It never makes a difference what we want. We pay for what we do.

I’ve just finished the original trilogy in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, and have raced on into Best Served Cold, the next volume in the cycle. Damn me, what a well put together story. It managed to pull off a fairly large scope without ever feeling spread thin, dull or irrelevant like so much other “epic” fantasy. Most importantly though, the series has great characters. None of the series protagonists are entirely likeable – in fact, many of them border on the sociopathic – but somehow Abercrombie manages to draw each one with enough integrity that you come to sympathise with them, care about them, and really want them to succeed. I also loved that there were a number of times over the course of the trilogy when I was genuinely surprised about how things played out – which is pretty rare when you’ve absorbed as many fantasy tropes as I have. Abercrombie’s First Law is richly built, brutally executed and surprisingly humane – read it.

↓ Transcript
A handsome young warrior-king sits on a throne. He has a beautiful, bright sword unsheathed across his lap. He is being crowned.
Caption: I never wanted to be king, but I was young and strong and beautiful.

Thirty years later, the same man sits in the same throne. It’s not been a kind 3 decades. A dull, rust speckled sword lies unsheathed across his lap. He is alone. There are thudding, crashing sounds from off panel.
Caption: Now I am none of those things.

From behind the old king as he stands in front of his throne, dull sword in hand. A band of soldiers have broken down the door to the throne room, and are advancing.
Caption: I never wanted to be king.