“Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse”
― Joseph Brodsky
I’ve just reached the end of Before They Are Hanged, the second book in this trilogy. Overall, I really like this series, and I can’t wait to see what the finale brings!
There’s a lot to like about this series. The writing is slow-paced, which I think is a good thing. Instead of writing many fight scenes, the author really focuses on the characters – and they are all amazing and interesting. The narration is third person subjective, and we are given the story through the perspective of several characters, all of them unique. This doesn’t mean the plot is boring, not at all. There is figthing. And spirits, magic, strange creatures, torture. There’s mystery and problems to solve.
The characters are, in my opinion, the greatest asset of this book. They are unpredictable, flawed, and very real. All of them have their own story, their own personality, and very different motivations. Neither of them is perfect, but they aren’t evil either.
Logen Ninefingers is a notorious man, perceived by many as a savage – and with a good reason. And yet, there is certain kindness and innocence about him. Sometimes, he gives very good advice, which proves he’s actually quite clever.
“Doing better next time. That’s what life is.”
– Logen in Before They Are Hanged
Jezal Luthar seems like a perfect knight. But he is vain, sometimes almost stupid. And yet, strangely likeable.
Bayaz is a wizard. The most famous one. Wise, yes, and powerful, but there’s also something dark about him.
Glokta in an Inquisitor. A torturer. He grew cruel and bitter after the painful events that had made him a cripple. But he is also smart and his snarky comments are, in my opinion, the best part of the book.
“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”
– Glokta in The Blade Itself
Ferro is a wild woman whose only purpose in life is revenge. She trusts no one. She shows kindness to no one. But there’s much more to her than what meets the eye.
There are many more interesting characters in this book, all of them layered and well-developed. All with a story to tell. What more to say? This is an amazing fantasy series, and though I’m not finished reading it yet, I think I can recommend it to all fantasy lovers.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?