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HelenaExMachina

The First Law Re-Read Volume II - rereads are a dish best served cold

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I completely missed the tunny and glokta connection. That's a good catch and partly explains his behaviour.

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13 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

Finished the reread of Sharp Ends. :)

Things I loved:

  • The first and the last story (or, chronologically, the first two), are my favorite ones. They are very similar in the sense that both show significant defining past events from a main POV in the eyes of third party (Glokta's stand at the bridge and Logen's killing of Rattleneck's son). Really great. I wish there were more of those.
  • Shev and Jev are really fun. Carcolf too, in her own way. Some of their stories don't really have much happening in them, but the interaction between the pair always make them entertaining.
  • Giving the date for each of the stories was great. It's really helpful for chronology obsessives such as myself.

Things I disliked:

  • While I certainly liked the book, I think short stories are not Abercrombie's forte. He succeeds in presenting interesting and vivid characters, but lacks the space to make them shine. Some of the plots are very thin.
  • A few more short stories wouldn't hurt. One more with Shev and Javre wandering in a new setting such as Ghurkul or the Old Empire, perhaps, and then some more backstories for POVs that we didn't get:  Jezal entering the King's Own, Calder ordering Forley's death, Monza as a mercenary,...
  • "Three's a Crowd" was a better stopping point for Shev and Javre than "Though Times All Over", I think. This last one seems out of place to me, as it does not follow from the previous story. Also, we are left in the dark about the mysterious object that had to be stolen from a magi, only to focus in seemingly another mysterious object that a magi wants to steal.

Errors?

  • "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" places Monza's massive poisoning at Westport's bank in spring, but in Best Served Cold Friendly says it's 'the dead of winter'.
  • On "Some Desperado", dated summer 584, Shy thinks of "her stubborn little sister and brother too". Since Pit is still six on summer 590, and Shy was far from home during her outlaw days, I don't know how she could know about her little sibling's sex.
  • My Gollancz edition of Sharp Blades (I don't know if others too) shows with the title of each story, a map of the Circle of the World zoomed in to the area where the story takes place. Whoever made it has no idea of where the Near Country is, as the corresponding maps center on Suljuk and the Thousand Isles.

Random thoughts

  • Corporal Tunny's approach to soldiering and his tendency to throw himself to danger charging gallantly to battle without sparing a thought for his own safety, take a whole new meaning when we find out that he was Glokta's personal aide. It seems as if he can't help but to follow his mentor's example.
  • In "Three's a Crowd" Shev reveals to have meet both Logen ('an old Northman on the farm near Squaredeal' who recommended 'to be realistic' and that 'you can never have too many knives') and Shivers (worked with Shev and killed three Sipanese who’d been chasing her). It doesn't seem unlikely that Shev was the one who put Shivers on Logen's track.
  • In my previous reads it had escaped me that Fallow, Kurrikan's henchman in "Though Times All Over" is probably the same Fallow who took Ardee's furniture while her brother was at war. Seeing how he passed from usury to child trafficking, it doesn't seem that Ardee's punch did him much good.
  • Made a Monster' sheds a whole new light into Bayaz's claim that Bethod wouldn't be anything without him. In 570, less than 5 years before the beginning of the First Law trilogy, he already owns the two biggest cities in the North: Carleon and Uffrith. He also has already defeated the Hillmen, Shana Heartless, and Rattleneck. It doesn't seem that he really needed Bayaz's help at all.

Yes, I assumed it was the same Fallow.  I hope something really horrible happens to him. People who make others slaves should get to experience slavery.

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Ahh, Best Served Cold truly is the best Abercrombie book. "Apologize to my fucking dice!" and Shivers berating all the figures from his past in his dream for being too on the nose (including Grim's "uh") are just incredible. And I'd kind of forgotten just how loveable and hilarious Cosca is in this book, since my last memory of him before this reread was Red Country. "I am Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, and I am here for dinner."

Poor Shivers though... 

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18 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

Ahh, Best Served Cold truly is the best Abercrombie book. "Apologize to my fucking dice!" and Shivers berating all the figures from his past in his dream for being too on the nose (including Grim's "uh") are just incredible. And I'd kind of forgotten just how loveable and hilarious Cosca is in this book, since my last memory of him before this reread was Red Country. "I am Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, and I am here for dinner."

Poor Shivers though... 

I used to think the heroes was my favourite but i think it's plot/structure it excels in while BSC wins hands down in terms of POV characters

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3 hours ago, red snow said:

I used to think the heroes was my favourite but i think it's plot/structure it excels in while BSC wins hands down in terms of POV characters

I tend to agree.

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Started Red Country over the weekend and had barely any time to read it, but made some decent progress today.  Just got to the first appearance of Shivers.  Really enjoying Shy's interaction with Lamb, enjoyed the moment when he told her that he needed to follow his lead when they catch up with the three that splintered off.

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7 hours ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Started Red Country over the weekend and had barely any time to read it, but made some decent progress today.  Just got to the first appearance of Shivers.  Really enjoying Shy's interaction with Lamb, enjoyed the moment when he told her that he needed to follow his lead when they catch up with the three that splintered off.

That was a good scene.

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Finished my Red Country reread. More enjoyable second time around, loved all the cameos. Kind of sad to see how Cosca is in this. He was always a detestable bastard but in earlier books it was in a more humorous way. In this one he is despicable

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5 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Finished my Red Country reread. More enjoyable second time around, loved all the cameos. Kind of sad to see how Cosca is in this. He was always a detestable bastard but in earlier books it was in a more humorous way. In this one he is despicable

Wasn't he just?  I think Temple mentioned how he had got worse.  I don't think the earlier Cosca would have been a child murderer.

I wonder why he gave up being Duke of Visserine.  He probably decided it was too much hard work, and sold the city to Monza.

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9 hours ago, SeanF said:

Wasn't he just?  I think Temple mentioned how he had got worse.  I don't think the earlier Cosca would have been a child murderer.

I wonder why he gave up being Duke of Visserine.  He probably decided it was too much hard work, and sold the city to Monza.

I just assumed he got drunk, left on some flight of fancy and then found that someone started running the government without him. 

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On 9/10/2019 at 1:12 PM, red snow said:

I used to think the heroes was my favourite but i think it's plot/structure it excels in while BSC wins hands down in terms of POV characters

Yeah, I think The Heroes is Joe's tightest book plotwise and thematically, and marks another big jump for his writing skills. Best Served Cold definitely sags a little in the middle. But those characters... Many of them aren't exactly three dimensional (Morveer, Friendly) but they're just so fun to read about. Whereas Heroes has some great characters (Calder, Finree, and Gorst) but also a few that always fell a bit flat to me (like Northerner Trying To Do The Right Thing #7639). Both are great books without a doubt though.  

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3 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

Yeah, I think The Heroes is Joe's tightest book plotwise and thematically, and marks another big jump for his writing skills. Best Served Cold definitely sags a little in the middle. But those characters... Many of them aren't exactly three dimensional (Morveer, Friendly) but they're just so fun to read about. Whereas Heroes has some great characters (Calder, Finree, and Gorst) but also a few that always fell a bit flat to me (like Northerner Trying To Do The Right Thing #7639). Both are great books without a doubt though.  

Good point with the themes in heroes too. Joe seems to sample from various war tropes and mixes them together.

If the new books can join fun characters and tight plots we'll be in for a treat. The shattered seas books had this balance i felt

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2 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

As the new book is imminent I just did a re read of the 2 re read threads. Can you tell yesterday was a quiet day at work?

One might almost say you have a bullshit job....

 

I wonder how many of Joe’s early lots and ideas will end up on the cutting room floor and/or see no further development in the second trilogy. With increasing industrialisation and less magic there are bound to be a few at least.

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On 9/11/2019 at 9:23 PM, SeanF said:

Wasn't he just?  I think Temple mentioned how he had got worse.  I don't think the earlier Cosca would have been a child murderer.

I wonder why he gave up being Duke of Visserine.  He probably decided it was too much hard work, and sold the city to Monza.

I do not doubt pre-Temple Cosca would slit a child’s throat in a second for a gold coin or two.  Remember, he very much was in selling children into slavery-to which they’d be likely beaten, raped, and yes murdered.

He’s been a monster longer than he’s known Temple. But here’s the thing; Temple met up with Cosca when he was at a “high” point. He could impress and memorize those around him when he’s like this. The Cosca we see in Red country Joe is decaying. Not morally speaking. But in terms of prestige. He’s sickly, graying, pathetically enlisting some lickspittle writer to make up some bs stories about him him.

Though I think Temple’s change in Perspective of Cosca has more shifts in himself.

When Cosca met Temple the man was lost. Everything he’s known and loved had been stripped away and Cosca gave a youthful Temple a purpose and a sense of place.

Cosca points out how he’s massacred people before sometimes in indirect response to the Advice Temple gave.

I see Temple saying Temple reminiscing about Cosca used to being better as viewing the past with Rose tinted glasses. 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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42 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I do not doubt pre-Temple Cosca would slit a child’s throat in a second for a gold coin or two.  Remember, he very much was in selling children into slavery-to which they’d be likely beaten, raped, and yes murdered.

He’s been a monster longer than he’s known Temple. But here’s the thing; Temple met up with Cosca when he was at a “high” point. He could impress and memorize those around him when he’s like this. The Cosca we see in Red country Joe is decaying. Not morally speaking. But in terms of prestige. He’s sickly, graying, pathetically enlisting some lickspittle writer to make up some bs stories about him him.

Though I think Temple’s change in Perspective of Cosca has more shifts in himself.

When Cosca met Temple the man was lost. Everything he’s known and loved had been stripped away and Cosca gave a youthful Temple a purpose and a sense of place.

Cosca points out how he’s massacred people before sometimes in indirect response to the Advice Temple gave.

I see Temple saying Temple reminiscing about Cosca used to being better as viewing the past with Rose tinted glasses. 

On reflection, you're probably right.

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OMG I cannot wait until Tuesday.  I was going to say something a little more substantive but decided against it. 

 

How long before we can talk about spoiler stuff?  

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8 hours ago, Crazydog7 said:

OMG I cannot wait until Tuesday.  I was going to say something a little more substantive but decided against it. 

 

How long before we can talk about spoiler stuff?  

Start a spoiler thread for the book.  Have at it.

The rest of us will join in as we are able.

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Quote

'No.' Lamb smiled smiled, his teeth and his eyes and the blood streaked down his face all shining with the firelight. 'Before the dawn...' He squatted in front of Locway, so held helpless.  'In the darkness...' He gently stroked the Ghost's face, the three fingers of his left hand leaving three black smears down pale cheek.  'I'll be coming for you.'

Chills!

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