200 Words or Less

200 Words or Less: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law #2) by Joe Abercrombie


Welcome to 200 Words or Less, a weekly Friday feature here on The Tattooed Book Geek where I will bring to you reviews/thoughts of 200 words or less from the books I read before I started blogging. We all have them, books that we read and loved or even read and hated before we decided to start blogging and what better way than a quick fire review of 200 words or less to share your thoughts on them.

My Choice:


Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law Trilogy Book 2) by Joe Abercrombie.

The first book introduced us to the setting and characters, with the second Abercrombie ramps up the action, expands the history of the world and widens the story as he picks up the various story-lines started in The Blade Itself.

The story continues taking place over three areas, in the North the Union Army is ready to battle the forces of Beothod. In the South, Dagoska is under siege from the Gurkish. And, in the West, Bayaz, Logen, Jezel and Ferro are still journeying to the edge of the world in search of a magical artifact of immense power.

Great characterisation, not all characters are black and white in their morality and as Abercrombie continues to develop his characterisation we get to see extra layers added in unexpected ways.

I can’t fault this book, it’s a tremendous continuation of the story started in The Blade Itself.

Abercrombie continues to be a master of the gallows humour that is prevalent throughout the book and the series, also add in decent pacing, brutal and visceral fight scenes and you have another top dark read that improves on everything from the previous book.

Quotes from Before They Are Hanged:

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”

“Honour, eh? What the hell is that anyway? Every man thinks it’s something different. You can’t drink it. You can’t fuck it. The more of it you have the less good it does you, and if you’ve got none at all you don’t miss it.”

“People love to see death. It reminds them that however mean, however low, however horrible their lives become… at least they have one.”

“Those with the least always lose the most in war.”

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23 thoughts on “200 Words or Less: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law #2) by Joe Abercrombie

    1. Do it Lizzy! Do it! The First Law trilogy is awesome. He even makes stairs funny and Glokta’s never ending battle with them!😂 Great characters, writing, it really is a quality trilogy. I know you like Mark Lawrence so you should love Abercrombie to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brilliant… you’re totally twisting my arm here but I cant resist 😀 haha.. yep, adding Abercrombie to the priority to be read next 🙂 Cheers Drew… I have no doubt you’re right and I’ll love the series 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s the real cover, Abercrombie has some awesome covers especially for the UK releases of his books. You like The Greatcoats and if you like The Name of the Wind to then picking up an Abercrombie book (The Blade Itself is the first one) if you can find one cheap, borrow one or get one from a library might be an idea as there’s lots to like in his work.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Not that I have any doubt in Abercrombie at this point, but always love hearing readers state that the second takes the first and expands or improves it. Key with a series. This will be my starting point with this author. Well the first book obviously haha 😉

    “We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.” – Hell Yeah haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. when i had read ‘before they are hanged’ I was really worried , since it seemed at that point that a lot of questions were generated and I feared the third book won’t be able to answer all those questions , but well the third book blew my mind and this was just my favorite book because above any other character this book showed how awesome Glokta is , even if he never actually goes into the fight himself. Also this was the book that really made me focus on Collem West

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s true for quite a few second books in a trilogy, the first serves as an introduction to the world, characters and story and then the second moves the story forward asking lots of questions leaving them open to answer in the third and final part of the trilogy.

      True, he doesn’t fight but he doesn’t need to, Glokta is just awesome.😀

      Liked by 1 person

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