beautifully as events develop. I would highly recommend the trilogy to anyone with an interest in gritty realism combined with unique and approachable characters. The character of Glotka is perhaps one of my favorite characters in fantasy (I have a pretty dark sense of humor at times).

    I would not advise these books for children under 16 or so as some of the scenes, just like the other books in the series, are dark and sometimes cruel.

    Highly recommended!

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  • Posted October 22, 2008

    Entertaining and Engrossing!

    Don't read this one w/o reading The Blade Itself first. Great followup to the first book. (I'm guessing Harding Grim is an illegitimate son of the King.) Characters evolve more, story is great, more to the characters than meets the eye. Definately not the same old, same old story.

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