Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sharp Ends revisits stories from the world of the First Law series. It's packed with a variety of tales from ones that have only been mentioned to some that no one knew happened. A slew of characters from The First Law series appear such as Sand dan Glokta, Curnden Craw, Whirrun of Bligh, Temple, Shy, Bremer dan Gorst, Nicomo Cosca, and many others. The book also includes varying stories about new characters Shevedieh the best thief in Styria and Javre the Lioness of Hoskopp.
The stories vary for me in quality. Some I had no interest in like Nicomo Cosca's story. That man drives me nuts. Unfortunately Joe Abercrombie clearly loves him as he's appeared in more of his First Law books than anyone. My personal favorite stories were Glokta's, Bethod's, and Shev and Javre's short story series.
Glokta's tale shows him at his peak from the eyes of Salem Rews. Glokta was very similar to Jezal dan Luthar in The Blade Itself except he had strong personal motivation. Glokta was an unbearable personality, but he was quite capable. This tale depicts the events directly prior to the battle in which Glokta was captured by the Gurkish.
Bethod's tale depicted Bethod and his thought process. I think this was the first point of view from Bethod and he's clearly an intriguing man. It was interesting to witness his absolute fear of Logen Ninefingers and truth be told it makes perfect sense. A man with a murderous split personality that takes over from time to time is a difficult man to deal with.
Shev and Javre's short story adventures were the highlight for me. The two women form an unlikely yet effective team that travels around the circle of the world. Their stories don't merely show different perspectives on events the books described, they are their own separate tales although they come across familiar characters like Shylo Vitari, Whirrun of Bligh, and Monza Murcatto. These two ladies had four of the 13 short stories in the book be completely about them. Javre was easily the more interesting of the two. She's a brute of a woman with big appetites. She seems like she'd be the perfect woman for Logen even when he's the crazy blood thirsty Bloody Nine.
Sharp Ends is a book that's truly meant for people who love the First Law world. I've enjoyed much of the First Law world, but no so much as to reread all of the books written. I imagine if I was more familiar with each book in the series that this book would have greater meaning for me.
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