Link: The Heroes
Joe Abercrombie does some of the best character work in all of fantasy. A few look down on him for his outcomes being too nihilistic but no one can look down on him for being boring. This seems to be Abercrombie's main style. To entertain and delight with quirky characters, use of inventive narrative structure, and hit us with twists and turns that knock us silly. For some...too silly, silly enough that they resent the shock.
With "The Heroes" specifically it is structure that wins out over everything else. We are given a look at a single engagement that takes place during a war and that engagement is split into three days, with maps accompanying them. We are given a chapter that follows around a letter and another that jumps from dead man to dead man in the middle of a battle. Structure plays a very large part in Abercrombie's work and you can always expect a new look at something very old for the genre.
Characters actually proved a problem in "The Heroes" for me. Not that they weren't as screwed up and internally motivated as I've come to expect from Abercrombie. Gorst's inner dialogue got more than a few chuckles, we saw the most fully dimensional female character yet for Abercrombie, and I couldn't help but root for a prince's plans to work out. They are fine characters...for about 99% of authors...
For Abercrombie, however...I found myself thinking of the Bloody Nine, of the Crippled, of Cosca and Monza. As fun as Gorst might be to read, or any of the characters of "The Heroes" might be to read, they aren't as good as the characters who came before, and that limits the reader's connection with the work. I guess what I'm saying is...you did too well of a job the first time through, Joe, try to suck some next time, okay?
Main Focus: Gush (Fantasy Action/Adventure) Novel, First Draft = 21k out of 100k estimate (21%)
Side Focus #1: Assault on Dread Fortress Paine (Post FM6 Novella?) = 44k out of 50k estimate (88%)
Side Focus #2: The Glassbreaker Goes Home (Post FM6 Novella) = 26k out of 50k estimate (51%)
Back Burner #1: FM7 School Story = 0k out of 80k estimate (0%)
Back Burner #2: Super Secret Awesome Project
Other Stuff I Need to Get To: FM3-FM6 concordance updates