Bayaz, first of the magi, gathers a party of misfits around him for a quest to the end of the world. Among them are Logen, the barbarian looking for a better version of himself, Ferro mal Jin, the woman looking for revenge on an empire, and Jezal dan Luthar, the nobleman not looking for anything at all. In the meantime, Inquisitor Glokta is sent to an outlying Union colony to solve the murder of his predecessor, and Colonel Collem West is sent to the North, Logen’s homeland, to defend the civilised world from the unholy alliance of northmen, sorcery and Shanka that threatens to engulf the northern reaches of the Union. How they’re all connected remains to be seen…
Listened to the audiobook with Steven Pacey (whom I liked a lot).
I really felt like the first part of the trilogy was a prelude, so I am glad the story took off in the second instalment. The prose remains great and scene for scene, the book is a page turner, but as with the previous part, the plot progresses slowly once you take a step back.
I liked that Abercrombie had us spend a lot of time with Logen’s former crew in the North, which I think are some of the best characters from the series. I am also glad that Abercrombie manages to make the distant-past worldbuilding that will be necessary to understand where the overarching plot is going enjoyable, though I do have to admit that the worldbuilding itself is not mind-blowing.
Overall, a good read which sets up a lot of pegs for the final installment to knock down. You can read my review of The Last Argument of Kings to see whether I thought the conclusion to the plot was as satisfying as Abercrombie’s prose was in the first two parts.