Overview (No Spoilers):
After finishing The First Law trilogy last year, I found that despite thoroughly enjoying the books as a whole, I wasn’t super eager to continue with Abercrombie’s next series in that same literary world as the ending of the Last Argument Kings had been so bleak. That said, Abercrombie’s worldbuilding and distinct characters were so enjoyable I couldn’t stay away for long. After approximately a year, I was eager to start A Little Hatred, delighted to find out that it started twenty eight years after the conclusion of the Last Argument of Kings, albeit with a slew of new characters mixed in with the familiar. It wasn’t until I’d finished A Little Hatred that I realized in between the two trilogies Abercrombie had written several stand alone novels that would have been valuable to fill in the voids and key events that are referenced. I’m sure I missed nuances, backstories, and important deaths in those books. Likely I was fine bypassing the bridging novels for the story as a whole, as I could infer the important outcomes, however as someone who loves the minute details I was left with the nagging feeling I was missing out on insider information. (Correction: After reading the synopsis of the three books I skipped you should very much read them before starting this series.).
A Little Hatred takes place at the dawn of an industrial age leaving people from all classes to adjust. Savine De Glokta is taking full advantage of this time of change and making copious amounts of money in the process, regardless of who she had to trod upon for the advantage. While initially her callous, haughty demeanor failed to resonate, she quickly became one of my favorites, as the strength of her character was on full display when she fought tooth and nail for her survival upon finding herself in a most unexpected and dangerous predicament. On the other end of the social spectrum we have Gunnar Broad as he copes with the changing times and returning to civilian life after experiencing the horrors of war. The other theatre of intrigue takes place in the north where Abercrombie treats us to a full cast of colorful characters, such as the glory chasing Stour Nightfall and Leo dan Brock, who were on a deadly crash course for conflict. Rikke and Clover, along with many other vibrant individuals fill out the cast of the North, with each one making the story that much better. Abercrombie imbues each character with a unique persona and voice that I became lost in the story, enjoying the rollercoaster that is store for the reader. That said, Abercrombie is by no means easy on his cast as danger dogs their every step, with hopelessness and misery being just as prominent of an emotion as optimistic happiness.
Overall, I loved getting back into Abercrombie’s detailed worldbuilding and masterful character development in A Little Hatred as it was easy to become consumed within his storytelling regardless of the misery he concocts along the way.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Did Bayaz kill King Jezal? What would the purpose of killing him and putting Crown Prince Orso on the throne gain? Jezal had proved to be quite tractable, but I have a feeling Orso might prove difficult for Bayaz. (hopefully)
- Who is the owl in Rikka’s prophecy? “I saw a wolf eat the sun. Then a lion ate the wolf. Then a lamb ate the lion. Then an owl ate the lamb.” I found myself thinking about this prophecy over and over again throughout the read.
- Who is the head Weaver?
- Will Rikke and Leo reconcile? Will Leo be tied to Savine? I hope Leo doesn’t get addicted to the pearl dust. Perhaps Rikke and Orso will remain an item?
- Was the clan chief that Rikke saw dying actually the King of the North by his nephew? Or King Jezal? Is the Dogman ok?
- Will Gunnar Broad and his family regret helping Savine?
- Will Leo regret sparing Nightfall?
- I feel like Vick is on the cusp of leaving the Inquisition. What will push her over the edge?
- Clover’s chapters were some of my favorites. I hated that he had to kill Wonderful and it seemed like he regretted it. Will he seek revenge for having to kill his friend?
- Is there more to Zuri and her brothers than meets the eye?