Title: A Little Hatred.
Series: The Age of Madness #1.
Writer(s): Joe Abercrombie.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: September 17th 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
It is a bit mad that I have never yet had the chance to pick up a Joe Abercrombie book until now. His name has echoed its way to my ears as countless readers of fantasy books have sung their praise for the man’s work since his First Law trilogy. With each release, he has successfully proven his claim to the throne and garnered a hefty amount of loyal followers who would gladly bend the knee and attest their utmost love for his work. While it might be my first foray in his glorious world, this first book of his Age of Madness trilogy turned out to be one of the most enthralling reads that not only allowed me to get a substantial dose of his striking mastery of the genre but also an eye-opening revelation of the potential in the world he has expanded for his readers.
What is A Little Hatred about? At the brink of an industrial revolution where progress is in everyone’s agenda, the story follows multiple characters in their respective struggles within an uncertain and unstable world. First, comes Leo dan Brock who searches to gain the respect of the realm by charging headfirst into the battlefield, going up against the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. Second, comes Savine dan Glokta, the daughter of the most feared man in the Union, who also happens to be one of the richest ladies of the society and with a knack for business. Last, comes Rikke, daughter of the Dogman, who holds a special ability, seen either as a blessing or a curse to the perceiver, where she can take a peek into the future. Under the guidance of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, she tries to control these powers but runs into some issues throughout the process.
The most impressive and noteworthy remark that should be mentioned about Joe Abercrombie’s latest novel is his characters. Although a bit numerous, his understanding of their personas allow him to bring them to life like no other author before. They don’t simply stand out with their complexity but jump out of the pages and bring the reader to care for their outcomes, sympathize for their predicaments and root for their triumphs. These characters prompt the reader’s emotions and manipulate them into developing a brass-bound attachment. It doesn’t even matter if you know their genealogy or their history—although I won’t lie that it must be rewarding to be a die-hard fan of Joe Abercrombie’s work right now—as their actions and beliefs allow them to be charming and captivating characters. Nothing about them is black or white as they stumble in gray areas far often than not. It’s following them through adversity that makes this story so irresistible.
Then, Joe Abercrombie also delivers some of the best prose in fantasy as he somehow brilliantly infuses this grim world on the brink of an Industrial Revolution with a steady stream of witty banter. Although each character is portrayed with their own set of motives, characteristics and personality traits, they all, however, share a sense of humour that is as gold as it can get. It’s how Joe Abercrombie merges the bleak multilayered society with the quick-witted repartee that makes this book so extraordinary. If you ever wondered if the pacing ever slowed down throughout this story, think again. The amount of action interspersed into the narrative, at the heart of the conflicts that grow within this society where man is put aside for coals, furnaces, and machine, is more than enough to keep you drooling for more of this world.
A Little Hatred is a vivid, witty and stark expedition into a grim industrial fantasy world where mayhem meets revolution.
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a copy for review!