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Chapter by Chapter

A Dark and Gritty Industrial Revolution

A Little hatred

by joe abercrombie

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“When one man knowingly kills another, they call it murder! When society causes the deaths of thousands, they shrug and call it a fact of life”― 

Joe Abercrombiea little hatred


The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another…

My Thoughts

I am relatively new to the worship of the Lord of Grimdark, Joe Abercrombie. Previously I had read The First Law series and found his work to be completely enthralling. His characters always teeter on that fine edge between good and evil.

a little hatredWe like them enough that we don’t want them to be offed, but we are always a bit unsure. This unsteadiness with characters is right at the heart of why grimdark is such a powerful genre. Good, bad, or every gray shade in between, you know when reading a grimdark book, you are in for a wild ride. That ride might not be fun; you might get knocked out of the train and run over a few times, but fantastic nonetheless.

The wiser a man is, the more he stands ready to be educated.

A Little Hatred starts roughly 30 years after the last book of the Last Argument of Kings. Angland is in the midst of an industrial revolution. The city is coughing on the soot from chimneys, the river runs thick with dye chemicals, and the poor get poorer, and the rich get richer. The divide between the two is getting ever wider. The city is under multiple threats, both foreign and domestic. The Breakers, who are tired of the rot of the ownership and working conditions, cause a union uprising that halts production and manufacturing in the large-scale factories. It is a powder keg of individualistic interests. Some honest pay for honest work. Other’s want to stay in their luxury at the expense of workers’ rights. In the middle of all this upheaval is a collection of gritty characters and fighting to control their piece of the pie. Savine dan Glotka, a businesswoman caught in the middle of the turmoil. Rikke, the Dogman’s daughter, and her slow creeping madness caused by The Long Eye. Gunnar, a bespectacled fighter who might be one of the best characters I have ever read.

Some of these names might seem somewhat familiar to those readers who have read  The First Law series. Some of the characters are entirely new. But what is the same is Abercrombie’s ability to create characters that stick with you. You will always want to know more, and by the end of this book, you will be highly invested and clamoring to jump into the second and very soon the third book when it is released. There is a reason why he is called Lord of Grimdark…

Along with reading this fantastic book, Gollancz contacted me and 13 other sites to be a part of a read-a-long. Of course, yes. A million times, yes.

Read-A-long Chapters

hopes and hatreds

Hope and Hatreds starts off with three men, Jurand, Glaward, and Whitewater, discussing packing a man named Barniva in a box full of salt.  There is quite a lot of bloviating between the three of them. There is a fourth man in the conversation Leo. But unlike the first three, he lacks the braggadocio of them and is more reserved and angry at them as he needs to concentrate.  The men go on to discuss the “correct” weapon to use in a fight and Leo replies, “”You’re all missing the point…you take a weapon, but you never know if you’ll fight with it, or hand it to your opponent and fight with whatever he brings. What you need s something you can use but the other bastard can’t.”” In response, the mood changes and they ask if Leo is is talking to her. “Her” being his expert tactician mother.

We come to find out that the discussion is about Leo’s single hand combat with Stour Nightfall. The three men offer more and more useless ideas about what weapons to use, while leo sinks slowly into fear. Rikke walks up claiming that she should, “whip the lot of them.” Leo notices how much she centers him and sees to the heart of things. She tells him to fight heard and dirty and to remember who he is, The Young Lion and how she has seen the lion beat the wolf with her long eye.

The begin the fight, and it is decided that it is the Lion’s pick on what to fight with, the Lion gives the pick back to his opponent. It is decided to fight with what the weapons are that they came with.

where names are made

This chapter is a long detailed and dirty fight between The Young Lion and Stour. They go back and forth, and for much of the chapter, Stour had the upper hand. But ultimately, Leo begins to fight extremely dirty and instead of killing Stour as the audience chants at him, he decides to spare Stours’s life and promptly passes out.

the poor pay the price

The Poor Pay the Price is a conversation between Malmer, Broad, Heron where they discuss the terms set in their previous bargain. Full pardon’s, but at what cost? later in the chapter it describes the events of the evening with the “wary queue of the filthy, hungry, and dispossessed” filing out to meet lines of smiling women carrying loaves of bread. Food and their bellies and the poor “froathing ” at the thought of the prince. Broad was just happy to see his family fed. This chapter also touches on the great disparity between the poor at the rich. Especially, when Savine steps from the queue and declares whom she is. Broad hissed out at May, did you know about this? “Course I did. I arranged it.” “It’s high time someone put this family first.”

the new woman

This chapter is about the reuniting of Orso and Savine and how different Savine is now that she has tasted extreme poverty and come out, barely alive. She is unsure of herself. It is all bumbling outfits, and broken buttons as the two of them embrace.

lost causes

Valmer and Vick are talking. This time Valmer is the prisoner and Vick is surprised by her appearance as one of his jailers. We learn some surprising backstory on Vick. Vick remembers a moment in the camps when a convict went through the ice and two others slid on their bellies to try and save him, they two also died. If you want to survive you better get a good sense for lost causes.

the new man

This chapter starts with Orso awaking with a start thinking that he had dreamt the past evening, only to find that he was next to Savine. His cheerful mood quickly turns sour as he sees that Malmer, the man he promised amnesty to for the Breakers. It was all for naught. The power that he thought he had was an illusion.

two of a kind

Leo and his mother are chatting about the recent fight. Leo is sore and scarred from it. Rikke is displeased as she believed that Nightfall should have died instead of been given mercy. Leo later goes to see Stour Nightfall, he does not gloat. He asks that as a life debt to Leo that Stour be his friend instead of his servant. You cannot have a wolf for a pet. Stour reminds Leo of the kind of man he is and decided that the two of them are pretty alike after all.

empty chests

This chapter is a conversation between Rikke and Leo where they discuss the outcome of the fight. Later Rikke goes and has a conversation with her father.

like rain

Savine returns home with Broad and family in two. Broad remarks at the delivery of the waitstaff. Savine meets up with Zuri, and Savine is genuinely glad she sees her. This takes Zuri aback a moment. Savine introduces Haroon and Rabik. Savine leaves the company to go have a bath, and leaves Zuri with the Broads. May speaks up for the family and explains who they are and how they kept Savine alive. Zuri asks the Broads what they can do in the service to Savine. Zuri asks Broad what he did. ” I was in the army…for awhile.” “You have seen action?” She replies. “Some in Styria.” But “nothing that would be useful in a lady’s service.” “You might be surprised.” She responds. This leads me to believe that we are going to see some exciting interactions between Lady Savine, Zuri and Broad in the future.

Check Out My Other Reviews

Review – Battle Ground by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #17)

Review – The Ikessar Falcon by K.S Villoso

Beth Tabler

Elizabeth Tabler runs Beforewegoblog and is constantly immersed in fantasy stories. She was at one time an architect but divides her time now between her family in Portland, Oregon, and as many book worlds as she can get her hands on. She is also a huge fan of Self Published fantasy and is on Team Qwillery as a judge for SPFBO5. You will find her with a coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. Find her on: Goodreads / Instagram / Pinterest  / Twitter

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