Sharp Ends v ESB

Beer: ESB
Brewery: Fuller’s
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Strength: 5.5%

This beer is not one to wax lyrical about. It’s a raw bastard who will put you in the mud without hesitation if you aren’t sufficiently cautious. I’ve always said this beer has levels. The first pint is the nectar of gods. The second pint will bring you to the perfect level of merriment. Three pints will leave you dizzy. Four pints and you’re asking for whatever befalls you. DO NOT be fooled by the mid-strength abv, this beautiful bastard will f*ck you up.

Book: Sharp Ends
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Publisher: Gollancz
Published: 2016

It’s Joe Abercrombie so it goes without saying that this is a damn good book. There is a very important caveat though. Whilst this is a collection of short stories that can be read and enjoyed without any other context, I think you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice if you tried to use it as a jumping in point to his work. A lot of the stories feature minor characters from previous books and with the aim of further expanding and fleshing out their backgrounds.

It is a mixture of stories previously published in magazines and anthologies combined with some written specifically for this collection. They span a period of roughly 26 years and dip into various points within that time frame to add more flavour and worldbuilding to the world in which the First Law is set.

The second to last story in the collection – Tough Times all Over – is my personal favourite, though I enjoyed them all. What starts with one character trying to deliver a package turns into something of a game akin to capture the flag.

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