I bought my first book by Joe Abercrombie by mistake. I did not mean to click the ‘buy it now’ button, but I did, and I eventually read and thoroughly enjoyed The Blade Itself – Book one of the First Law Trilogy. I went on to devour the other two books of that trilogy, then consumed the whole Shattered Sea Trilogy in a month. I was excited to learn that Abercrombie was returning to the First Law world with another trilogy – The Age of Madness. The first book of this new trilogy, A Little Hatred, was gripping and enjoyable. But this review is for book two, The Trouble with Peace.
I haven’t reviewed any other books by Abercrombie for Cannonball Read, but I would give each of them a 5-star rating. The Trouble with Peace is not Abercrombie’s strongest novel. Its pace is slower, and I found it much harder to care about the characters. I think back to book two of the Shattered Sea Trilogy, where there are only two character perspectives covering an epic tale. The Trouble with Peace has so many character perspectives I am having trouble recounting them from memory. With so many characters, there are so many events and to keep track of. For me, it was disjointed. But I also abandoned Robert Jorden’s Wheel of Time for similar issues.
With so many main characters, growth was limited. A character declaring that he’s grown doesn’t equate to actual character development. And a few of the first trilogy characters made convenient quick exits early in this book. There were alliances and betrayals, revelations, ambition, and destruction – but I didn’t find myself caring.
There were two chapters I absolutely disliked where Abercrombie chooses to use additional, new, inconsequential character’s perspectives to tell major events. There is an explosion, and we get to read and reread about from several perspectives. I really wanted to move on in the story and debated flipping past this chapter. Later in the book, we read a sequential series of events from one end of the warzone to the other during a battle. This later method worked better for Abercrombie.
When I decide to read a book by a particular author, I expect comfort from familiarity. Being distracted by Abercrombie’s new uses of character perspective and disappointed in the lack of character growth, I can only give this book 3-stars. I really hope the final book of this trilogy can wrap up all the plotlines Abercrombie has created. Sadly, The Trouble with Peace was not as enjoyable to read as I hoped it would be.