Before They Are Hanged (First Law 2) by Joe Abercrombie - Book Review

Before They Are Hanged - First Law 2

Before They Are Hanged (First Law 2) by Joe Abercrombie  - Book Review

Setting out on a deadly quest with the shadows of war looming over the Union, can Bayaz’s group of misfits learn to trust each other enough to survive?

After the interesting conclusion we are left within The Blade Itself, the stakes are higher than ever. However, Before They Are Hanged departs from its predecessor in terms of pacing and story. We are still following different characters; yet we get to see more of Abercrombie’s world in this one as we leave Adua, the capital, for a bigger adventure.

The story has three sections: Bayaz’s quest with Logen, Jezal, and Ferro; Glokta’s mission to help fortify the besieged city of Dagoska against the Gurkish; and the war between the Union and the northern clans that are fighting for independence.

There is major character development for Jezal in this book, as he learns to trust Logen and be less selfish after he discovers that he is not the seasoned soldier he fancied himself to be. On the other hand, the story of the northern war allows secondary characters like Collem West to take center stage, especially through his interactions as a commander with Logen’s old group, which is now led by Three trees.

Book Details

Title: Before They Are Hanged - First Law 2
Format: Paperback
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Language : English
Publisher : Orbit
ISBN: 0316387355

As always, Glokta’s chapters remain the most entertaining, as he has to face bigger threats than he did in Adua. The battle of Dagoska, in particular, is where Abercrombie’s attention to detail and descriptive language becomes stunning.

The same applies to the battle at Dunbrec; the details of the melee seem to pop out of the pages, heightening the reader’s immersion. Although we have to jump from one location to the other in the span of a few pages, it is never confusing because the map at the beginning of the book helps orient the readers and allows them to pinpoint the characters’ exact location and the route they have to take to reach their destinations.

Overall, Before They Are Hanged avoids the typical middle book slump by portraying exquisite action, dialogue, and character development. The ending also sets the stage for an explosive final act in book 3.

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Updated 3 years ago