A Little Hatred Review
Four Solid Stars
Expectations are a funny thing. From authors with a track record of utter success, who resonate with you on multiple levels, you simply set your expectations higher than they should be. Higher than you set for other authors, and you expect the world. It's no surprise, then, that you end up being a little let down from time to time. Just a little, though.
A Little Hatred would probably be closer to a 5 star for another author, but the weight of what came before somewhat overwhelms it. Not a single character in this book compares to the helpless complexity of Glotka, or the sick-to-change-himself Logen Ninefingers. For much of the story, the characters felt more predictable, like more of the same side characters from the past books. The various revelations (like the impact of the banking industry, or the main character relationships that you already knew about, if you were paying attention in Book 3) feel heavy-handed, and the grimdarkness is somewhat shoved down your throat (hundreds or thousands of words are dedicated to pollution). A Little Hatred just feels less original than The First Law.
Honestly, I feel like a lot of it was me and my relentless comparisons. A better man would have read this as an independent work.
That said, a four star Abercrombie book is better than most dross out there. I love the world. I love the change into the industrial setting. I love that the world still has that hopeless and dirty feel that Abercrombie is known for. I like most of the characters, and I want to grow to love them. I think the biggest limiting factor was there was about 7-8 povs by 20% into the book, versus the deeper dives from the first trilogy. The story itself was fairly standard fantasy fare, but it was still well done. I'll likely never get bored of the wars in the north, which were a highlight for me.
I'll be honest in that I want more Glotka. I'm stuck in nostalgia mode, here. I would LOVE the inevitable cameo of Logan Ninefingers, even if he is in his 60s. He'll still be badass. But, I also want to love the new characters as much, and will desperately be awaiting book 2 in anticipation of just that. Before they Were Hanged was a slow start that reasonated with me, and I have a feeling that Age of Madness will go in the same direction. Abercrombie is just too damn good.