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Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Red Country (edition 2012)

by Joe Abercrombie

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4862021,248 (4.03)29
Title:Red Country
Authors:Joe Abercrombie
Info:Orbit (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 464 pages

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Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

  1. 00
    The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs (DemetriosX)
    DemetriosX: Both books apply western tropes to a fantasy setting (as opposed to weird westerns which apply fantasy elements to tales of the Old West). Both also have strong elements of grimdark. The Incorruptibles has more magic, while Red Country is more cinematic.

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
It's far bloodier than the others. Perhaps due to the plot. It's not a straight up revenge novel like the previous two, or a bit of a war saga, like the first three. This book is a bit more of a stand alone novel, but you benefit quite a bit by having read the other five books first.

Still, overall it seems like a quieter novel by the end. ( )
  Schlyne | Nov 12, 2015 |
This was the third and, so far, final standalone book set in the First Law world after the original trilogy. However, there are more books planned. See the second-to-last paragraph of my review if you’re interested and not already aware. I didn’t enjoy the first two standalones quite as much as the original trilogy, but this third standalone came much closer in enjoyment level. The trilogy is still my favorite, but I enjoyed Red Country because it had more likeable characters and more variety to its plot than the previous two books. It also had a little more humor, closer to what the trilogy had.

The story focuses on a girl named Shy South, whose farm is burned and her younger brother and sister kidnapped while she and her step-father are away. She and her step-father set off to try to find the stolen children. Along the way they meet up with several other characters who have a part to play in the overall story, and there are some familiar characters from previous books.

All the standalones have made at least some reference to events and sometimes characters from the original trilogy, to give you the sense that life is continuing on much as you might have imagined based on the ending. However, none of them have gone into much detail that would satisfy somebody like me who was hoping for more closure at the end of the original trilogy. Red Country has a slightly stronger tie to it, and that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it more, even though it still didn’t answer any of my pressing questions from the trilogy. Well, it did answer one question I guess, but it was one I already was pretty sure I knew the answer to.

I have a few more thoughts, but will have to put them in spoilers since they would spoil the story for anybody who hasn’t read it yet. Some of the spoilers are major, so please don’t read them if you haven’t read this book. I was very excited to see Logen again, since he’d been my favorite character from the original trilogy. I enjoyed seeing him, and I loved hearing his old familiar expressions. I just wish he had been one of the perspectives we read from, because he’s much more likeable that way. I also wanted more details about what had happened to him over the past decade or so. We’re told enough to get the gist of things, but I like Logen so I wanted much more of him.

Likewise, I found Cosca a more likeable character in Best Served Cold when we read from his own perspective but he wasn’t at all likeable in this book where we only saw him through the eyes of others. He was never the most moral or honorable character, but in this book he came across as a particularly horrible person. Sometimes he was a funny horrible person, and sometimes he was a tragic horrible person, but he was a horrible person nonetheless. When I thought he had died in Best Served Cold, I was sad and then relieved when it turned out he was still alive. At the end of this book it appears he’s really and truly dead this time and I couldn’t bring myself to feel disappointed.

One thing I especially liked about this book was the bond that formed among several of the characters who participated in the Fellowship headed to the Far Country. I liked the way some of them continued to be friends, and continued to help each other out, even after the journey was over. I like that kind of thing, and there hasn’t been too much of it in this series. Some with Dogman and his men during the trilogy, and with Craw and his men in The Heroes, but usually it was every man for himself or an uneasy alliance among people who didn’t know or trust each other very much.

For those who are interested, and not already aware, I came across some info indicating the author may write another trilogy set in this world that follows up on the original trilogy, although it sounds like it will be quite a while before we ever see it. He also has an anthology of short stories set in this world that’s due out in April 2016. Here’s the link. Avoid reading the comments to his post if you haven’t read all of the books, because there are unmarked spoilers. http://www.joeabercrombie.com/2015/09/17/progress-report-september-15/

I started this series thinking for some reason that it was complete, but I guess you can never be sure a series is completely finished as long as its author is still alive. I definitely won’t object to the chance to read more books set in this world down the road. For now, though, I’m looking forward to moving on to new things. I’ve spent a little over two months reading the 3300 pages set in this world, though, so it will feel kind of weird to leave it behind. ( )
  YouKneeK | Nov 8, 2015 |
Probably Abercrombie's best book to date. He's an excellent writer but his books, like many of his characters, tend to be formidable, interesting, complex but fundamentally unlovable. Nothing necessarily wrong with that. The masterful cyncism of the plotting in the First Law trilogy was a superb deconstruction of fantasy tropes, though one that was hardly badly-needed or unique. What was more interesting was the way it all ended up being more like a noir than anything else. Red Country is unabashedly Western in its influence, a genre that has deconstructed its own myths thoroughly in print and on screen, making it a good fit with Abercrombie's savage world. Two things in particular make this novel stand out. One is the characters, particularly the supporting cast, who are allowed to develop and survive and whose positive attributes - usually a deadpan fatalistic humour and tough dogged pragmatism - seem more appropriate to the world than the sort of starry-eyed idealism or arrogant entitlement that the author seems to enjoy knocking down so much. Related to that is the dialogue, straight out of Portis or Lansdale or McMurtry, which is often a pure joy to read and alleviates the grimness considerably. Other than that there's the violent, blood-soaked, action-packed quest across the dying frontier to keep the reader enthralled and turning the pages at a ferocious rate. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
I really enjoyed the path this novel took. I enjoyed the familiar characters being put to interesting uses in a new genre. (Abercrombie writes fantasy adventure novels, but Red Country tips its hat to the Western genre, The Searchers in particular.) I enjoyed looking back after the closing chapter to think about the character tropes the familiar characters employed; Shivers as The Man with No Name was especially good.

I also enjoyed the return of The Bloody Nine and the view that this character gives of violence. Through Logan, I think Abercrombie is telling us something important about violence. It isn't just a deus ex machina solution to plot problems. Violence has a cost greater than its reward. Abercromie has grown a lot as a writer, and I think I'm finally seeing what he meant Logan to be all along. He's not a tragic hero (The Heroes explained this) he's more of a comment on the whole genre. When violence is used to achieve a goal, it turns that goal to mud.

I'm hoping Abercrombie does something new next. The first three books were really good, the next three were something better, but I think I'd like to read him try something with a different setting. Somewhere where there is a stable middle to contrast with his characters that live on the edges. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Usually like Abercrombie. Some really good sections but the pacing really got to me. There are long streches where nothing seems to be going on. ( )
  kaipakartik | Jun 27, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316187216, Hardcover)

A New York Times bestseller!

They burned her home.
They stole her brother and sister.
But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:35 -0400)

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With her cowardly step father for company, Shy South journeys into the lawless Far Country, reckoning with the Ghosts and being forced into an alliance with the infamous soldier of fortune Nicomo Cosca, with one purpose in mind: to get her family back.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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