I enjoyed the majority of the stories in this book. Some of them were better than others, and some of them I recognized from other, previous publications, like "Tough Times All Over," and "Some Desperado."
Some of the stories were better than others, which is always the case with anthologies. I'd been excited to read the first story, about Salem Rews and Sand dan Glokta several years before The Blade Itself was set. It turned out to be more of a snapshot than much of a story, though. It was clear that it was about to lead into the events that turned Glokta into the man he would become, but it wasn't about that. It was just a look at what kind of person Glokta was before. Interesting, but I wanted more.
I enjoyed the introduction of Whirrun of Bligh, before anyone knew much about him. He's a fun character, and the end of that story was one of those really perfect endings.
The story of Nicomo Cosca through rose colored glasses was amusing at first, but ultimately it didn't work for me. He was one of my favorite characters to read, throughout the series, one of the more complicated, interesting characters. Reading such a delusional, deceptive view of him was funny, at first, but then it quickly just became tiresome and I found myself bored.
My favorite stories were the ones about Shev and Javre. I felt he put most of his character development effort in there. There was humor and there was introspection, and everything about them was really enjoyable. Their friendship was the best thing about the book. My one complaint is the placement in the timeline of "Tough Times All Over," which didn't make a lot of sense to me. I felt that the events in "Three's a Crowd" would've worked much better if they'd come after "Tough Times All Over," chronologically. It almost looks like a mistake, although where Abercrombie is concerned I assume that what he does is usually intentional, so maybe he meant to show the lack of character development as a comment on their personal flaws. I'm not sure how I feel about it.
I would absolutely recommend this book to any fan of the First Law setting. I would not suggest it as an introduction to his work, though. Read some of the First Law books first, and then come to this if you enjoy that.