The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
Publication date: 15 September 2020
Genre: Grimdark fantasy
Page count: 497 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler free for The Trouble with Peace, but will contain major spoilers for A Little Hatred — you can read my review of the first book here.
Welcome to my stop on the Trouble with Peace blog tour! As you all may be aware, Joe Abercrombie is one of my absolute favourite authors and a new book from him is always an event in my reading year. Given my absolute love of A Little Hatred, the first book in his new First Law series, I had sky-high expectations for its sequel — and they were unsurprisingly met.
Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield…
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.
Despite the apparent end to the war and brutality that takes place in the previous book, there’s no rest for Adua in The Trouble with Peace. Due to this simmering unrest and very shaky peace, this book is absolutely filled with political intrigue, backstabbing, and scheming behind closed doors. This is the kind of fantasy writing that I absolutely love, and The Trouble with Peace is one of the finest examples of political fantasy out there. If you’re anything like me, you’ll absolutely delight in each new plot twist and turn as schemes are uncovered.
One of the greatest strengths of Abercrombie’s writing is his cast of characters and their interactions. His dialogue is, as always, razor-sharp and often so surprisingly funny, making a grim story so incredibly compelling and making you root for people you’d hate under any other circumstance. I continue to be impressed with the way he rips up the rulebook on writing fantasy characters and fills his stories with people who defy your expectations, go against archetypes, and feel so incredibly realistic.
Savine rose in the ranks as one of my all-time favourite fantasy characters with her introduction in A Little Hatred, and she continues to be such a delightfully complex, ambitious, and layered woman — I cannot express to you how much I love her. If possible, I enjoyed her story even more in The Trouble with Peace as she became a more frequent POV character and her strong and shiny veneer crumbles as PTSD and shame consume her as the book begins. I also loved the continuation of Rikke’s plotline in the North, her ties to some of the rare magic in the world, and the continuation of her character arc — she is far different from the young woman at the beginning of the first book. I always have less interest in the male characters, but Leo dan Brock really grew on me in this story — I found his story line fascinating as a man who is in the position to bring about change, but honestly just isn’t bright or strong enough to manage it himself. The way he is pushed and pulled by various forces throughout the book was fascinating, and often so infuriating.
If you loved A Little Hatred, I guarantee you’ll also love The Trouble with Peace. Brutal, grim, and often so very compelling, The Trouble with Peace is a totally unputdownable grimdark story for your fall TBR.
Want to try The Trouble with Peace for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Trouble with Peace blog tour!