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Joe Abercrombie books reading order

  1. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

    Nov 23, 2002
    Here's a guide to the reading order for Joe Abercrombie's books:

    Firstly, there are currently three distinct set of books:

    First Law trilogy:
    The Blade Itself (2006)
    Before they are Hanged (2007)
    The Last Argument of Kings (2008)

    First Law world standalone novels:
    Best Served Cold (2009)
    The Heroes (2011)
    Red Country (2012)

    Shattered Sea trilogy:
    Half a King (2014)
    Half the World (2015)
    Half a War (2015)

    Now, for the First Law books, it's best to start with the First Law trilogy itself - this will form a whole series of references picked up in the standalone novels, even though the main characters may differ.

    However, the First Law standalone novels can offer a good taster for someone looking to sample Abercrombie's epic fantasy, without investing in a full epic trilogy.

    Best Served Cold is brutal revenge thriller that I'd personally recommend as the best standalone to pick up - it offers a good taster for Abercrombie's character-building and pacing.

    If you're feeling strong-hearted then The Heroes is another strong story when it comes to character and pacing, but it's focus on being a war/anti-war novel might not have such wide appeal.

    Red Country is best not read unless you're familiar with both the original First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold, as it concludes character arcs originally set up in these.

    It goes without saying that if you do pick up one of the technologies, then it's best to start with the first book in that series!

    The Shattered Sea trilogy has nothing to do with any of the First Law world books, instead targeted specifically at the Young Adult fiction market, rather than mature fantasy readers. Personally I've really enjoyed it so far, but some Abercrombie fans find these a bit too light by comparison to the First Law books.
    May 3, 2015
    Heather Myst likes this.
  2. Pedro Del Mar

    Pedro Del Mar I am content

    Mar 18, 2010
    Darwen Tower
    Thanks Brian, good synopsis.

    If, like me, you're an Abercrombie fan then you'll be pleased to know he's signed up to write 3 more novels in the First Law world. Heard it right from the horses mouth at a signing event last year.
    May 7, 2015
    Brian G Turner likes this.
  3. SilentRoamer

    SilentRoamer Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2015
    Just what I was looking for.

    I generally always read in chronologically published order and ignore internal story chronology. Looks like I can do that here and that will be the best reading experience anyway.

    Think I'll start Best Served Cold tonight.
    Mar 1, 2017
  4. sozme

    sozme Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Of the standalones in the First Law universe, Best Served Cold is the best one. But the other two are also very good.

    Want to highly recommend the audiobook version of all of the First Law books, as the narration is by far the best I've ever heard.
    Mar 12, 2018 at 1:07 AM
  5. The Big Peat

    The Big Peat Darth Buddha

    Apr 9, 2016
    Just popping in to say I am super happy for anyone reading Best Served Cold. Super fun!
    Mar 12, 2018 at 7:31 PM
  6. Mister_Oy

    Mister_Oy Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2015
    I'm pretty new to his stuff. Halfway through "Before they are hanged" and enjoying it :)
    Mar 13, 2018 at 7:47 PM
    Brian G Turner likes this.

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