Hello Humans! Welcome back to the blog and to my stop on the blog tour for Joe Abercrombie’s The Trouble with Peace. The lovely people at Gollancz were kind enough to send me a hardback of this book a little ahead of publication and I’m here to tell you what’s what.
Potential spoiler warning for A Little Hatred ahead as we’ll be talking about the sequel – obviously – I’ll keep things spoiler-free for The Trouble with Peace.
Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion. Peace is just another kind of battlefield…Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)
Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.
For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.
The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.
The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.
One thing I will mention is that there is a pregnancy plotline in this book – in case that’s something you want to avoid. Other content warnings might include some…homophobia (though it feels much more ‘I don’t mind what he does just so long as he keeps it to himself’ which is still bad but not the worst thing I’ve read). Alongside that there are of course all the violence and graphic depictions of war that one would expect from a Grimdark book. As ever I call upon publishers to begin including content warnings in their books but in the meantime if you would like to know about anything specific please do get in touch. Not a content warning but I would also mention there is some racism in this book, it’s certainly not shown as a good thing but again may be something you’re looking to avoid so I thought I’d let you know.
On with the review:
I’m going to cheat just a little here and instead of talking about The Trouble with Peace in isolation I want to talk about this series so far as more of a unit. Because, unlike some series, you absolutely want to read both of these – and read them as close together as you can manage it. I read them back to back within the space of a couple of days and I definitely think it had an impact on my feelings about the books. I think that’s in part because pretty much every character in these books goes through a massive development arc that doesn’t necessarily end neatly at the end of book one, you need that progression from one book to the other to really feel the impact of that. Essentially I learned my lesson from disjointedly reading The First Law trilogy and now I know better.
Focussing in on The Trouble With Peace I’m struck again by how much I…is it weird to say I enjoy how Joe Abercrombie writes Grimdark? I think there’s something about the way he captures tone and setting that he can write these incredibly bleak narratives filled with truly horrible individuals but somehow you still feel like you might sit down and have a drink with these people. True I’d bring my own drink from home and make sure no-one got near me with any sharp objects but still – there’s a strange camaraderie between the reader and the characters. Comparing that to some of the other Grimdark I’ve read where it just felt as though I was getting descriptions of wounds for 500 pages it’s no contest which author I’m going to more readily read.
I loved the way that this book was written, I think it’s the transitions that this series does really well, seamlessly moving from one POV to another, including clever moments where all sorts of different perspectives line up. It makes the whole story flow so well and it also brings out that theme that war is awful for everyone on every side.
I will say that I did get a little battle-weary towards the end of this book, but that’s more a matter of personal preference than anything else, I like to have more of a balance between fight scenes and more behind the scenes moments. Thinking about it I felt a similar way about Before they are Hanged so maybe that’s more of a second book problem -we shall see when the series is done I suppose!
Overall I think this is a series well worth reading. Though I must retract previous statements I may have made to the contrary and urge you to go and read The First Law before you pick these books up. It completely changes the game.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
The Trouble with Peace is out September 15th!
Thankyou for stopping by! Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour!