Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: Sharp Ends

Sharp Ends
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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.

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue's gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law. 

Okaaaayy, so I've read most of Joe Abercrombies books except for the First Law Trilogy, so I went in to this fully expecting to spoil myself, and I'm not really sure how much I've been spoiled to be honest...but I'm so pumped to read the First Law Trilogy now! Not that I wasn't before, but after glimpsing the world and characters I'm ready to fully dive in!

The book cover is completely gorgeous but the pages before each story have these really pretty map guys know how much I love maps! Out of all of the stories, Small Kindnesses, Skipping Town and Three's a Crowd are my favourites from the collection, I'm not going to lie! A couple like Hell and Wrong Place, Wrong Time I didn't really get as grabbed by. 

From what I understand, a fair few of these stories are backstory to various characters and such, like A Beautiful Bastard lets you see another side to Glokta, Hell and Some Desperado. We meet the worlds most dickish character in Logen. I'm probably not going to like him in the books at all. And we meet my two favourite characters of the entire short story collection. 

Shev and Javre. There's a whole host of colourful and interesting characters but I loved Shev and Javre the most and a lot of these short stories centre on them and I'm perfectly fine with that! Three's a Crowd was my ultimate favourite, although I confess to finding myself disappointed by the final Shev and Javre story in the collection. We appeared to be going in chronological order, but I'd hoped when I saw Carcolf's name in the final Shev and Javre story, that we'd see a conclusion to what happened at the end of Three's a Crowd but Tough Times All Over didn't do that. So I was a little bit disappointed. 

As usual with Abercrombie his settings are vivid and atmospheric, his characters are brilliantly written and his writing is superb. The collection is well put together, with Shev and Javre seeming to be the two characters that are the common thread. I don't usually do short story collections, but I really enjoyed this one, and it's made me even more excited to finally read the First Law Trilogy! 


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