The Age of Madness 1
“When one man knowingly kills another, they call it murder! When society causes the deaths of thousands, they shrug and call it a fact of life.”
So what’s the book about?
In a world where the proverbial dagger in the back is taken literally, it is dangerous without allies. This is not only felt by the soldier Leo dan Brock, who waits for the king’s help on the bitterly contested border of Angland. Savine dan Glokta, daughter of the most hated man in the Union, must also realise on her way to the top of society that will alone does not secure power. And while new powers wreak havoc, old magic also rears its head once more when the chief’s daughter Rikke begins to discover her own magic powers with the help of a mad witch. But at what cost?
Why I wanted to read this series?
The previous First Law series from this world was able to inspire me a few years ago and is still one of my favourite series. It is not without reason that Joe Abercrombie is called Lord Grimdark, because he has really earned this title. After I read the first series in German and saw that the title A Little Hatred was translated as Magic Blades, it was immediately clear to me that I didn’t want to read this book in German 😀 Besides, the English cover is much more beautiful than the German cover and that’s why I’m even happier to have added it to my collection. And also when I read the blurb, I was pleased to see many familiar names!
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- The industrial age has been ushered in and now we live in a world where magic and machines live side by side. The machine production in the factories has won and also draws many power-hungry citizens with it. However, even if you think that machines and new inventions are used everywhere, you are wrong, because the military insists on its swords and spears, as well as axes and bows. Nevertheless, it is precisely this mix that makes this new and at the same time old world so exciting. For even if the economy has already gone a long way with technical innovations, the charm of the fantasy world remains. Moreover, these two controversies are so well connected that one thinks that this further development of the world simply has to come. Magic retreats, businesswomen and banks take its place. I found the scenario quite unspent and insanely exciting. It’s rough, it’s gritty, there’s blood flowing, as usual from Abercrombie. Part of the action takes place in a slum, many characters are in the middle of the class struggle.
- This book is riddled with dirty politics that will lead to a dirty war – and I was so looking forward to that! Be it in the Union or the North, there is fighting on all fronts. In the Union, the focus is mainly on the front of the economy. The businessmen are making a killing at the expense of the workers. And this catastrophic social situation is not only felt by the workers, for this discontent is soon felt by the entrepreneurs themselves, as the workers revolt against their bosses. We certainly know this scenario well from our history and Joe Abercrombie transfers the problems of today into his book and describes the problems from all sides. We get to know the side of the ordinary workers through Breit and Vick, but also that of the entrepreneurs through Savine dan Glokta. However, the factories are not the only problem of the Union… In the north, on the other hand, there is nothing new. Once again, the Black Calder is invading the Union. And as history repeats itself in the North, we again meet many familiar characters who witness this war.
- Joe Abercrombie knows how to write convincing female characters! And although the gender ratio is slightly in favour of the men (4:3), the best-done characters are still the women! Rikke and Savine are two women who couldn’t be more different, yet they both have many similarities. They are more complex, develop the most and have the hardest time. After all, they have to deal with more social reservations than the men. Rikke is the daughter of the Hundsman, a great warlord in the north. She is blessed – or cursed, it depends on your point of view – with the gift of the “long eye”. She sees visions of the future, unfortunately, they are not always so clear and unfortunately Rikke completely loses control of her rectum during the visions, which has earned her a slightly dubious reputation. As a young woman, she must cope with the challenges of growing up in the midst of a world ravaged by war. She struggles to find a place for herself in life while protecting those closest to her. Savine also has a famous father. Sand dan Glokta is Grand Inquisitor to the King and probably the most feared man in the Empire. At home in the most select circles, she spends her days as a shrewd investor who puts profit above all else. Beautiful, clever and ruthless, she believes herself invincible. Until she gets caught in the middle of a bloody workers’ revolt and suddenly has to rely on the help of those she previously despised so much. Therefore, there’s real female power here!
So what are my final thoughts about it?
After the first few sentences, you are already there again. Joe Abercrombie lays out the plot in clear words and it is a joy and a relief that the children are called by their names for once. The characters are so human, the bad a little good, the good a little bad, and you take them all for what they are. Sometimes you think you’re in the thick of the battle, sometimes in captivity. There are only a few tender feelings, but they form the most beautiful contrast to the other sometimes quite brutal scenes. Joe Abercrombie once again manages to capture profound and all too human characters on paper and knit them into an intelligent plot. Nothing is as easy and obvious as it seems. Those who know the first books will meet many a beloved (or hated) character again. With the ending, the author has set up a nasty cliffhanger and I want to know what happens next.
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