Review: A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie


Rating: 10/10

Synopsis

The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specializes in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another…

Review

Yep, that’s a solid 10/10 you can see above. Probably the last 10/10 I ever gave was the last Joe Abercrombie book I read. Oops. Therefore, I’ll start of this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Abercrombie, so please expect some bias here…

I am actually ashamed to say I only just read A Little Hatred despite it having released almost 3 years ago. Alas, this is the curse of a binge reader. I’d actually planned to only begin this trilogy once the final book was released, but after hitting a huge reading slump I needed a sure thing to get me through, and oh boy did it do that.

Say one thing for Abercrombie, he knows how to write. After spending weeks struggling to pick up a book I had had enough and started A Little Hatred. Surprisingly it took me a few pages to get into it, but once I was hooked I was HOOKED. It’s stunning what one author can produce with his mind, especially Abercrombie’s mind. I’ll actually begin with the characters as this is where I find Abercrombie shines the most. Despite creating hundreds of varied and interesting characters he still manages to create new and unique ones. A Little Hatred definitely casts some real bangers when it comes to characters. Rikke is your “typical” female character, who can see into the future, is hilarious and witty, while also being a complete badass and yet at the same time struggling with her identity. Such a generic character…right? Then we have Leo, who on the surface does seem like that generic young unintelligent warrior also has just as much to offer. Then we have Orso, heir to the throne, a drunk, womaniser and general deadbeat. However, somehow he comes of as extremely likeable despite his misgivings. We see a man who lives in the shadow of his father and an empire that is controlled by all the wrong people, a man who wants change to happen but does not know how to go about it. Lastly and by far not least we have Savine, daughter of none other than Glokta. I half expected her to be very similar to her father, but she presents a whole new set of skills, not at all less convincing. And she’s definitely one to get her way. Her character arc is absolutely phenomenal and one of the most unique and immersing I’ve ever read.

Now onto the plot. Yes it’s your usual Union versus the North type setting, which I guess would be the overarching theme. However, there are so many interesting subplots that really drive the story forward, particularly those centred around each character. On top of the ongoing war, each character is dealing with their own set of issues. The son living in his father’s shadow but wants to make a name for himself, the girl who sees things, the prince who wants a better world but isn’t sure how to go about it, a daughter of the most feared man in the Union making her own way and finally the son who has made a name for himself but struggles with the feat of keeping up that image. There’s definitely a pattern here – and this is where I think the plot really takes off – it’s time for a new world and these characters are the driving force behind that change. The age of the machine dawns…

As usual, Abercrombie’s writing is superb and hits all the right spots. He manages to consistently have that perfect mix between witty, fast paced, mesmerising and just downright interesting. Never was there a point when the writing got boring or overly descriptive. He also has a way with leaving just the right hook at the end of a chapter to keep the reader wanting to continue onto the next chapter. And damn does he hit the feels at times…

Really what can I say? If you’re a reader; READ this. If you’re fantasy reader; READ this. If you’re a grim dark reader…why HAVEN’T you read this?!

Seriously. Read it.

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