Title: Before They Are Hanged
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law, Book 2
Recommendations: Read it if you liked the first book and still remember what happened.
Summary: The epic story of various heroes continue unfolding. Bayaz and his company travel to the edge of the world through various dangers. Glokta is appointed the Superior of Dagoska, which is besieged by King Bethod. Colonel West and others continue fighting against Bethod's army in the north.
Reactions: I've read the first book of this series in 2008 and managed to forget almost everything about the first novel other than the unforgettable characters of Glokta and Ninefingers and the fact that I enjoyed reading it. However, picking up Before They Are Hanged in early August proved to be slow reading. It was difficult to get back into the story since I didn't remember what happened before and I must have spent almost 3 weeks just getting through the first 100 pages of the book.
Eventually I picked up on the thread of the story and the reading went much livelier. The highlight of the story are definitely the characters. They are bright, individualistic, and unusual. Several of them end up transforming quite remarkably throughout the book and such changes in character I find interesting to read about. Their rather complex relationships are fun to follow as well.
Plot-wise though, not a whole lot happens in the book. Some progress is made in all story lines, but nothing resembling the conclusion has been reached. The events will definitely continue unfolding in the final book of the series.
Overall, it's a well written fantasy, which I had some trouble getting into as a stand-alone book. I haven't quite decided yet if I want to pick up the next book either. We'll see.