Book 2 doesn't disappoint at all. It's like the anti-Tolkein. The players are divided into three groups. Vain soldier Jezal sets off with manipulative wizard Bayaz, savage Logen Ninefingers and the demon-spawned Ferra to retrieve a dangerous artifact that could win the war. Inquisitor Glokta is sent to defend the southern city of Dagosta. And Colonel West travels north with the bickering army chiefs to fight with Bethod. Each one of these storylines is as strong as the other.
I feel totally invested in these characters. It's amazing that Abercrombie can write about a kingdom that doesn't deserve to exist and people that are violent, vain and self-interested and yet keep me glued to every page.
The action scenes are so visceral. Every punch and grunt and the disgusting effects on bone and tissue are described. But in a way that makes the fighting thrilling and easy to follow. The sex scene between ... and ... is HIL.ARIOUS!
I can't find any fault with it. I'm still nervous about book 3 and how I'm going to deal with the grimness of it but I'm just going to have to suck it up because this story is worth it.
Below is the kindle cover (which I prefer) featuring the crippled and bitter Inquisitor Glokta. He is one of my favourite characters of all time: