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The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie [SPOILER THREAD]

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10 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

It would make sense for Leo to become a figurehead for the Breakers. He is loved by the commoners, he improved the working conditions in Angland, and it would be very easy to retroactively retell his rebellion as an attempt to replace the Closed Council by someone more favorable to the common man. But I find it hard to imagine why he would go for it.

Ah thanks.  I thought the wisdom of the crowds was the prior title.   I think Leo's reason for becoming a figurehead is survival?  If he can get it it beats rotting in prison.  

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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9 hours ago, jurble said:

currently reading, ignoring all the other posts in this thread til it's done but, I just had to run here and quote this

SHE'S DA MAKERS DAUGHTER AINT SHE

 

Just got to this point.  Eegads, it seems the Great Change isn't just a social revolution, it's some kind of attempt to open the gates of Hell and let devils like Euz back into the world?  The Bald Weaver doesn't seem like Bayaz to me, but perhaps he's another one the Magi or even that missing son of Euz.

Hard for me to see Tolomei becoming an investor.  I think this is more how the legend that Bayaz has locked someone up in the House of the Maker has seeped into popular consciousness.  If Adua falls to the revolutionaries then there maybe an attempt to open the House for real... 

I think this stuff about Euz is just to give a apocalyptic, millenarian flavor to the Revolutionaries.  For most of human history, most people thought the end times were just around the corner. 

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14 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:

Great thoughts.  I agree with almost everything so let me focus on my quibbles/reactions: 

  • The hurried and incompetent rebellion has some historic verisimilitude.  A lot of treasonous plots in English history were head-scratchingly poorly organized and doomed to fail and did - the Monmouth rebellion for example.  I think Isher and the nobles needed Leo's name and armies.  Without him, no rebellion.  I also think at this point Glokta's physical condition translated in the collective imagination as a no longer feared force in the Union.  
  • I think Glokta's method of parenting has been to make his daughter ruthlessly independent.  And her whole life has been spent in the pursuit of selfish gratification. Still, Idk about you but  I was weirded out by those moments when she was fantasizing about abandoning/killing her father.  Agree 100% about the Orso part though.  This is a man she loved who proposed to her and her half-brother to boot and she was happy to have him put to death? If Leo's rebellion succeeded she knew the whole royal family had to die. Savine is basically Cersei minus the compassion.  
  • Thanks for compiling the visions.  I think Rikke's vision about the bald weaver is a vision of Bayaz.  Bayaz is metaphorically the weaver behind the scene and obviously is very very rich.  I had also interpreted that to mean Bayaz is the Weaver but I think insofar as there is a character called the "Weaver" it's Pike.  
  • I think if we are in a French revolution scenario then these incidental differences between characters will be swept away between the ancien regime (of which all of them are members) and revolutionaries.  I think the best they can hope to do is survive. 

I think the revolt had a good chance of success.  They came close to winning, but they were up against people who were playing at the top of their game. 

Why I call it "hare-brained" is at the more fundamental level.  What was the point to it?  Some grievances, which as Orso pointed out, could have been settled by negotiation. Whatever promises they might make, the rebels cared nothing for the Smallfolk.  The rebellion was based on  a mix of personal pique, ambition, and selfishness.

And, as you say, Savine was prepared to murder her own ex-lover and half-brother. Were she not pregnant, she would deserve to hang.  "Cersei minus the compassion" sums her up.

Edited by SeanF

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Finished last night! Which may have been a mistake, since I couldn't sleep since I was thinking about the book so much.

I had some quibbles with the first half of the book, especially how quickly the conspiracy came together and some characters joined it (especially Savine), but the second half was pretty much perfect. I had guessed that Rikke was the letter sender, but Abercrombie can still surprise me, as he did with the one-two punch of Clover's betrayal of Stour (I was grinning like an idiot when that happened) and then the Weaver's identity. I was really expecting it to be Glokta, after his statement about burning the world down and his convenient withdrawal before the civil war started; I have to imagine he's involved somehow and won't spent book 3 in quiet retirement.

Pike is an interesting choice for the Weaver. It means he killed many of his own people, but I guess we can say that it was an opportunity for him to sow further discontent and undermine Orso? I do wonder why he didn't just try to arrange the  battle so that, on top of Leo being beaten, Orso died as well, leaving the Union leaderless. Though I suppose that might have been a difficult thing to pull off.

As always, Abercrombie's character work is very strong, especially in the second half. Vick shot up the list to be among my favourite characters, Rikke's development was very interesting and I enjoyed her early experimental chapters. Orso continues to be MVP. Leo works well at times, especially when he has a foil like Orso or Jappo or when he's been humbled, but I did find some of his earlier chapters a little too one note. I find the comparisons between Savine and Cersei interesting - now that I've finished the book, Savine feels like Cersei's character arc from AFFC done right. I want to like Broad more than I do, since I think it is important to have the perspective of a lower class character like him and the book loses something when he's not there, but I do agree that he's probably the flattest of the current cast.

I know recency bias is a thing, but overall, even with some of my quibbles, this is probably my favourite Abercrombie novel since Best Served Cold. It really helps that the second half of the novel is just so good, especially from Sipani onward, and that the ending is fantastic.

As to where things go from here... I could see him writing more books set in this universe, but I also can imagine that book 3 wraps most of the main stories up. I'm sure we'll get more about the Prophet and the Magi in Book 3, but it seems to me that that stuff is no longer the central focus of these books (magic has faded from the world, etc...). Abercrombie can always surprise me, so I won't bet any money on this prediction, but given his tendency towards happier(ish) endings recently, I can see book 3 ending with Bayaz finally overthrown, whichever way the Aduan revolution ends up going.

 

 

Edited by Caligula_K3

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37 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

Finished last night! Which may have been a mistake, since I couldn't sleep since I was thinking about the book so much.

I had some quibbles with the first half of the book, especially how quickly the conspiracy came together and some characters joined it (especially Savine), but the second half was pretty much perfect. I had guessed that Rikke was the letter sender, but Abercrombie can still surprise me, as he did with the one-two punch of Clover's betrayal of Stour (I was grinning like an idiot when that happened) and then the Weaver's identity. I was really expecting it to be Glokta, after his statement about burning the world down and his convenient withdrawal before the civil war started; I have to imagine he's involved somehow and won't spent book 3 in quiet retirement.

Pike is an interesting choice for the Weaver. It means he killed many of his own people, but I guess we can say that it was an opportunity for him to sow further discontent and undermine Orso? I do wonder why he didn't just try to arrange the  battle so that, on top of Leo being beaten, Orso died as well, leaving the Union leaderless. Though I suppose that might have been a difficult thing to pull off.

As always, Abercrombie's character work is very strong, especially in the second half. Vick shot up the list to be among my favourite characters, Rikke's development was very interesting and I enjoyed her early experimental chapters. Orso continues to be MVP. Leo works well at times, especially when he has a foil like Orso or Jappo or when he's been humbled, but I did find some of his earlier chapters a little too one note. I find the comparisons between Savine and Cersei interesting - now that I've finished the book, Savine feels like Cersei's character arc from AFFC done right. I want to like Broad more than I do, since I think it is important to have the perspective of a lower class character like him and the book loses something when he's not there, but I do agree that he's probably the flattest of the current cast.

I know recency bias is a thing, but overall, even with some of my quibbles, this is probably my favourite Abercrombie novel since Best Served Cold. It really helps that the second half of the novel is just so good, especially from Sipani onward, and that the ending is fantastic.

As to where things go from here... I could see him writing more books set in this universe, but I also can imagine that book 3 wraps most of the main stories up. I'm sure we'll get more about the Prophet and the Magi in Book 3, but it seems to me that that stuff is no longer the central focus of these books (magic has faded from the world, etc...). Abercrombie can always surprise me, so I won't bet any money on this prediction, but given his tendency towards happier(ish) endings recently, I can see book 3 ending with Bayaz finally overthrown, whichever way the Aduan revolution ends up going.

 

 

I expect that he did not torture Malmer when Vik left the room in A Little Hatred.  No doubt he explained to  Malmer that he and his colleagues would have to die, in order for Pike to keep his cover, He would stage the revolution in the near future.  A true revolutionary like Malmer would accept that he had to die, for the good of the cause.

I liked Cersei's arc, but it struck me that like her, Savine thinks she's far cleverer than she really is, 

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More thoughts:

I thought the Nail had a bit of characterization in the previous book and was a dick?  Or maybe I had just assumed that of him given his association with Stour. 

I don't believe we saw any visions that confirmed Rikke as sitting on the Northern throne, so I'm inclined to think that Calder might actually manage to sneak it back, especially if he has Bayaz's support still.  Moreover, of all people Calder is likely to have known the value of an heir and a spare - the mysterious boy is a second, popularly unknown son.  Though, I suppose, Calder could take the throne in his own name now.

The fact that they have steam engines pumping water out of mines and trains but their cannons are still 14-15th bombards seems a bit of a disconnect.  I don't know much about this subject, but my assumption is that the metallurgical skills necessary to make steam engines would presuppose cannons that don't banana-peel themselves?  Moreover, if you can make trains.... why does no one have guns?   Unless their metallurgy is seriously lagging their mechanical development?  

re:Savine - I think she is smarter than Cersei and nearly as smart as she thought she was.  Though, I believe she had received more help from her father in her investments than she perhaps knew.   But the incident in Valbek broke her brain and motivated some very unwise choices.   Now she's the daughter of a crippled master swordsman and married to a crippled master swordsman. 

 

Edited by jurble

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Savine absolutely went from a favorite character to one of my most loathed. I was actually really happy when Orso is having none of her shit and treats her with the absolute contempt and rage she's earned. Her "Oh poor me, I couldn't sit a fancy chair" stuff was just kinda noxious. Also, one scene I admit I liked was Sulfur just straight up murdering the revolutionaries anime-style.  I'm gonna kinda miss him when he inevitably gets his.

I'm kinda liking how much Abercrombie has me guessing on things now. From the House of the Maker comment, to Zuri transparently being a Gurkish Eater, to Vitari apparently being completely involved in Shenkt's scheming...Oh, and Shivers being all but confirmed as Jappo's father now.

I dunno, I can't help but feel Leo will have some small but pivotal role left to play, even if his days of fighting and leading are done. NGL, I despised him in A Little Hatred for just being an asshole. Here, I just hated him because he was an idiot...but that paled in comparison to how awful Savine was.

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8 minutes ago, Lightsnake said:

Savine absolutely went from a favorite character to one of my most loathed. I was actually really happy when Orso is having none of her shit and treats her with the absolute contempt and rage she's earned. Her "Oh poor me, I couldn't sit a fancy chair" stuff was just kinda noxious. Also, one scene I admit I liked was Sulfur just straight up murdering the revolutionaries anime-style.  I'm gonna kinda miss him when he inevitably gets his.

I'm kinda liking how much Abercrombie has me guessing on things now. From the House of the Maker comment, to Zuri transparently being a Gurkish Eater, to Vitari apparently being completely involved in Shenkt's scheming...Oh, and Shivers being all but confirmed as Jappo's father now.

I dunno, I can't help but feel Leo will have some small but pivotal role left to play, even if his days of fighting and leading are done. NGL, I despised him in A Little Hatred for just being an asshole. Here, I just hated him because he was an idiot...but that paled in comparison to how awful Savine was.

Savine may have a redemption arc, but it's hard to feel anything but contempt for a person who gets to be the most powerful woman in the Union, but will still facilitate a civil war (and plot her brother's murder) because it's not enough for her.

Edited by SeanF

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Yeah, at no point does Leo ever think he's gonna do anything but 'save' Orso. Oro is dead on that Leo is stupid, vain and arrogant, plus making excuses for himself.

Savine just goes to "lol Orso gotta die" way too quick. Abercromie's gotta write the redemption arc of the century for this one, but it's really hard to justify why she isn't swinging next to Isher like a day after her kid as born.

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Did I miss a key detail about Zuri? Where is it hinted or suggested strongly that she's an eater?

I think the chapter in which Savine finds out about the conspiracy is the missed opportunity. She runs through her options and concludes that joining the civil war is the only real option way too fast. Another chapter or two of development here would have been useful.

I think making Leo a bit less idiotic would have also been helpful. Although on the one hand you can cheer for their side in the civil war because you want Bayaz's system to come crumbling down, it's much harder to sympathize with the characters on Leo's side because they're all so plainly self-interested (or in Leo's case, deluded). Brint is probably the only exception there.

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Oh, she's jut a Gurkish refugee who's oddly competent, super religious who has an unnamed 'scripture teacher,' isn't around when Sulfur is, is noted as strangely strong for her size and her 'brothers' look absolutely nothing like one another....just saying I think Joe is laying it on pretty thick Zuri is one of the former Hundred Words, possibly Ishri herself.

Also, I can't really cheer for the rebels because they don't want Bayaz's system to come crumbling down. Most of the key figures in the rebellion just want to swap out one figurehead for another.

Regarding Shenkt...I'm of the belief he's THE Casamir, but 'dan Shenkt' could just be an assumed pseudonym or appropriated name he's taken. The idea that Casamir is a very common name in the Union or that an infamous assassin naming himself after the great king as a sort of 'refuge in audacity' moment...neither strike me as implausible. Especially when we know Shenkt and Vitari named their eldest son Casamir as well.

Edited by Lightsnake

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21 minutes ago, Lightsnake said:

Oh, she's jut a Gurkish refugee who's oddly competent, super religious who has an unnamed 'scripture teacher,' isn't around when Sulfur is, is noted as strangely strong for her size and her 'brothers' look absolutely nothing like one another....just saying I think Joe is laying it on pretty thick Zuri is one of the former Hundred Words, possibly Ishri herself.

Also, I can't really cheer for the rebels because they don't want Bayaz's system to come crumbling down. Most of the key figures in the rebellion just want to swap out one figurehead for another.

Regarding Shenkt...I'm of the belief he's THE Casamir, but 'dan Shenkt' could just be an assumed pseudonym or appropriated name he's taken. The idea that Casamir is a very common name in the Union or that an infamous assassin naming himself after the great king as a sort of 'refuge in audacity' moment...neither strike me as implausible. Especially when we know Shenkt and Vitari named their eldest son Casamir as well.

Haha, I somehow missed many of those things about Zuri. But when you put it all together like that...

And yeah, fair enough. The rebels weren't out to destroy Bayaz's system (though giving weapons to the Burners would do that). But they do unintentionally mess with all his carefully laid plans and systems, so it's hard not to feel a little satisfied at every scene where Sulfur says "my master will not be pleased."

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7 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

Haha, I somehow missed many of those things about Zuri. But when you put it all together like that...

And yeah, fair enough. The rebels weren't out to destroy Bayaz's system (though giving weapons to the Burners would do that). But they do unintentionally mess with all his carefully laid plans and systems, so it's hard not to feel a little satisfied at every scene where Sulfur says "my master will not be pleased."

I fear the rebels would be even worse, in power.  A bunch of awful, selfish, nobles, using Leo as a figurehead,.

Who would be better?  Plainly, not the Burners, who just love killing for the sake of it.  Perhaps Pike.  Perhaps Victarine.  Perhaps an Orso who recognises that one must change in order to preserve?  I truly don't know.

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Only finished Part IV, so trying not to peak at any of the posts. I'm enjoying the book so far even though the plot is advancing slowly. Only shocking moment so far was 

Spoiler

Caurib

I chuckled at the (modified for context) line "Make the Union great again!" And within Part IV's sad ending there was another great line similar to a famous movie line: "Tears lost in the drizzle" And so the last of Logen's band went back to the mud. I have a feeling Logen is still alive, because of course it would be poetic for him to be the last one alive. 

Edited by Corvinus85

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I fear the rebels would be even worse, in power.  A bunch of awful, selfish, nobles, using Leo as a figurehead,.

Who would be better?  Plainly, not the Burners, who just love killing for the sake of it.  Perhaps Pike.  Perhaps Victarine.  Perhaps an Orso who recognises that one must change in order to preserve?  I truly don't know.

Jappo king of the universe?

 

6 hours ago, jurble said:

More thoughts:

I thought the Nail had a bit of characterization in the previous book and was a dick?  Or maybe I had just assumed that of him given his association with Stour. 

I don't believe we saw any visions that confirmed Rikke as sitting on the Northern throne, so I'm inclined to think that Calder might actually manage to sneak it back, especially if he has Bayaz's support still.  Moreover, of all people Calder is likely to have known the value of an heir and a spare - the mysterious boy is a second, popularly unknown son.  Though, I suppose, Calder could take the throne in his own name now.

The fact that they have steam engines pumping water out of mines and trains but their cannons are still 14-15th bombards seems a bit of a disconnect.  I don't know much about this subject, but my assumption is that the metallurgical skills necessary to make steam engines would presuppose cannons that don't banana-peel themselves?  Moreover, if you can make trains.... why does no one have guns?   Unless their metallurgy is seriously lagging their mechanical development?  

re:Savine - I think she is smarter than Cersei and nearly as smart as she thought she was.  Though, I believe she had received more help from her father in her investments than she perhaps knew.   But the incident in Valbek broke her brain and motivated some very unwise choices.   Now she's the daughter of a crippled master swordsman and married to a crippled master swordsman. 

Stour is still alive although I wouldn't give even money on his survival.

I think guns exist - wasn't the incident at the demonstration a shooting? 

I think she did have PTSD but that didn't motivate her unwise choices.  It was all ambition and privilege. 

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Stour isn't the threat his dad is. His entire shtick is "Grrr I'm a badly badass."

He's crippled now, nobody's likely to ever follow him again.

Savine is just...beyond contempt at this point. Valbeck stops being an excuse when she's gleefully trying to overthrow and murder the man who saved her from it. She even tried to backstab Rikke to get Stour onboard, who had done nothing to harm her (to that point anyways). The only thing she deserves is a tiny cell and to never, ever see anyone she loves ever again. A not inconsiderate portion of this is on her.

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In his AMA on Reddit Joe said re:magic

 

Quote

Regret it? No, not at all. Magic's a big part of that first trilogy. It's just not necessarily central in the other books, and it's leaking from the world with technology coming more to the fore. Maybe that process will reverse with time, as the Circle of the World and the world below draw closer together, and the seals Euz placed upon the gates between begin to crumble...........

This might be linked to the Great Change being supernatural.  Book 3 might just randomly have Devils spilling into the world.

Sadly, that would also mean Bayaz would return to the peak of his power.  No more machines! No more debts! Everyone is a free man!  'cept Bayaz can summon tidal waves and hurricanes and iunno... shrink people and feed them to ants?

Edited by jurble

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10 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

Jappo king of the universe?

 

Stour is still alive although I wouldn't give even money on his survival.

I think guns exist - wasn't the incident at the demonstration a shooting? 

I think she did have PTSD but that didn't motivate her unwise choices.  It was all ambition and privilege. 

Jappo's a shrewd man.  He needs peace.  In fact, 35 years of warfare between the Union, Styria, and the North, have resulted in almost no changes in boundaries between them, at the cost of tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.  He guessed correctly that any deal he struck with Orso would hold, whereas Leo would be totally unreliable.  Nor did Leo help himself by making it plain he thought Jappo a degenerate.

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