The first six books in the First Law series focused on a handful of individuals, sprinkling in smaller secondary character perspectives during intense battle sequences to give the impression of moving through the fray. In A Little Hatred, Abercrombie utilizes this device throughout to heart-stopping effect. The end result is a story with the gravitas of A Tale of Two Cities but with a breakneck pace that is at times overwhelming. It took this reviewer three months to get through this one where the other six took about a week each. Don’t get me wrong, A Little Hatred might be my second (or third…or fourth…Goddamn, these books are good) favorite of the series, but the experience is just so heavy. I would get through anywhere from ten to fifty pages at a time before setting it aside to process what I’d read.
Return readers will recognize main characters from previous books as they sink back into the shadows, allowing a new cast to step into the forefront. Your new favorite characters include Crown Prince Orso (son of King Jezel), Rikke (daughter of the Dogman), and Savine dan Glotka. Other characters include Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall (son of Black Calder) who have more balls than brains between them.
A Little Hatred really is Abercrombie at his best, creating intrigue with a prophecy on page one and then subverting expectations right until the end. The Trouble with Peace can’t get here fast enough for me…though if it’s anything like its predecessor it is going to take me some time to get through it. Do yourself a favor, if you have yet to board the Abercrombie train and you enjoy darker, hard-edged fantasy, dive into the Blade Itself and catch on up.