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[personal profile] alithea
I'm glad I persevered with Joe Abercrombie books despite being in two minds by the end of the First Law trilogy because I finished reading 'The Heroes' the other night and it's his best book yet. An anti-war war novel with engaging, incredibly human characters. And best of all, he has strong female characters who have agency and achieve things in different ways according to their strengths and he doesn't resort to sexual violence to make his point that the world is a grim place. I'm not quite sure what the world of mainstream fantasy fiction has come to when I feel the need to celebrate an author for writing dark fantasy without raping anyone but maybe I'm just sick of people defending GRRM with endless excuses about historical realism.

Date: 2014-07-17 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erindubitably.livejournal.com
I got a couple chapters into one of his books and gave up because it was so relentlessly dark and not one female character had been introduced.

*looks it up*

Yeah, it was the first book of the First law trilogy. Maybe I should skip that and read the other one instead.

Date: 2014-07-17 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alitheapipkin.livejournal.com
Yeah, the amount of torture in the first one is pretty grim. The 2nd of the trilogy is my favourite of that set but I do prefer the more recent ones by some way to the original trilogy. There still aren't that many female characters though, I shouldn't get your hopes up too much, and they are still very dark, just not full of rape. They are probably still something of an acquired taste - if you couldn't get through the first one at all, I'm not sure they'll have changed enough for you to actually enjoy the later ones. I wouldn't exactly hold him up as a paragon of feminist writing, I just think he's doing a lot better than some people and putting a lie to the idea you can't have grim 'realistic' fantasy without rape.

Date: 2014-07-20 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alitheapipkin.livejournal.com
Actually, thinking about this some more - try Best Served Cold that has a female main character and is what Kev describes as Abercrombie's 'Dumas' novel - a revenge tale with a twist. If you still can't get on with that then I don't think you'll enjoy any of them. I probably enjoyed The Heroes more but I'm not sure it'll work so well as a starter because a lot of the characters in it are recurring from the earlier novels.

I'm reading Red Country now and his female character tally is improving :)

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