Book Reviews

Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of The First Law (First Law Stories Collection) by Joe Abercrombie

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List Price: £5.99


Kindle Edition: 384 Pages.

Published: 26 April 2016 by Gollancz



The Union army may be full of bastards, but there's only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.
Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There's only one obstacle left - his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue's gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

A great introduction, or return, to the world of the First Law

All these stories are set in the same world as the author's First Law books. If you are already a fan of those books then you will love these stories (apparently some of them have been published in other anthologies - I've not come across any of them before but some readers may already have some of them in other collections). If you aren't already a fan then these stories can serve as an introduction to this author's work although you won't have the pleasure that the experienced Abercrombie reader does of meeting some existing characters again and seeing a new light shone on them.

The First Law world is a grim one. War and brutality are rife and, as in all universes, the innocent suffer. These stories are about those ordinary people, neither good nor bad, who become involved in events outside their control. Some are funny, some are very sad but all of them are beautifully written - there's not a weak story in this collection. These people are in the army, mercenaries, thieves or just onlookers and they make decisions based on trying to survive in difficult circumstances - their choices are rarely about morality but about survival and they aren't always good decisions ! Some of the stories link peripherally into the First Law books but my favourites were about a thief/inn keeper and her partner which are spread throughout the book - these are funny but sad too.

I found that the best way to read these stories was one at a time over a week or so. I then came to each one fresh and wasn't completely overcome by the gory and unrelentingly grim world that the author has created - I sometimes find that his novels have to be read in short chunks for the same reason. The stories are of varying length but none is very short and none very long. You do get a nice number in the book and there is lots of enjoyable reading here.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley

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