The second book in a trilogy can often be susceptible to what I sometimes call ‘filler syndrome’: for example, moving the characters around and setting up the plot for the climatic final book. Happily this is not the case in “Before They Are Hanged”.
Yes, the main characters move around. Yes, the scope of Abercrombie’s world broadens and deepens, but the characters develop along the journey as well. (Although some, more than others.) We also get a deeper appreciation for the history of Abercrombie’s created world, which I suspect will prove important in the final instalment.
If I had to pick a flaw, it would be the lack of development in Logen’s character. He remains a man snared by his history and doesn’t really change. It’s Superior (nee Inquisitor) Glokta who fascinates, with his complex combination of self-loathing, twisted justice, and bitterness that falls just short of self-pity.
With all the assorted pieces on the board now moving, I can’t wait for the last volume. I’m expecting more than a few twists.