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Book Review: The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie

As a fan of Joe Abercrombie’s other work and someone who enjoyed the previous installment in the series, I’ve been eagerly anticipating The Trouble With Peace all summer, and it was definitely worth the wait. 

A direct sequel to last years A Little Hatred, The Trouble With Peace picks up right where Abercrombie left readers. The newly crowned High King Orso must navigate ruling a country where both the nobles and the commoners despise him, while Sabine dan Glotka slowly recovers her shattered business and shaken confidence all while grappling with the secrets that she has discovered. In the north Leo dan Brock discovers that ruling suits him much less than being a warrior, and is pulled into intrigues he may not be suited for. Meanwhile, Rikke, her mind unstuck in time and paralyzed by visions of the future must find a way to close her “long eye”. All of them are caught in the middle of a changing world where rising tensions, dueling conspiracies, and conflicted loyalties could spell the doom for them all.

The Trouble With Peace has almost anything that you could ask for in a fantasy novel, action, intrigue, humor, even a little magic. All of this with some of the best realized characters I’ve ever seen. Abercrombie has never written typical fantasy and this is no exception. Filled with twists, turns, and double crosses, as well as the gritty action that Abercrombie is known for, all building to an explosive climax that defies the conventions of typical fantasy fiction, I was on the edge of my seat every second of the way. It comes highly recommended for those who enjoyed Game of Thrones or The White Queen, and anyone else who loves stories driven by drama and intrigue.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

everythingOur book club guru Karen has found one that is tailor made for book clubs. Booklist wrote “Heart-breaking tragedy and unthinkable decisions lie at the center of Mackintosh’s fourth novel, a turn towards a different type of suspense. Max and Pip Adams are the perfect couple, and they’re living the perfect life until their three-year-old son, Dylan, becomes critically ill. Forced to make a choice about his care and future, they find themselves at an impasse, unable to agree on which path is right. But what if it were possible to go down both roads? Mackintosh uses a clever combination of alternate narration and parallel stories to explore what happens to the Adams’ relationship if each of the possibilities is chosen. Inspired by a similar situation with her own son, Mackintosh makes readers question what makes a choice right or wrong. How can you move forward if you never know whether or not you did the right thing? Max and Pip are thoroughly relatable, compelling, and as are most people, complex. Sure to keep fans of Jodi Picoult or of Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage thinking about issues of morality and marriage long after the last page.” Karen said she couldn’t put it down.

The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

Book jacket cover of The Armored SaintMyke Cole has written a number of action/adventure books but The Armored Saint is his first fantasy novel – and it’s a good one! Booklist gave it a starred review, writing “[w]izardry and magic have been outlawed in this epic fantasy trilogy starter from Cole, author of the popular Shadow Ops series. The Order monitors the citizens of the kingdom to make sure that they don’t practice magic, which they believe comes from the devil. Naturally, the Order are terrible, power-hungry individuals who terrorize the population with threats of what they will do if they suspect a wizard, and terrify the public with threats of what wizards can do if they exist. But Heloise cannot help herself, and she repeatedly stands up to the Order to protect her family and even jumps one of them to save her best friend, Basina, whom she loves. Cole has created a dark medieval world that by the end only has a small sliver of light in it. The spunky Heloise fights for her family and friends and makes it easy to cheer her on through her adventures.” And for those of you find it hard to wait, the second book in the series (The Queen of Crows) is out and it’s even better than the first!