14. (14) – The Age of Madness Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombie

A rare trilogy where I find each book to be equally great and unique in its own way.  Abercrombie has been great from the beginning, but he’s also come a long way since The First Law trilogy.  For me, this is better.  Not only that, this is my all time favorite trilogy.  It’s that damn good. 

A Little Hatred

The return to the Circle of the World did not disappoint at all. The characters were compelling as always. I grew particularly fond of the Crown Prince Orso, Rikke and Savine dan Glotka. There is plenty of action, much of which Abercrombie brings in new and unique ways. The segment in the middle of the novel in Valbeck is one of the best Abercrombie has written and like nothing I’ve read before in fantasy. Many of the characters come together brilliantly at the end and leave us wanting to know what happens next. A great novel in its own right, A Little Hatred does an amazing job setting up the stakes of what is to come.

The Trouble with Peace

The Trouble With Peace is another Abercrombie fantasy masterpiece. Nobody in fantasy combines compelling characters with a completely unique take on the traditional genre better than Joe. This was a great continuation of the Age of Madness trilogy that also managed to stand on its own. It’s a story of conspiracy and rebellion involving the great characters at the center of A Little Hatred. This series can hold up on its own, separate from his other work in the universe, but there are plenty of little treats for those of us that have read everything that came before. I think my favorite scene in the novel involved a trip to Sipani for a conversation with the son of a main character from a prior novel. Of course, it’s hard to pick a favorite scene. They are all good. I laughed throughout and was on the edge of my seat, never wanting to put the book away. Read this book…and if you haven’t read Abercrombie before, get to it

The Wisdom of Crowds

The Age of Madness trilogy is better than First Law. Hell, it’s better than any trilogy I have ever read and there’s a good argument it’s the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. The Wisdom of Crowds is the perfect conclusion to the Age of Madness, with Abercrombie hitting on all cylinders.

Abercrombie packed so much character development in these three novels. We feel the weight of the events of all three and their effect on each character. I believe Abercrombie’s Circle of the World novels should be read in order because of all the little connections to history the reader gets to appreciate when he or she does, but this trilogy absolutely stands on its own and for me stands apart from the First Law trilogy that came before it.

First Law was a unique twist on the hero’s journey and the quest to save the world, with Bayaz playing a role I really hadn’t seen before in Fantasy. However, in the Age of Madness, Abercrombie has managed to find completely new, unique avenues from which to explore a fantasy world. The fragility of the monarchy as the world modernizes is an incredible thread to explore and Abercrombie does so deftly, with fascinating characters and beautiful, brutal, action sequences. The result is a stunning and fully engaging concluding novel to the best fantasy trilogy I have ever read

Felan’s Rescue is now available on Audiobook!

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