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  • Writer's pictureJesse Sacdaddy Shinn

Before They Are Hanged - The Shrek 2 of Fantasy Book Sequels

Before They Are Hanged is the second installment in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. This book is just as compelling as the first installment. The Blade Itself was not a fluke, and Before They are Hanged proves this. Abercrombie comes out of the gate adding 3 more PoV characters to flesh out different events that occur through the story. We get Dogman, Ferro, and West.

Joe decided for us that we didn’t have enough, and he was right. The world takes different shapes when looked at from each of these PoV’s. There is no muddy water where some characters blend. Each is individual, distinct, and drives the reader further onward with every page.

This book is much like the first in the sense that the plot is not what drives the reader forward, it again is the characters. While there is far more plot development within this novel, we as readers are still waiting for the real developments. There is plenty to learn about the world lore wise, and on a second re-read you will discover an absurd amount of foreshadowing you can’t believe you missed.

Be glad that this series is completed at this point in time because the ending to this book feels like a huge narrative setback and the reader wonders to him/herself, “What the fuck just didn’t happen.” Because Last Argument of Kings is currently out you won’t have to sit in anxiety about how the story could possibly continue.

The character development in this novel is turned up. We get to see Jezal evolve and your feelings for the character will most likely take a 180. The big boy begins to grow up on this journey. We get to discover through each character's eyes how camaraderie is formed, and why we love each character only grows stronger.

This book is the Shrek 2 of sequels. It improves upon the first in just about every possible way. Absolutely continue with The First Law.

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