“There’s men chasing me! Gulping breath in the doorway and doing her best to look beyond desperate—no mighty effort of acting at that moment, or any occupying the last twelve months, indeed.”
One of the things that makes Abercrombie outstanding is his ability to write stuff in different styles. “The First Law Trilogy” reads like epic fantasy, “Best Served Cold” is all about revenge, “The Heroes” is bent on being a war novel, and “Red Country” masquerades itself as a Wild West romp.
This collection, being based on characters previously explored in the above-mentioned novels, draws inspirations from several sources. That in itself is not a bad thing, but nevertheless some stories felt flat. "Freedom", and "Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden" are just two examples of what I’ve just stated. I've read everything Abercrombie has ever written. This means I'm quite conversant in Abercrombish, and this collection is flat, flat, flat. Those who are not so proficient in Abercrombish will have a harder time getting to know some of the characters by just reading these short stories. Abercrombie is at his best when he's challenging my SF preconceptions. He usually does that by enhancing the worst qualities of man...We still have plenty of that, but the Abercrombish chutzpah is absent.