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Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Chaz Certified Rating System: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads synopsis:

Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.

I finally finished book two in the First Law trilogy! It’s not because it was a slow read; it’s because I’ve been lazy with my reading. 😦

Finally the action is rolling too! I liked “The Blade Itself”, but I loved this one! Where sometimes during “The Blade Itself” I felt like “Ok let’s see what Abercombie is doing here to set the stage”, in this novel the stage is set, we know what’s going on, and we are going to get some much deserved action. The best part is the action doesn’t stop! We got Glokta back in his area of expertise with the intrigue, the mystery, the leadership, the back pain, the gum sucking, and the violence! We got Jezal getting hit in the face and growing up! We got Bayaz being grumpy and giving us world building. We got West stepping up into the ring! We got Logen and Ferro with their ferocity (Maybe I should save that word for West), and maybe some awkward romance brewing…  We got our named men, and everyone else not mentioned, that are still being interesting!

We get to feel every emotion through the course of this story, and I really feel like the characters and the plot begin to progress throughout book two. We get to see a lot of changes that, in retrospect, book one did a really good job of setting us up for. I felt more attached as a whole to what Joe Abercrombie was writing. This series is really shaping up to be a favorite of mine. The dark/gritty fantasy is nice to read compared to all of the other fantasy that is being churned out. (Not that I don’t like it – I just like this better)

I can only hope that the last book in the trilogy keeps up and delivers. I am excited to start reading it and hopefully I find the time to read it as quick as I want to.

“Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us.”

“Say one thing for Logen Ninefingers, say he’s a lover.”

Buy the book here! – Before They Are Hanged (The First Law)


31 comments on “Before They Are Hanged

  1. Book-Wyrm says:

    I really like how the book kind of twisted the usual fantasy quest story around with everyone just kind of being generally dissatisfied at the end of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TrueWonderer says:

    I absolutely love the first law series, this was the epitome of Dark fantasy for me, Glotka’s cynical humor and logen’s complicated bruteness is so bloody enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life of Chaz says:

      Do you have any other dark fantasy recommendations?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TrueWonderer says:

        The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence and The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook, are both pretty decent series, gritty and edgy, less humorous than the first law though.


      2. “Gleam” by Tom Fletcher(not only very dark also very dystopian )but a very good read.


  3. Yoly says:

    Nice book review. You are very detailed

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amber Loney says:

    I’ve been meaning to give Abercrombie a try. Maybe I’ll add this trilogy to my to read list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. chocobosage says:

    Love this trilogy and this book is probably my favourite one. Mostly for Glokta and his story in defending a city. But also the travelling band of misfits, Bayaz, Ferro, Logen and Jezal.
    Evem West and the northerners were awesome, not one weak link in this book. Where as i found The blade itself to have some dull moments and all build up.
    The final book is also great but maybe nit as great as this one. Not disappointing, but maybe unable to improve in this one. 😉
    I need to read the other books in this world now


  6. couchmagpie says:

    Sorry this totally off topic, but I just read your ‘About’ page (intending to leave a note to say thanks for visiting my blog) and have to say well done on being crystal clear on what to expect. I wish I could be this focused. When I finish a book I tend to want to just jump into the next one and as a result my ‘reviews’ on are pretty terrible most of the time. However, I will read any book to the end no matter how awful – because you learn how not to write badly by doing so. That said I did recently read about ten pages of “Bullseye” by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge and then bin it off. There’s bad and there’s tripe…


  7. Lady Luna says:

    Great review chaz, I saw your comment asking for more grimdark recs. Add me on goodreads and I’ll send you some 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We’re all allowed a little lazyness now and then 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrea Frazer says:

    I’m with Yoli – nice book review. Very detailed! And I have a question for you. If someone follows you, how are you able to click on their blog? Example, you followed me on Thank you! I see you listed with 55 other people. But I couldn’t just “click” and find you. I had to google you. Is there an easier way? I’d love to start reading more of the people who are reading me. You know, the whole “let’s not be a narcissist and get our head out of the sand” things we do as we adult. Andrea. Again, nice review!


  10. I love your review, I need to read this series!


  11. Delemoor says:

    Nice Review. It’s one of my favorites of all time!


  12. I really liked the whole series, and got on a grimdark kick after I finished it. The story is so brutal and so entertaining. Great review.


  13. Plot Monster says:

    Is this the 2nd book? What is the name of the 1st?


  14. That review makes me want to read the first one. What’s the title good man?


    1. Life of Chaz says:

      The first one is “The Blade Itself”


  15. it’s so funny that i stumbled on to this blog at this time. my husband LOVES the first law trilogy, and he also enjoyed “the slow regard of silent things.” great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Bookstooge says:

    No new posts for almost 3 months. You going to start this blog again or should I consider it “on leave”?


    1. Life of Chaz says:

      Yeah I’ve took bit of a break. I’m planning on posting soon, just gotta get back into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m definitely going to have to look into this… After I finish reading It haha I’ve been a little lazy with my reading lately as well


  18. Sounds like an interesting read! Lately I am drawn towards fantasy novels, may be I should check this out! Thanks for the review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Don Maker says:

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. Cheers.


  20. Loved the review. It makes me want to read the book now.


  21. soniayy says:

    Have you ever read Half a King by Joe Abercrombie? Very interesting, with several plot twists.


  22. Thanks for the review and that’s a great quote, “Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us.” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Avery Mann says:

    I think I have pretty much every book Abercrombie has written. It is a great escape even though it is fantasy that is real and dark–after-all, he admits to have been influenced by George R.R. Martin.


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