Внезапни завършеци (Светът на първия закон, #7) By Joe Abercrombie

13 истории от света на Първия закон:

Красив негодник - Ще оправдае ли полковник Глокта репутацията си на най-изтъкнат фехтовач и фукльо в Съюза?

Малки добрини - Шеведая, най-добрият крадец в Уестпорт, е решила да загърби престъпленията, но една неочаквана среща ще обърка плановете й.

Идиотска задача - Колко трудно може да бъде да задигнеш нещо от Лисичия клан, когато се казваш Гушата и разполагаш с банда първокласни главорези?

Омитане от града - Крадлата Шеведая и жената-воин Джавра се забъркват в нови неприятности.

Ад - Когато гуркулските войници обсаждат Дагоска, настава същински ад.

Двама са малко – Докато пресичат тесен мост над дълбока пропаст, Шеведая и Джавра се сблъскват с Уирън Перкото и огромния му меч. Една среща, която ще завърши крайно неочаквано.

На неподходящо място в неподходящ момент - Битките не са чак толкова лоши. Стига да си на страната на херцогиня Муркато, по-известна като Касапина на Каприл.

И това ми било разбойничка - „Шай се изправи, цялата в рани и синини, и изплю насъбралия се в устата й пясък. През последните месеци се беше нагълтала с достатъчно пясък и имаше мрачното предчувствие, че този няма да е последният.”

Вчера, близо до село, наречено Барден... - Северняците и южняците влизат в нова схватка. Схватка, от която ще спечели само един фермер.

Трима са много - Само глупак би откраднал нещо от най-добрата крадла в Стирия. Но понякога нещата не са такива, каквито изглеждат...

Свобода! – Или как Дружината на Милостивата ръка, под командването на Никомо Коска, освободи град Ейвърсток от бунтовническата заплаха.

Трудни времена настанаха - Всичко, което Карколф иска, е да достави една пратка невредима. Но над град Сипани се е спуснала мъгла, а в мъглата дебнат крадливи копелета...

Да създадеш чудовище - Бетод е уморен от продължителната война и мечтае за мир с Гърмящия. Има само един проблем - най-добрият му воин, Деветопръстия, е пристрастен към мириса на кръв. И не дава пет пари за някакъв си мир. Внезапни завършеци (Светът на първия закон, #7)


Joe Abercrombie ↠ 6 review

3.5/5 Stars

Sharp Ends, the ultimate collection of tales from The First Law World by Joe Abercrombie, is a great dessert to provide insights and background for most of the previously established characters in the past six novels.

Picture: My complete collection of Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law World

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of short stories. Whether the short story is on its own or compiled into a collection, I will almost always prefer reading novels. However, there’s simply no way I’m missing any stories in The First Law World. The First Law World is one of my favorite series of all time, especially The First Law Trilogy which sparked my love for reading grimdark fantasy novels.

And unlike most collections of short stories, there seems to be a sense of continuity structure in Sharp Ends that enhanced my reading experience. The separate stories were told in chronological order, and in the center of Sharp Ends, a superb female duo that goes by the name of Javre and Shev made their appearances several times as if they were the main characters of this collection.

Picture: Sharp Ends by Raymond Swanland

Below is my mini spoiler-free review on each story contained in this collection.

A Beautiful Bastard (Kadir, Spring 566, nine years before the events in The Blade Itself): 4.5/5 stars

Told from Salem Lew’s POV, this was a wonderful short story to start off the collection by letting us see a glimpse of Sand dan Glokta’s life before he became the crippled torturer we know. Some other characters from the series also appeared here in their much younger days. West, Tunny, and Valimir specifically. I am ranking this as the second best short story in this collection. I mean, come on... it’s Sand dan Glokta's younger days! It's our beloved torturer here!

Small Kindnesses (Westport, Autumn 573, two years before the events in The Blade Itself): 4/5 Stars

Small Kindnesses is the first short story in the collection depicting the encounter between Javre, the Lioness of Hoskopp, and Shevedieh, the thief who tries to find redemption. This is the beginning of the duo I mentioned earlier, and it's very well written and fun to read.

“Kindness always brings kindness in the long run.”

Picture: Small Kindnesses by Raymond Swanland

The Fool Jobs (East of the Crinna, Autumn 574, one year before the events in The Blade Itself): 3/5 stars

A decent short story in a day of Curnden Craw, one of the main characters from The Heroes. Together with his crew, Curnden Craw has been sent on a mission to recover a ‘thing.' It is good to see the faces of Craw and his crew once again here, but there is nothing too memorable about the story itself.

Skipping Town (The Near Country, Summer 575, same year with the events in The Blade Itself): 3/5 stars

Skipping Town is the second story featuring the female duo, Javre and Shev, on another day of bad luck and disaster. Like the first short story, it was entertaining to read and filled with actions. However, I did find the story way too short for my liking.

Hell (Dagoska, Spring 576, same year with the events in Before They Are Hanged): 3.5/5 stars

I seriously didn’t expect to see Temple, one of the main characters in Red Country, in this story. Hell is a short story that takes place during the time of the events told in Before They Are Hanged, specifically on the siege of Dagoska. It was a great addition to Temple’s character to see how hellish the siege was through his POV back when he was young.

Picture: Hell by Raymond Swanland

Two’s Company (Somewhere in the North, Summer 576, same year with the events in Before They Are Hanged): 4/5 stars

Two's Company is the third story in the collection that features the female duo again. One of the better short stories in Sharp Ends. It was hilarious, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the duo's encounter with Cracknut Whirrun, which you will know if you have read The Heroes.

Picture: Two’s Company by Tommy Arnold

Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Styria, 580, same year with the events in Best Served Cold): 3.5/5 stars

Looking at the repercussion of Monza’s vengeance in Styria through the perspective of three random people was a nice touch; the highlight, of course, is to see a bit more of Bremer dan Gorst here.

Some Desperado (The Near Country, Summer 584, same year with the events in The Heroes): 1.5/5 stars

Meh.. just meh. I am already not a fan of Western stories. And Shy South, the most boring main character that Abercrombie has ever created has returned as the main character here. I sincerely hope in the future Abercrombie doesn’t visit this setting or characters on the Western side anymore. Unless, of course, the story is something to do with Lamb.

Yesterday (Near Barden, Autumn 584, same year with the events in The Heroes): 3.5/5 stars

Taking place closely before the war happened in The Heroes, and in a way that is similar to it, Abercrombie did a great job in showing the merciless effect of war on both sides. Also, we have more insight into Gorst’s personality, which is always a plus in my book.

Three’s a Crowd (Talins, Autumn 587, three years after the events in The Heroes): 4/5 stars

The fourth story in Sharp Ends with the duo of Javre and Shev as the main characters. This time, the narrative took a different approach from their previous stories. The previous three stories were all hilarious and fun to read, but here we finally get the emotional factors. Abercrombie showcased the duo’s feelings after their journey together over the past 14 years. Also, this story can be said as a little epilogue to Best Served Cold, and we get to see some of the familiar faces from the stand-alone trilogies making an appearance here.

Freedom (Averstock, Summer 590, same years with the events in Red Country): 3/5 stars

Abercrombie's prose remains great as always, and I enjoyed reading the experimentation in the storytelling direction. However, I did not care too much about the plot, which is basically a retelling of Averstock liberation in propaganda and exaggeration about Nicomo Cosca.

Picture: Freedom by Raymond Swanland

Tough Times All Over (Sipani, Spring 592, two years after the events in Red Country): 3.5/5 stars

Chronologically, this is the farthest story in the Tales from The First Law world. This is the fifth and also the last story featuring the main duo of Sharp Ends. The story takes place two years after the end of Red Country in Sipani. It contained a beautiful flow to the narrative imbued with Abercrombie's trademark consecutive shifting point of view, but I felt it's also a bit anticlimactic end to Javre and Shev's story.

Made a Monster (Carleon, Summer 570, five years before the events in The Blade Itself): 5/5 stars

One of the best short stories I have read. Told from Bethod’s POV about his relationship with Logen and how he tried to gain peace. Made a Monster is an exceptional story to close Sharp Ends. In my opinion, it is definitely the best title out of the collection. It is thrilling, bittersweet, and gory. Lastly, plenty of the beloved catchphrases from Logen Ninefingers/The Bloody Nine also exist here. Overall, it is exactly how a short story in The First Law World should be written. Brilliant. Enough said.

“Within reach of his hand, the Bloody-Nine was master.”

Picture: Made a Monster by Raymond Swanland

Sharp Ends: 46/65 Stars

Like all collections of short stories, there will be some bad ones, good ones, and great ones. Sharp Ends is not an exception. However, it does not change the fact that this is a must-read for all fans of The First Law World and Joe Abercrombie's books. I still cannot believe that I won’t have any more books from this world to read until maybe 2019. I have read every book Abercrombie has written for the past ten years in The First Law World in less than a year. Excluding the short stories in this collection, which are not a fair comparison to the main novels, none of the other six main novels received anything less than 4 stars rating from me. Not to mention that five of them are included in my list of favorite books. Until the new trilogy surfaces, here is one last philosophical quote to end my journey so far in The First Law World.

“But it is easy to speak of the past, impossible to go there.”

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions | I also have a Booktube channel

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Andrew, Andrew W, Amanda, Annabeth, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Mike, Miracle, Nanette, Neeraja, Nicholas, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawna, Xero, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.
308 Even better than I expected. Loved meeting the old characters and find out new sides to the known events. I wish all short-stories collections were that good. 308 This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me ☕

“It is easy to speak of the past, impossible to go there.”

Best Served Cold ★★★★ 1/2
The Heroes ★★★
Red Country ★★★ 1/2
Sharp Ends ★★ 1/2

As you can see from my ratings, this is my least favorite of Abercrombie books (Including The First Law Trilogy too). I want to start this review with a disclaimer that I am not a big fan of anthologies, they just don’t work for me because those stories often end before I can even get into them. I saw reviews before reading this one that it does not add much to the story and I even considered skipping them. But I decided against it in the end because I wanted to read everything before I jump into the Age of Madness trilogy.

I am not gonna review each story individually, It was a mix of good stories and stories that I did not care about. The book introduces two main new characters -Javre & Shev- who have more than one story in the anthology and the rest are for characters we already met in the previous books. To me, Javre and Shev stories were the most interesting and I would have preferred if this book was a full novel of their own.

The writing is good because Abercrombie knows what he is doing. The more books of his I read, the more I am convinced that his high success is due to the dialogues, whether these are external or internal monologues. There is always a pinch of sarcasm among all the darkness which I like!

The characters are good as usual, I still find myself caring about some of them and less about the others. My favorite story was the one featuring Javre and Shev and Whirrun because it was hilarious!

“There’s always good men on both sides of a good fight.”

Summary: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this anthology just like I am not a fan of other anthologies, I believe I will try to evade those in the future because I have tried a bunch of those and it is always the same for me. Abercrombie is a good writer but his abilities are better shown in his full novels! I am looking forward to The Age of Madness trilogy which I will be starting prior to book 3 release!
308 This was a great collection of twisted short stories. It’s Abercrombie at his best. I’ve reviewed each one individually:

A Beautiful Bastard- 5/5- I feel like I’ve been waiting for this story for a long time. If you’ve read The First Law Trilogy then you’ll know what an ugly bastard Glockta is. He was captured by the enemy and tortured to the point of ruination. As a result, he reaps vengeance on the world, but still serves his country. This story is a glimpse of the Glockta we often hear about; it is a few pages about the man before he was destroyed, and it was delightful.

We hear what Glockta has lost, but to see it is another thing entirely. In his youth he was spectacular. He was a war-hero and a natural leader; he was man full of shinning potential:

“But Glockta was an utter bastard. A beautiful, spiteful, masterful, horrible bastard, simultaneously the best and worse man in the union. He was a tower of self-centred self-obsession. An impenetrable fortress of arrogance……

So he’s lost so much, but his ability to trudge through the mud, through the piss and shit of life, speaks a great deal about his character. This was the best story in here, and probably the best sixteen pages Abercrombie has written. Well, at least for me. This book is worth a purchase for this story alone.

Small Kindnesses- 4/5- This was a fairly good one; it focuses on a desperate thief trying to survive in this cut-throat world. She gets royally fucked over, but a kindness she did saved her life. This is no glorious deed, an act of selfless sacrifice, but a moment of pity for a fellow survivor. It comes back on her at just the right moment, and, Abercrombie again, demonstrates how brutal his characters can be. This is no fun swords and sorcery, but cold bitter grim-dark in all its gruesomeness.

The Fool Jobs- 2/5- This was very much standard fair. A few warriors engage in some banter then they go kill some people. That’s pretty much it.

Skipping Town-4/5- I’m really starting to like Javre; she’d be perfect for the bloody-nine:

“The Lioness of Hocksopp never uses the back door! “

She appeared in Small Kindnesses and this is the sequel to that story. I really enjoyed this story, a tough female warrior is being haunted by her past; she has left some ancient religious order/ warrior culture and is being hunted for her abandonment. It’s a fun read, but I can’t help but feel that this character is worthy of her own novel.

Hell- 4/5- A city under siege is a terrible place: it is hell. For Temple, Dagoska has always been his home. Now it’s a death trap. And the best thing about this story is seeing it from a fresh perspective. For those of you that don’t know, this siege happened during Before They Were Hanged and it was brutal. Only the brilliance of Glockta got them through it, and now we get to see the full effects of it on those that live there.

Two’s Company-4/5- This was funny, ironic and very, very, witty. Everything I like bout Abercrombie’s style is in this one. He makes a rivalry between two warriors, one of them Javre again, terribly humorous. He essentially repeated the same situation twice, and in doing so showed the silly nature of this world. Everyone has enemies, sometimes it’s a good idea to team up with them and kill bigger enemies.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time-3/5- A whole lot of shit has gone down during the course of Abercrombie’s novels, and this story is a glimpse of its effects on the little man. It really isn’t a good place to be for the physically weak.

Some Desperado- 4/5- This is an action packed story that is, in essence, an encounter between an outlaw and some bounty hunters. This is told from the point of view of Shy, one of the main characters of Red Country. The events of this short story appear to have happened before Red Country by her mention of Lamb as a coward, which we know is far from true. He was just holding in a demonic rage.

Yesterday Near a Village Called Barden- 3/5- This, again, showed the effects of war on the little man. And whist it did depict a few familiar characters, it didn’t have a great deal going for it.

Three’s a Crowd-3/5- You can only push someone so far, this was a severe case of poetic justice…..

Freedom- 2/5- Abercrombie clearly had fun writing this, but I sure didn’t have fun reading it. It’s the weakest one in here, but that’s just because I hate Nicoma Cosca.

Tough Times All Over- 4/5- This is a very amusing tale that doesn’t showcase one rogue but around twelve. We see a mysterious package change hands as each subsequent owner is swindled, robbed, mugged and distorted for it. This takes place in Sippani one of the cities ruled by the Snake of Talins, the protagonist of Best Served Cold. The author included a couple of familiar faces from his previous books who personify the meaning of Rogue.

Made a Monster-4/5- This was very revealing. We hear a lot about King Behtod from Logen’s perspective, we hear of a man who betrayed his most loyal dog, but we never hear the full truth of it. Logen is a mad man, there’s no other way to describe his actions. He is a blood-letter, a man made to create death. He destroys Bethod’s peace for no reason, and plunges the North back into war. If I was King, I’d want him dead too. He is too dangerous, too explosive, to have at your side. Logen is far from the victim in all of this. Bethod woke him into the bloody haze of battle-fury, but Logen’s the one who refuses to wake up from it.

^This guy (Manu Bennet) would make the perfect Bloody-nine!

This was a great reminder of Abercrombie style, this, along with the rest of the first law world books, are so much better than his recent Shattered Sea trilogy. 308 4/5

Buddy read with my lovely friend; Petrik

So my phone kinda deleted all the notes I had written down to write this review. Clearly the world hates me right now.

Also I see a lot of people starting their First Law journey with this Anthology or one of the standalones.. Why do they do this? Please read the series in order so you actually know what's going on.

I'm going to do my review a little differently then I was going to: All novellas in this book apart from Made a Monster, gets a solid rating of four stars. I really enjoyed all stories in this book, except for Hell & Some Desperado, both of them novellas were shit as fuck. Seriously they both get a 0, especially Some Desperado, I think Shy South is my most loathed female character ever... Except Monza of course, she's on her own level of hate.

My rating for Made a Monster is 100/5.
I was only here for this story and it did not disappoint. The Bloody Nine is a rude prick but his my rude prick and I love him with every inch of my black heart, like I'm prepared to carve his name into my face. (Well maybe not.. but I love him a lot) one of my ultimate fictional characters, some nights I lay awake wishing I was him. When I get into confrontations in real life I think to myself what would Logen do? The answer is simple.. He would bite someone's nose off then headbutt them until there was nothing left except a whole bunch of brain splatter and gore... I love my psychotic angel baby 😍. One day I hope to achieve my own list of bloody murders just like The Bloody Nine.

Say one thing for Logen, say he is the ultimate character that goes into berserker mode... Because you gotta be realistic about these things.

Ps. Hopefully I can find my real notes and write the actual review I wanted.
Pss. If I don't, thats cool too. I don't really care because I feel this review is sufficient enough. 308

Sharp Ends (First Law World, #7), Joe Abercrombie

Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law, and contain 13 stories, all set in the Circle of the World over a period that starts some ten years before the beginning of The Blade Itself and ends a few years after Red Country closes, featuring a rogue’s gallery of familiar and unfamiliar characters.

The table of contents:

A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: 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.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه متن اصلی: روز بیستم ماه دسامبر سال 2019 میلادی

عنوان: انتهای تیز؛ نویسنده: جو ابرکرامبی (ابرکرومبی)؛

کتاب هفتم از سری «نخستین قانون»، با عنوان «انتهای تیز»، سیزده داستان کوتاه دیگر نیز هست؛ ا. شربیانی 308 I NEED MORE GLOKTA!!!!! 308 It sure was refreshing to be back in the World of the First Law. While I didn't give all of these stories a high star rating, I have missed Abercrombie's writing style. His stories are always filled with dark humor, bloody scenes, and great characterization. I laughed out loud or cringed countless times reading this. There are a wide variety of characters. The new characters added a fresh view into this unforgiving world and the old characters made me reminisce of the books already read. I have listed a mini review of each story below. Enjoy!

A Beautiful Bastard – 3 stars

This was a glimpse at a young Colonel Glokta in his prime. Admired by women, envied by men, hated by all. The story is told by a colleague of Glokta’s in the king’s army, Salem Rews. Rews goes about describing Glokta in a very bipolar sort of way. He praises him in one sentence and then cursing him in the very next breath. Glokta is a very easy man to hate. That was true for the main trilogy and probably holds more weight for this story and the younger Glokta. Oh, and I do so love to hate truly evil characters.

“One would have thought, with all the good fortune showered upon him, he would have to be the most pleasant man alive. But Glokta was an utter bastard. A beautiful, spiteful, masterful, horrible bastard, simultaneously the best and worst man in the Union.”

Small Kindnesses – 4 stars

Shev is a retired thief who now runs a smoke house in the city of Westport. Her reputation puts her in a no win situation with the town bully and his gang, but a small kindness she displays will come back to help her in a big way.

Well written characters and great plot are what make this short story stand out. I would like to read more about Shev and what happens to her after the events of this tale.

“Cleverness, caution and plans will only get a thief so far. Then luck’s a treacherous bitch and won’t always play along, so boldness will have to take you the rest of the way.”

The Fool’s Job – 4 stars

Craw and his crew are deep in the north-country. On a job to steal an item that they have no idea what it looks like. Sound impossible? Don’t ever count them out, but don’t count it as a done deal just yet either.

This was an entertaining story with plenty of banter, humor, and bloodshed. Joe Abercrombie is a master at dialogue when it comes to character interactions. It was also fun spending time with some characters from the original trilogy like Craw and Wonderful.

“In bloody days, swords were worth more than gods. They certainly had ‘em outnumbered.”

Skipping Town – 3.5 stars

Shev and her partner Javre are coming back from a job to meet their employer at a local tavern. But if they think the job didn’t go as planned, they’re in for a big surprise. The night is about to get a lot worse.

Well, I asked for more Shev and Abercrombie did not disappoint. A little quicker than I had anticipated, but still appreciated. This shortie is a one scene, bloody, and brutal gem. Great detail in the fight scenes as usual. With some humor mixed in for fun.

“It would appear…that the scum who double-crossed us have been double-crossed by some other scum.”

Hell – 2 stars

Temple is an acolyte and unlucky enough to be in Dagoska when the Gurkish sack the city. Other than that there isn’t really much to say about this shortie. There is an encounter with the infamous Eaters, but that is very anticlimactic. Maybe this story is a prelude to another one later. We will see.

“I am powerful in ways you can only dream, yet I am still a prisoner of what I have done. I can never escape the cell I have made for myself. Things are what they are.”

Two’s Company – 3.5 stars

Another story featuring Shev and Javre. These two are starting to steal the show. In this installment we find the two ladies traveling through the North country when they cross paths with Whirrun of Bligh. What ensues is a nasty fist fight, a lot of dead people, and a pact that seems like it will last all of 5 minutes.

These two characters are the highlight of this collection of short stories so far. Abercrombie certainly makes it a point that they stand out of the crowd so far.

“The greater a man’s power swells, the smaller his good qualities shrivel.”

Wrong Place, Wrong Time – 2.5 stars

Three distinct stories about three different people. All being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They take place in a bank, a brothel, and a battle. So, you can guess my favorite of the three was the battle. The dialogue leading up to the battle and the ending was what sold me. Sometimes you discover not getting what you want can be the very thing that saves your life in the end.

“I’d rather fight a brave idiot than a clever coward. Far, far rather.”

Some Desperado – 3 stars

I got to spend time with a familiar character in this one. All of you that have read Red Country will remember Shy South. Well, she is a little down on her luck in this story. Chased into an abandoned town by her previous partners in crime, Shy has to make a final stand. She would rather go down swinging her sword than swinging from a rope.

“Takes a lifetime of hard work to make a man. Only takes a few moments to end one.”

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden – 4 stars

This was an interesting story that reminded me a little of The Heroes. The story zig zags through Multiple POV’s during a surprise raid by Northmen on the Union army. The action takes place in a farmer’s field as he and his family take cover in their house. Abercrombie weaves through multiple characters to give a panoramic view of the brutality of battle, and to show how the smallest detail can change the outcome of any battle.

I loved stories with multiple POV changes during battle or action scenes. Abercrombie excels at stuff like this, and it’s a big reason why The Heroes is probably my favorite book by him.

“It was like old Threetress always said – a sword’s a shitty thing to give a man. Shitty for him, and shitty for everyone around him.”

Three’s A Crowd – 4 stars

Shev and Javre are on a mission to rescue the woman Shev is in love with. The mission doesn’t exactly go as planned, and they are in for a big surprise at the end of their goal. Nothing is as it seems, and they soon find out their luck may have finally ran out.

It’s been fun getting to know these two characters throughout this book. I hope Abercrombie has decided to include them in his new trilogy. They are definitely characters I would enjoy reading more about.

“Better to rob the righteous,” muttered Shev as she slipped the oars silently through the rowlocks. “Evil people tend to be suspicious and vengeful.”

Freedom – 2.5 stars

An overly dramatic and embellished tale of Nicomo Cosca and his 500 soldiers rescuing the town of Averstock from rebels. The story was told in 1st person by Cosca’s servant, Spillion Sworbreck. The drama and embellishment were funny at times, but didn’t have the effect on me that was intended. I love Nicomo Cosca in the main trilogy and Best Served Cold. I believe this would have appealed more to me if it was from his POV.

“What can my unworthy pen set down upon the subject of that great heart, that good friend, that magnificent presence, accomplished lover, occasional sea captain, amateur sculptor of renown, noted connoisseur, champion short-distance swimmer and warrior poet, the famous soldier of fortune, Nicomo Cosca?”

Tough Times All Over – 4.5 stars

This was my favorite in this collection. The story takes place in Sipani and revolves around a package no less. It seems everyone in Sipani is out looking for this package, and the resulting chaos leads to some very humorous and entertaining scenarios. This has a large cast of characters for a short story. Some are familiar and others are new, but they all play a vital role to the outcome.

“Did you see two Northmen drinking on your way in?”
“I saw two Northmen. One was reading a book.”
“Really? A book?”
Friendly shrugged. “There are readers everywhere.”

Made A Monster – 4 stars

Finally, a backstory describing the events that led to Bethod and the Bloody-Nine becoming enemies. The story was told from Bethod’s POV, and it was easy to see this was the best choice. Logen had a lot harder time keeping the Bloody-Nine in check when he was younger, as compared to an older Logen in the main trilogy. I’m not sure Abercrombie could have communicated a comprehensive story from his POV.

This is the sort of short stories I was expecting when I first opened this book. It was certainly refreshing and anything with Logen Ninefingers is always going to be bloody and amusing.

“Some men will break a thing just because they can….but war is a leader’s last resort. Fight a war, you’ve lost already.”

There you have it. I don't believe there is much more I can say about the stories. But if your a fan of grimdark or Abercrombie I would strongly urge you to give this a read. I would suggest reading the main trilogy and standalone books first if you haven't already. It will greatly diminish the value of the stories if are not familiar with this world and some of the characters.

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars ***

308 I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

“The greater a man's power swells, the smaller his good qualities shrivel”

So, Sharp Ends is a compilation of short stories set in the world of the First Law by Joe Abercrombie, and he even narrates one of these stories (Freedom) in the audiobook format. Many of these are with some of our favourite characters, but from a different perspective, so that we get to view characters such as Glokta and Logen from another character's eyes.

But, we are also introduced to quite a few new figures, including the main string of stories which take place in Sharp Ends, forming about half of the stories in this collection. Whilst these were enjoyable and fleshed out more of the world, I just wanted more from characters I already knew, so that I was just hoping the story would wrap-up and I could again accompany or follow my favourites.

“His ability was exceeded only by his belief in his own ability.”

There are some stories that were good, but ones that a few months on have not really stuck with me. They were enjoyable at the time, but did not have anything particularly memorable in my opinion. And then there were a few that were absolutely BRILLIANT! The first and last story were two of these.

Sharp Ends is a very entertaining set of short stories that really flesh out the world, displaying the brutal and quirky world Joe Abercrombie has cultivated across his six previous books, and then builds on even further in his latest trilogy. If you are a fan of The First Law, you need to read this.

4.25/5 STARS 308 I remember reading one of my friends' reviews for a short story collection where they updated the review as they read each story. Seems like a cool format and I good way to keep track of each story, so here we are.

A Beautiful Bastard: 5 Stars.

Really strong short story. The malicious practice sessions led by Glokta and cheered on by his sycophants while a military campaign was conducted (poorly) in the background created a real sense of unease and tension. The characters really stole the show however as Abercrombie once again displayed his genius at characterization. It was really interesting to see the cynical cripple Glokta I had become familiar with from The First Law as he had been before his torture: a charismatic lothario, master swordsman and massive knobhead. His conducting of the bloodthirsty circus around the duels made for compelling reading. Tunny from The Heroes also had a very interesting cameo that gave an interesting look at the formation of his character. I was also extremely happy to see West make an appearance. He was one of my favourite characters in The First Law and he had a really strong turn here, especially in how his honour and integrity contrasted to dramatically to the vicious spectators at the duel and his sparring with Glokta made for some really tense scenes.

Small Kindnesses: 3.5 Stars.

Enjoyable story and Shev a funny and likeable main character. The thievery mission was pretty cool and the confrontation at the end was great. Javre, the deadly and mysterious warrior, Carcolf the charming rogue and Mason the reluctant gang enforcer stood out as really strong secondary characters.

The Fool Jobs: 3.5 Stars.

Read this one before actually. A fun read. It did a nice job of establishing Curnden Craw and his crew from The Heroes. Not really necessary as they're set up very well in that book (the prologue was awesome) but cool if you're a fan. The development of Cracknut Whirrun (who was a standout character in The Heroes) and his relationship with the rest of the band throughout the story was probably the highlight.

Skipping Town: 3 Stars

The return of Shev and Javre. Plenty of action and sharp dialogue plus some background on Javre. Didn't really add much to the collection though.

Hell: 2 Stars.

Some backstory on Temple from Red Country set amidst the events of Before They Are Hanged. Didn't much care about Temple in Red Country and didn't really care here either. Also thought the sacrifice of the priest was really wrung out for all the drama it was worth.

Two's company: 4 Stars.

Shev and Javre seem to be the thread holding this collection together with their frequent appearances. This was another fun short story that was made all the better by the appearance of none other than Cracknut Whirrun. His sparring with Javre made for some really amusing scenes, Shev provide top bantz as the narrator and there was yet more exciting action.

Wrong Place, Wrong time: 3 Stars.

This short story in this collection of short stories was itself a collection of 3 short stories. Are you still following me? Feel free to read over that sentence a few times to wrap your head around it. Anyway these stories depicted the lives of 3 average people caught in the crossfire of Monza's revenge in Best Served Cold. Had the latter portions of that book not already driven the horror's inflicted on the world by Monza's quest for revenge then this would have been a far more impactful and shocking read. As it is it is (the fuck did I just type) just an awkward, belated addition to a beautifully handled story arc (in Best Served Cold the reader gradually goes from excited that the hero is taking her revenge, to uneasy at how it is being accomplished, to horrified as the brutal realities of the situation became apparent).

Some Desperado: 3 Stars.

Backstory on Shy from Red Country. As with Temple in his story I didn't care much for the character in that book and I still don't care much here. Shy is really just another iteration of Abercrombie's beloved tough, stubborn warrior woman trope that is so jarringly inconsistent with his otherwise gritty, realistic world. Shy's best parts in Red Country revolved around her developing (or unraveling) relationship with Lamb who wasn't present here.

Yesterday, near a village called Barden: 5 Stars.

A slice of what made The Heroes one of my all-time favourite reads. Abercrombie has a genius for depicting both sides of a war in a sympathetic and engaging manner. One of my favourite characters from The Heroes, Bremer, also had a great turn here. Overall this was a brilliantly written tale that showed both sides of the build-up to a raid and told a tense, compelling story filled with stupidity, genius, cowardice, heroism and dumb luck.

Three’s a Crowd: 5 Stars.

‘Got himself demoted again,’ said Forest. ‘Over a goose and a whore, would you believe.’

‘She was worth it,’ said Tunny. ‘And the whore wasn’t bad, either.

The strongest Shev/Javre story in the collection. This one takes place much later on than the others and a lot has apparently happened in that time. The other stories following this duo were fun and exciting but lacked any real depth. This story however really delves into the relationships between Javre and Shev and Shev and Carcolf (the enigmantic con-woman who makes her return after appearing previously in the first story). We see how Shev and Javre had drifted apart over the years but how deep their ties of friendship still run. Shev's relationship with Carcolf was also brilliantly written. The last scene, where Shev comes to realize Carcolf has been lying to her and manipulating her all along, was really powerful with a great ending. Also as you saw in the quote above Tunny and friends have a brief, and hilarious camo.

Freedom!: 3 Stars.

What can my unworthy pen set down upon the subject of that great heart, that good friend, that magnificent presence, that dauntless explorer, proud statesman, peerless swordsman, accomplished lover, occasional sea captain, amateur sculptor of renown, noted connoisseur, champion short-distance swimmer and warrior poet, the famous soldier of fortune, Nicomo Cosca?

This was a short story presented as the (dramatic and flamboyant) account written by a historian of one of Nicomo Cosca's campaign. It was amusing in places, and Cosca's post script at the end provided a beautiful punch-line but the style definitely dragged, even with the short length of the piece. I'm pretty sure the events covered were actually part of Temple's story in Red Country but I've forgotten that whole section. Had I remembered it better this account might have been more interesting.

Tough Times All Over: 3 Stars.

This was a short story with an interesting concept as we followed a package through the perspective of the people who received it/stole it/killed for it in turn. However the lack of time to develop any of the characters ultimately limited the story. Shev, Jevediah and Carcolf returned but both were very disappointing. After the drama and revelation in their previous story it was jarring to see them all return almost exactly to their previous roles. I honestly had to double check that this story was chronological as it would have made far more sense before their last story. The highlight of this story was easily a quick POV from Friendly, everyone's favourite the anti-social mathematical savant and enforcer. I also liked the brief POV of the pickpocket girl. Would like to see more from her.

Made A Monster: 4 Stars.

This short story provided an insight into the relationship between Logen and Bethod. Like Wrong place, wrong time this story would have been an incredible revelation except it's central thrust (that Logen, or at least his alter-ego the Bloody Nine is actually a massive dickhead) was already covered pretty thoroughly in the last book of the trilogy. Bethod's conversation with his young sons and wife were really nicely done, they really developed Bethod as a sympathetic character while outlining his plans for the North.