Read The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie Steven Pacey Online

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Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cLogen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult. Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood....

Title : The Blade Itself
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13616704
Format Type : Audible Audio
Number of Pages : 22 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Blade Itself Reviews

  • mark monday
    2019-03-05 01:34

    I’m going to do something that's a little disrespectful and start this review by talking about another fantasy series that I’ve enjoyed: A Song of Ice and Fire. That series rules. It has everything I’ve wanted in a series since Tolkien but there’s one thing to be said about it, neither good or bad, that is a big part of its impact: it is dark, very very dark. The darkness comes, as it should in all quality fiction, not necessarily from the actual bad things that happen to good people, but from the depth of the characterizations themselves. Bad things happen to very real, very well-characterized, and truly understandable people, and so those bad things are made all the more upsetting, all the more hard to read. So that’s where The Blade Itself comes in. It is a funny thing for me, reading the reviews. Everyone goes on about how bloody it is, how graphic and hardcore, etc etc. How it is a part of the “George R.R. Martin tradition”. Of course there is truth to that: much blood is spilled, incredibly tragic things happen, and hell, one of its central characters (in fact, its best character) is a torturer with an awfully painful past. But what I rarely see mentioned is the wonderful lightness of tone that makes the novel such a pleasure to read. For all its tragedies and darkness, the tone is amusing, light-hearted, comic, and never in awe of the various mysteries depicted. I laughed out loud many times. It is also a surprisingly tender novel. That comment may be hard for lovers of this book to read. But The Blade does not demonize any of its characters, it allows all of them (even Black Dow!) their moments of decency and kindness, it views all of them in such a cheerful, upbeat way, that never did I feel a sense of bleak heaviness at the tragedies displayed. Those tragedies are shown to be a part of life, for some, and although they are impactful, the characters are not beaten completely down by their pasts. It is not a sentimental novel, but it is a very sweet-tempered one. The down side to this is that, at times, the characters and situations have a vibe to them that is almost close to being a sitcom. The upside is that it is wall-to-wall pleasure and at the end of the novel, I felt uplifted, rather than weighted down. It is a wonderful antidote to the compelling but grueling Song of Ice and Fire. A kind of tonic. The novel is a breezy delight and I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention: the author knows how to write action sequences. They were truly exciting, even cinematic in the clarity of what was happening. Often fights are confusing affairs in fantasy, but that is not the case here. The whole novel had a brisk yet cinematic feel to it. I choose Matthew MacFayden to play Inquisitor Glotka!

  • Jim
    2019-03-03 06:00

    Anton Chekhov famously said that if an author mentions a gun, it had better go off at some point, a point often attributed to Raymond Chandler (who at least practiced this rule). The same goes for fantasy writers. Fantasy doesn't need to be all blood and whirling blades, but if a fantasy writer straps a broadsword to a character's side, it had better be drawn in anger, at some point.This was one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a while, especially impressive as it's a first novel. It has a fair amount of the aforementioned blood and swordplay, but it is much more than that. The characters are finely drawn and the story is both complex and well-paced. For me, the most interesting character was the Inquisitor Glotka, who is deliciously cynical. A formerly dashing officer, he was taken as a prisoner of war and tortured. Having subsequently become a professional torturer himself, he can't help but admire the skill and creativity his captors put into breaking him. He harbors a great deal of hatred for his former comrades, who he feels forgot about him in captivity and would like to forget him still.Glotka serves the Union, a civilization confident of its superiority, centered on the decadent city of Adua. War is brewing in the barbarian North and in the Gurkish south. Into this setting comes the wizard Bayaz, accompanied by the barabarian warrior Logen Ninefingers. Logen is famed in the North as a master of violence, but it is a reputation he wishes he could put behind him. Bayaz won't let him get away that easily, however, needing the barbarian's skills for his own purposes. Bayaz has interests of his own in Adua, tied to the distant past and the vanquishing of a dark magus who was the founder of the city. Bayaz spends a good deal of his time acting un-wizardly (in Logen's opinion), more like a balding, fat, lazy peasant. It is an assessment others make, to the point that they risk underestimating the cranky, old man. Abercrombie's accounts of fighting are incredibly well-done, fast paced and capturing the fear and confusion, along with the rage and bloody-minded delight of mastering an opponent. Yet, the violence in this book takes an emotional toll on those involved. Also, his accounts of magic are very good, not flashy but weird and disturbing. A lot of fantasy writers make the mistake of giving the reader too much information about the world they've created. Abercrombie gives enough background to keep the plot going, leaving the rest as tantalizing clues that give the sense of a real world. The only part of the book where I thought he was giving us too much was in regard to the fencing tournament that the nobleman Jezal dan Luthar takes part in. It did help display the arrogant, selfish character of Captain Luthar, but I felt there was a bit too much detail expended on it. Still, this is the first book of a trilogy, so perhaps the event of the tournament will figure later in the story.All in all, this was a great read. I've read too much fantasy in recent years that seemed too much like feminist theory or post-Marxian cultural critique with dragons, often written with a faux-epic wordiness. (I really think this is why the Potter books were so popular with adults; they were looking for something story-driven.) This book by Joe Abercrombie is an antidote for a lot that has been wrong in fantasy literature.

  • James LafayetteTivendale
    2019-02-22 06:43

    I was up until half five yesterday morning reading intensely to finish off this story. I didn't write the review then as it would have been a tired, mumbled mess with little to no eloquence and it wouldn't have included any cool sounding words. Let's see how I get on now after a good nights sleep. Prior to reading this, I had completed Abercrombie's Shattered Sea trilogy and enjoyed it a lot. Where that was classic story focused fantasy with twists aplenty, this is best described as a macabre, dark and twisted character study of morally questionable individuals. This narrative takes place in a world that seems to be brimming with a blood-splattered past, interesting races and a heightened amount of warmongering aggression between the countries and factions. There is a lot going on in Abercrombie's world yet, it is a shame that the two versions of this book that I have didn't include any cartographed maps. I did get a little confused trying to compose a mental map of the world and distinguish where the action was taking place. The greatest accomplishment achieved by Abercrombie here is the characters he has created. The four main individuals are:Jezal: A vain, selfish nobleman and talented fencer.Logan: An infamous warrior.Glokta: A tortured and crippled torturer.Bayaz: A mage whose motives are mystical.I will not go into any real details about them, how they intertwine, their opinions shared in monologues regarding the others (if they meet that is) but it is a pleasure to read about these characters that are, on paper at least, completely unlikeable. There are times that these characters surprised me with their thoughts. Glokta's internal opinions are darkly humorous yet tortuous when relating to his past, and the womaniser and dashing swordsman Jezal actually having some weird emotions for only one lady are two fine examples. The players' interactions had a Tarantino-like quality. This book was a slow burner for me. It has many great qualities but whilst reading I occasionally had an internal dilemma about whether I should put it down and pick up something with more action. Two or three amazing setpieces excluded (such as a fencing contest and Logan's old gangs' antics), it doesn't really include many all out adrenaline fueling segments. Towards the end, however; reading this was quite intense hence why I was up until stupid o'clock to finish the story. I reflect that this books main agenda was probably for the reader to get to know the characters because this is done extremely well. At the finale, the seams are brimming with reported conflicts and a bizarre proposed mission that the characters find out are their fates and destinies moving forward. To conclude, I have to admit that Before they are Hanged is set up phenomenally well and I am looking forward to shortly jump back into Abercrombie's world. www.youandibooks.wordpress.com x

  • Bookwraiths
    2019-03-17 07:57

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths ReviewsAs I’ve mentioned in other reviews, Joe Abercrombie is a fantasy author who all my real-life friends have raved about for years and insisted that I read. From their proselyting, it seemed that my life would not be complete without sampling Lord Grimdark’s wares. So, in order to save myself from some accursed fate, I read the first two novels in Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series. Unfortunately, grimwhine was not for me. If interested in the “why”, you can read my reviews of Half a King and Half the World here on Goodreads.Naturally, my friends were aghast at my heretical dislike of Lord Grimdark. That led them to berate my poor taste in fantasy literature. Arguments ensued thereafter until eventually they understood – even if they did not agree – with my lack of excitement with grimwhine, and so these close buddies of mine insisted that Shattered Sea was really a YA fantasy series and demanded that I try The First Law before I abandoned Lord Grimdark, because it was his masterpiece.Well, I have recently completed my read of The Blade Itself, book one of The First Law. And, for those who have never tried it, I will attempt to sum it up succinctly for you.This is a story told from multiple points of view by several main characters with the most important being: Jezal, the rich, noble’s son who is bratty and also a great swordsman; Logen, the northern barbarian who has a dark, mysterious past but wants to escape from it; Ferro, a fugitive slave from the nation of Gurkhul whose desire for revenge is greater than her common sense; and Glokta, a handicapped war hero who is now a torturer working for the Union’s secretive inquisition. As a reader slowly tags along with these four, they slowly learn tidbits about each person, their pasts, the world they live in, and the coming conflicts that are a brewing. But finally, all these interwoven pieces begin to gather together for the last section of the novel in the capital city of the Union, where not only do these four interact with one another but also set up the story for the second installment of the series.Now, I did enjoy The Blade Itself; it was an interesting enough book in its own way. However, the plot was a rather slow moving affair. (At one point, I actually found myself wondering if glaciers moved faster than The Blade Itself.) But once Abercrombie got everyone together in the capital, he did ratchet up the action, ending the story with a small bang.Even with that being said, however, the characters in this novel were a bit of an enigma for me. Going into my read, all I had heard was how amazing they all were, how brilliant the characterization, how . . . you get the picture: Great characters. And I suppose they were very well developed, but unfortunately, I didn’t care one iota for any of them. Jezal made me want to slap him, because he was such an annoying, rich brat. Logen was boring most of the time. Ferro was an amalgamation of every ex-slave character I’ve ever read about. And Glokta (though he is the most interesting) would be a heartless bastard only to then turn around and go all gooey inside because an old friend apologized to him. I grew tired of each very quickly. Thank God the viewpoint changed between them constantly. It grew so bad that (unlike Song of Ice and Fire where I got sick of Martin killing everyone off) I kept hoping Abercrombie would kill someone, so they might be replaced with someone less boring.I know all that sounds really harsh of me, doesn’t it? But I did like The Blade Itself. Really. I’m just disappointed with it. A disappoint that has grown rather than lessened in the weeks since I read it. Why, you ask?Well, for years, I’ve heard all these grandiose accolades about this book. People would tell me it was the quintessential modern grimdark. The tale that revolutionized the fantasy genre for a new century. Hell, one of my friends even anointed Abercrombie the Tolkien for the twenty-first century. (Yeah, he is the president of the Lord Grimdark Fan Club.) But as I read, I just did not see any of that. Still do not in hindsight. It was a fine fantasy novel. Abercrombie spent a lot of time writing a fiction novel which was “incidentally” a fantasy. But revolutionary? Not so much. Glen Cook’s Black Company series was more grimdark than this before there was a term for it. George R.R. Martin’s work in Song of Ice and Fire was far more “grim” in tone than anything I read here. Hell, even Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns was more “dark” and bloody than this tale. So for those reasons, reading this novel was a little bit of a letdown.With all that being said, I actually am looking forward to reading the next novel in the series. Now, I can experience Before They Were Hanged without any grandiose expectations weighing it down. It will be merely me sitting down to read an interesting fantasy novel about some people mixed up in deadly adventures, not me sitting down to read the “MOST REVOLUTIONARY FANTASY NOVEL SINCE LORD OF THE RINGS” and I believe that will allow me to enjoy it better than I did this one – especially if Abercrombie actually kills someone. I mean, OMFG, this is grimdark already; a main character has to die now!

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-02-21 00:48

    Joe Abercrombie certainly knows how to write some disturbingly likable characters. In any other book the protagonists would be the bad guys. Logan Ninefingers is a brutal warrior who goes into insane blood rages where he kills anything, and everything, near him. Yet, weirdly, he is also a wise and sensitive soul. San Dan Glocka is a torturer whose heart is pure malice, yet somehow his attitude toward life boarders on the hilarious. These two are such great characters; they make the series what it is.A character defining opening I love how this novel begins because it sets the tone for the rest of it. Ninefingers, as ever, is in a fight for his life, but it is clear that this is neither his first fight nor his last. He doesn’t fight with grace; he doesn’t fight with much skill either, but what he does fight with is an animalistic passion for survival and, knives, lots of knives. He knows how to win a fight and it is, most definitely, not by fighting clean or with bravery. Sometimes, the best way to win/survive a fight is by running of a cliff. In this opening we see a glimpse of his complex character. “There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.” Indeed, he is very well written. There’s so much more to him than his outwardly barbarian appearance; he is more than a survivor and a pragmatist. He knows when his luck has run out; it’s why he has survived for so long. There’s wisdom inside him too. He’s an exceptionally good judge of character. When the plot sends him in the path of Bayaz, a powerful mage, he can see the man’s worth almost instantly; he can see exactly what he is about and how unstraightforward his intentions are. He is forced to go along with his plans, but he knows not to fully trust him. He can smell deception a mile away. After all, you have to be realistic about these things. (I just had to say it!)A twisted world It is clear that Ninefingers is far from a good man. He has killed countless people, and he has enjoyed it. Yet, somehow Abercrombie has made this bloodthirsty barbarian into a likable protagonist. He is simply who he is. It makes me wonder that if the protagonist is this brutal, then the antagonists must be terrible people. They must be much worse than Logan. Though, something does tell me that there are very few good men in this world. Everybody is in a shadowy place of dark and questionable morals. I love it. “There was nothing to be gained by losing his temper. There was never anything to be gained by that.”Indeed, Gloka is just as nasty. He enjoys inflicting pain, through torture, in the same way it was done to him. But, at the same time, he works for the government and serves his country. So he can’t be all that bad, right? Wrong. He is much, much, worse. He is one of the darkest characters in fantasy that isn’t the villain. However, he is also brilliant. His wit and attitude reminds me somewhat of Tyrion Lannister. If these two met, it would certainly lead to one incredibly interesting conversation. Say one thing of Abercrombie; say he can write disturbingly likable characters, and novels; he’s quite good at novels too. You have to be realistic about these things. I’ve really got to stop saying that! The First Law Trilogy 1.The Blade Itself-A bloody four stars 2.Before They Were Hanged- A gritty four stars

  • Mpauli
    2019-03-03 06:33

    "So, let's cast the characters for our novel, shall we?""Of course, boss, Mr. Abercrombie, sir!""Where is the run-of-a-mill farmboy with a great destination?""I'm afraid he ran of the mill, met a goblin. Now rots in a ditch.""Oh, how unfortunate.""Indeed, boss, indeed.""Let's see. What about the maiden fair in need of rescue from a dragon?""Apparently she ate the dragon. Now she was saying something about a burning sensation in the...well...digesting area. Went to the toilet, never saw her again.""Hm, what a shame. Well, what about a lovely elf?""You wish, ey boss?""Yeah, had to ask at least.""Understandable.""Maybe a sturdy dwarf?""Nah, you know how they are these days. They all want to be Tyrion. More the sophisticated wine-drinking type, rather than being honourable beer-folk.""So, what are we left with, then?""We have a fencing soldier...""Sounds promising!""Yeah, just...he's kind of an ass. Pompous fool type.""At least good to look at for the ladies?""Might work, he's no sparkly Edward though.""Come on, go Edward yourself. What else?""There is this savage dude, but his best days seem to be over.""Like a Baldwin?""And he's missing a finger...""So he's basically crippled...wonderful, anyone else?""Funny thing, boss. There is this actual cripple. A torture victim, who's now an Inquisitor.""You're kidding me?""I'm afraid not. On a stretch I might have a savage female psychokiller on a revenge streak.""Oh please no, not for the beginning of the novel!""Maybe later then, boss?""Maybe later, for now, let's work with these guys..."And Abercrombie worked really well with them. I had a blast with his refreshing new characters.These miscreants really grow fast on you and you keep rooting for the strangest guys.As the novel is really character focused, the main plot is more of a build-up to bigger things in the later books.But it's interesting enough and has a lot of potential. Therefore I'm going to dive into the other two books of the First Law trilogy in the near future. Maybe there are even more casting surprises ahead."Oh, boss...one thing...the savage guy brought some friends aswell.""Of course, he did, of course...we'll make it work."

  • Ibrahim Z
    2019-03-16 01:50

    I almost put down the book when 3 paragraphs in the first 3 pages began with some version of this line:"Shit," he said.But I managed to slog through because I was told this was a some genre-breaking novel that didn't rely so heavily on typical fantasy clichés and it was supposed to be really dark and gritty. Instead of gritty, it felt kind of like a teenager who swears a lot to try and sound like an adult: really forced and usually out of context. A lot of the writing in general seemed to trip over itself. Good editing would have helped a lot.Luckily, it's a fast read and it only took a day to read it. Probably because I've read the books Abercrombie pulls from. Stop me if you've heard of any of these plotlines:A powerful and mysterious wizard who reappears at various times through history reappears once again to put together an unlikely fellowship comprising of each of the major factions that we hear about in the novels and they have to transport an infinitely powerful magical item somewhere. They have to be on the lookout for a fallen wizard who wants said item and a bunch of magically created servants who are going to hunt them down.An introspective torturer who's a shadow of his former self. Invaders from the north who won't listen to others about the REAL threat coming from further north.An unconventionally beautiful, plain speaking commoner girl, here to turn a certain nobleman's world upside down.There's more I could list, but I'd rather talk about the last one for a moment. For the majority of the book, this down to earth girl is the only female character in the entire thing. And she's a victim of abuse. She's really only there to complicate things for the boys. About two thirds of the way through, we're introduced to our second female character who is also, surprise, a victim of abuse and a former slave. Neither of the characters seems to really have any depth, at all. One could be replaced by a pair of batting eyelashes and the other could be replaced by the word VENGEANCE.

  • Carol.
    2019-02-23 08:38

    The Blade Itself will undoubtedly become classic fantasy. I found it engrossing, and one of the best examples of the "darker" epic fantasies, with protagonists lacking in traditional heroic qualities and quests that are less than selfless. I liked the way the story was constructed, primarily following three main characters, with a fourth was added partway through the book. I was fairly certain they would intersect at some point, so part of the interest in the story is seeing how their individual tales will intertwine. The stories of each are mostly linear, with some appropriate flashbacks, but never done so choppily that one can't tell primary time frame. I can't tell you what a relief this is; I've been reading too many deconstructionist sort of fantasies lately where narrative skill is dropped for the ease of disjointed four-page scenes. Does everyone have narrative ADD? However, I digress. Abercrombie has a gift for clear storytelling without simplicity. While I had heard this was a "dark fantasy," with unlikeable characters, I would wholeheartedly disagree, at least within the confines of this book. Perhaps on the surface our three main characters are unlikeable--one a 'barbarian' with a very bloody past, Logen Ninefingers; one a vain and talented peacock, Captain Jezel; and the last a maimed and internally tortured torturer, Inquisitor Glokta--but they are imbued with a humanity that makes them likeable despite themselves. Frequently we are privy to their decision-making process, and it becomes evident that their motives are more complex than simple bloodthirst, vanity or hate. Ninefingers is undergoing a shift in his feelings on fighting and war, after losing everything he has loved. It's lovely seeing how the entitled noble Jezel finds himself attracted to someone very different than he, and the stages he goes through as he realizes his love. Glokta's interactions with the Arch Lector are stunning; we quickly develop the sense of the long term and unethical mechaniations of the Arch Lector and develop further sympathy for the poor torturer. It was a brilliant way to help readers understand the political ramifications of the actions we've been witnessing without a lot of dreary exposition or monologues.A portentous and sinister air developes through the book. There is the larger issue of the Union and it's surrounding countries preparing for war, and the local issue of a power vacuum around king's throne, and competing interests. The evil characters are frightening-the Northmen have a sorceress working with them, and the Emperor of Gurkhul uses monsters called "Eaters" as enforcers. Nonetheless, there are light moments, and moments of redemption, even in beginning chapters, such as when Logen decides to rescue someone, even if it should mean his death. It's an astonishing level of complexity, but Abercrombie handles it well.I've already got the second book on my shelf waiting to be read.Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2012/1...

  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    2019-03-15 08:58

    Buddy read this with my girl, Nenia!

  • Petrik
    2019-02-27 00:58

    4.5/5 StarsI started reading this because a lot of my friends recommend me if I wanted something like Song of Ice & Fire series, this is the closest one, and imo they're right. This book follows the perspective of 3 main anti-heroes, believe me, you'll root for them when you read it. Logen Ninefinger, the Schizophrenia barbarian, Sand dan Glokta, once the best swordsman turned crippled and torturer and Jezal dan Luthar, the narcissistic fencer who wanted nothing more than fame.The book starts really slow but it really builds up a lot of stories to be resolved in the next book (or maybe the last I don't know yet), not in this book no, there are way too many things unfinished so if you're going into this, please know that you're in it for the whole trilogy. Going to starts the next book soon after writing this and my recommendation is if you're looking for dark fantasy (it's bloody, believe me), with great characterization, dark humor, and great action scenes, you can't go wrong with this one.

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-03-12 07:36

    On the run from a king he once served, barbarian Logen Ninefingers finds himself in the Union's capital, aligned with Bayaz, a legendary wizard long thought dead. Meanwhile, nobleman Captain Jezal Luthar trains for The Contest, a fencing spectacle, while lusting after Ardee West, sister of one of his comrades. Inquistor Glokta, crippled former swordsman, skulks around in the darkness, torturing the answers he seeks while searching for treason at every turn. What is Bayaz planning? Will Jezal bed his best friend's sister? Will Glokta be able to outmaneuver the other inquistors?After reading Red Country, I had to see how it all began. I was most pleased.The Blade Itself reads like Terry Pratchett on the mother of all bad days. While there is a surprising amount of humor, there are also buckets of blood and gore. Abercrombie writes fantastic battle scenes and I suspect they will only get better as the series progresses.Anyway, the strength of The Blade Itself is in the characters. While many of them fit standard fantasy archetypes, they also are far from typical. Logen Ninefingers is a barbarian that spends a lot of time thinking and being scared, guilty of a hundred atrocities. Bayaz is an ages-old wizard that looks like a blacksmith. Inquistor Glokta seems like a pretty reprehensible torturer and guardsman at first glance but there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. Jezal is a great swordsman but also a snobbish bastard. I'm also very interested in Yugei and Ferro and Logen's former band of not-so-merry men. I can't wait until they find out their old leader is still alive.I'm going to sidestep going into too much of the plot. to avoid spoilage. Suffice to say, I'm intrigued of what I've seen so far, bringing me to my next point. The only gripe I have about this book is that it very much feels like the first book in a trilogy. Most of it feels like setup to me. Fortunately, I think Abercrombie is move than capable of delivering the goods in future volumes so it's barely a gripe.Additional Thoughts:- Logen Ninefingers is quickly climbing the ranks of my favorite characters in science fiction and fantasy. - Also, Logen reminds me of a young version of Terry Pratchett's Cohen The Barbarian.- I'm not sure if Abercrombie has ever read Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness series but the writing and morally ambiguous characters make them spiritual brothers.- I have a feeling Glokta will wind up being my second favorite character in the series.- I love Abercrombie's magic system and the history of the Magi.Four blood-dripping stars!

  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    2019-03-04 07:59

    ● Buddy read with the wannabe torturers over at BBB ●DNF at 34%.You! Yes, you there! The person who is reading this review right now! Are you one of the hilarious people who told me I was going LOVE this book? You aren't? It's your lucky day, you should try playing the lottery or something. Now. If you are one of the delirious people who did tell me I was going to LOVE this book…oh man, you are SO doomed.I mean, what the bloody hell??!! How DARE you suicidal people lure me into this by dangling a supposedly awesomely irresistible, blood-shedding torturer in front of my lovely nose??!! Here I was, expecting an uber cool, super hot homicidal maniac, and what do I get? An ever pity partying, toothless bore with a limp. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? What were you thinking, you crazed people??!! Damn. Poor, pathetic Glotka is so grumpy he puts both the Grumpy Cat AND the old guys from the Muppet Show to shame. Grumpy can be sexy, but grumpy can be GRUMPY. And I know that looks aren't everything, but I draw the line at toothlessness. I could have survived the limp if poor, pathetic Glotka here hadn't spent every single second of his fascinating life complaining about it. Actually, he spends every single second of his fascinating life complaining about ALL his various and numerous and abundantly diverse pains, aches and ailments. So much so that I considered putting a bullet through his grumpy little head to put an end to his misery. Yeah, I'm charitable like that. Anything else? Yeah. This book is boring as hell.Bye now.PS: I might be slightly charitable to Grumpy-Ouch-It-Hurts torturers, but I'm not so lenient towards delusional people who think they can recommend I read Crappy Books (CB™) and get away with it unharmed, unscathed and stuff. All you people are now on my Shrimpy Hit List (SHL™). Expect a visit from the murderous decapodic army shortly. There will be blood. [Pre-review nonsense]DNF at 34%.34%. And it almost took me a month to get that far. Yes, the book was *that* brilliantly exciting. I loved every minute of it.Come on, Edward, time to bail.➽ I-hate-the-ill-intentioned-well-intentioned-friends-who-told-me-I-would-LUUURRRVE-Glotka review coming right up. You are SO in for that paid burn-in-hell holiday, people.My dear friends keep telling me I will LOVE Glokta. Might be because he's a cripple turned torturer (it's the torturer bit that counts). I have to say that Captain Jezal dan Luthar sounds pretty cool too: dashing officer and paragon of selfishness? Works for me. Then there's Logen Ninefingers, the infamous barbarian. Don't really care about the infamous part, but the barbarian side of things sounds positively yummy. Strangely enough, no one tried to sell this to me by mentioning Bayaz the wizard, a bald old man with a terrible temper. Weird.Looking forward to reading this and then sending half of my friend list on a paid burn-in-hell holiday.

  • Orient
    2019-03-21 03:36

    I can certainly say that this book is gritty. So, you start reading it and it pushes your face in mud, sweat and blood. If someone just falls somewhere or rolls down the stairs, you can be sure, it will be shown with all the glory of sticky stuff running down the face with an agonizing squirm. It reminds me of Tolkien or Sapowski in some episodes.But this book is not just a merciless hole covered in darkness and blood. You can find a lot of fun, humor (slight or hard)and that just makes the book so outstanding and unforgettable.Now about the main characters. Here limps the Inquisitor Glokta (so lovely and charmingly bad and funny)- he was horribly tortured in the previous war only to become a torturer himself, when he returned, smashing out traitors for an organization which is in a need to gain political pover, forgetting about the safety of country and other people. Glokta clearly shows the true, complicated and fascinating nature of Abercrombie’s skills to write. I think Glokta is the most stunning character in the book, with a charming sarcastic monologue with his inner self and the potential to really reveal the truly amazing character as he struggles to overcome the pain and suffering every day. And to make it more complicated, he’s also showing no regrets and is a really evil sociopath. And of course, Logen Ninefingers, “the infamous barbarian”. His situation, confused as a fish out of water nature throws most of the best jokes in the book, but he’s not so interesting as Glokta. Logen's favourite activity through all the book is fighting, hope it will change in the sequels.The book reveals its story in multiple layers that blend and ravel skillfully, with the taste of blood, humour, political machinations, threat of war, ancient supernatural forces. This heads for something big.I REALLY enjoyed the book, it showed the fascinating world of badass likable characters and enlarged my database of quotes.

  • The Shayne-Train
    2019-03-12 04:03

    I'll start this review by saying that, currently, I have 197 Goodreads friends (which is really something, as I doubt there are even 50 people in my real life that I can stand). Out of those 197 friends, 59 of them have either read this book, or have it on their to-read shelf. That's 30%. Pretty much one in three. Numbers don't lie; they can't.So I doubt I'll be introducing the concept of Mr. Abercrombie's genius to anyone. In fact, this would be pretty much the perfect example of "preaching to the choir." That's not gonna stop me from saying this: Abercrombie is a fucking genius, and this book ranks in the top ten best fantasy books ever written.The sheer number of reviews on this will let me squeak on by with no synopsis of plot, or detailing of characters. In fact, the quality of the writing is making me feel as if me even writing a review is somewhat superfluous. But I cannot move on to my next chosen book without gushing a bit.I want to marry this book. I want to be Mr. Shayne Itself, and have, like, a million gritty, fascinating babies with it. I want to look into its eyes as we make love, and let it know that I'm proud to grow old with it.But as my beloved state of Maine has not yet legalized the marriage between a human and a breath-taking work of literature, I cannot. I can only write a ridiculous, unnecessary review of it.Here it is.

  • Rick Riordan
    2019-03-17 05:36

    It's been a while since I read a fantasy trilogy all the way through, back to back. Joe Abercrombie's The First Law series was too compelling not to finish in a single marathon. The first book, The Blade Itself, introduces a cast of well-developed, complex characters throw together in a world loosely based on medieval Europe. At first, it's not entirely clear what the major story line will be. It's also not clear who the good guys and bad guys are -- kind of like real life. If this sounds like A Game of Thrones, well, yes -- the series are very different, but they do share some elements: morally complex protagonists, no easy answers, and a well-rendered world with a long history and many cultures. Logen Ninefingers, the Northern berserker, alone is worth reading about, but he's only one of many great characters. San dan Glokta is the coolest, and definitely the most sympathetic torturer I've ever encountered. If you like fantasy, check it out, and stay with it until the end of the third book. The ending is both satisfying and unexpected.

  • Choko
    2019-02-27 01:40

    *** 4.75 ***A buddy re-read with my friends from BB&BJust as great as the first time around:-)

  • Stephen
    2019-03-17 07:49

    6.0 stars (One of My All Time Favorites). Absolutely outstanding debut novel. Right along side The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss as the best debut Fantasy novels of the last few years. This book is as good as the fantasy genre gets and I can not wait to read the sequel. Finally, IMHO, Glotka is one of the most original and best developed characters in a long time. Highly recommended. Nominee: John A. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel (2008).

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    2019-03-22 04:35

    Actual rating : 4.5 starsBack when I was in college and had to read a tons of French classics, I considered my dearly fantasy books as my escape, and I used to devour them all, good or bad, whenever I had the opportunity. Sadly, what had to happen finally happened : I grew tired of them, and spent years avoiding them, until a little bastard named Jorg came along in February, and then I thought : FUCK YEAH. There are still fantasy books I can enjoy. The Blade Itself is one of them.If I can't deny that this book contains a few great action scenes which were grandly appreciated (really), yet it's by no means a full action-packed book, far from it, and I'm okay with it. Why? Because there's more to it, and that's why it could hold my interest. Indeed there's just something in political and murder subplots in fantasy that appeals to me and never fails to captivate me. Don't get me wrong, it's not that long, boring ass wanderings we sometimes find *cough* The Well of Ascension *cough*. Not at all. In the contrary, in my opinion Abercrombie does a great job at both introducing a detailed world-building and an interesting cast of characters without never falling on the boring side. This may have something to do with his compelling writing, you know? Moreover there's nothing better than gritty, witty and hilarious dialogues in my book, and The Blade Itself is filled with them. Once again, my growing interest in the story can be linked to the blurred lines between good and evil or you know, right and wrong. That's fucking fantastic, because although I used to read a lot of fantasy books when I was younger, I grew tired of the great knights in shining armors many series promote. Because that's boring as fuck. Because that's predictable. Therefore you can guess how ecstatic I am when I come across a book where these stereotypes are torn to pieces. I don't need fairytales endings and super bright heroes. Because you know, I don't really like them most of the time.Why don't I give 5 stars to the plot then? Because in my opinion it stays quite unoriginal for a fantasy book, and sometimes the fact that it's a setup for the second book is obvious. Anyway, I find myself wildly eager to learn what will happen in the sequel, now that the die has been cast. The characters, though. Guys! The characters! These little bastards made my day. As you might have understood, none of them is likeable. Of course I love them all, what do you think? As Logen would say, let's be a little realistic here : I wouldn't want to meet them in a millions years - but the truth is, it's almost never the case with my favorite characters, because I have the bad habit of falling in love with characters who share a questionable sense of morality.Lately I realized that the only multi-POV I can handle are fantasy ones, and I really think that's because the characterization is amazing in these cases : from Robin Hobb to Abercrombie, every character is fleshed-out and above that, has a different voice.▩ Logen. Meet this disillusioned warrior. Hey, you have to be realistic about these things. Give him a knife and watch. Isn't he amazing? "Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I've earned it. I've deserved it."Well, now, I said he was disillusioned, didn't I? ▩ Jezal. Talk about a selfish witty brat. Okay, he's quite the little whining shit. Slap him hard because he deserves it, but loves him anyway, because... Erm.... he's kind of brave and made me smile so big ... Erm ... I think? Oh, come on, look at this beautiful declaration :"Look, (...), I know you think I'm an ass and, well, I daresay I am, but I don't plan always to be one."Are you impressed yet? No? Okay. Sigh. You've got work to do, little Jezal. ▩ Bayaz, The powerful wizard. God, how I enjoyed his sarcasm! "My help?" interrupted Bayaz. "You presume too much.""But you - ""Oh, that." The Magus shrugged. "I am a liar."▩ Glokta. Last but not least, tremble before him, here comes... Body found floating by the docks... the great torturer! I'm not gonna lie, I feel like I'm supposed to hate him somehow... I mean, the guy cuts fingers for a living for crying out loud! But I adored his cynicism, and in the end, he's probably my favorite so far, because he's maybe the most complex of all, and I love me some multi-layered characters. "What poet was it who wrote there's no pain worse than the pain of a broken heart? Sentimental shit. He should have spent more time in the Emperor's prisons."Yes, he's my favorite for sure. Or is it Jezal? Or Logen? Damn. I wouldn't be able to make a choice between them to save my life.Finally, in addition to their own awesomeness, the character dynamic is impressive : Astounding dialogues! Complex relationship! Trust issues!► Me. Watch this huge smile spreading on my lips. That's happiness for you. PS : I need to say something about the kiss scene. Her tongue lapped at his teeth? Eww, just eww. Please, don't do this. It's disgusting. For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    2019-02-19 06:40

    March 2016 Reread done and stars re-awarded. *high-fives AbercrombieThis book sucker punched me. I did not expect this level of awesomeness. I did initially give this 5 stars due to superb characters, but downgraded it after some consideration regarding the plot. I know Lord Grimdark is a very popular author, but I had tried one of his books a few years back and did not care for it as much as this one. It was good, but that was just where it stopped for me.This book though, hit all the right notes. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into it, but by then I was thoroughly immersed. Loved most of the characters and for different reasons. They seem to be able to surprise you with the unexpected just when you think you know them. Some were asses. Some were wicked and some were just plain freaking bad-ass. And one was Sand dan Glokta. This guy rocked this book. I could quote so many lines.... (Must.Not.Spoil.For.Others.)Mostly this book IS about the characters, rather than showing us all the cards where the plotline is concerned. And although the overall arc seems to be secondary to setting up the world and its characters, Mr Abercrombie has done enough to keep me reading. Might be that he has just started the ball rolling, and we are about to hit the downhill slope! Even if the plot does get stuck a bit, he has given us a fantastic character pool to keep us entertained. Really looking forward to the next one in this series.PS:The little bit of history interspersed throughout was also SO interesting. Really wish I could find out more about the past of this world. Would not mind reading a prequel on the whole Kanedias/Juvens story or even a different story set in that period.Seems like so much knowledge has been lost in the time since the Euz brothers passed from this world.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-02-22 02:54

    Onvan : The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) - Nevisande : Joe Abercrombie - ISBN : 575079797 - ISBN13 : 9780575079793 - Dar 517 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2006

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2019-02-27 00:36

    Sale Alert: Kindle Daily Deal on 08Sep17 on Amazon for $2.99Buddy read starting 7/25/14 with Athena, Alexa, Kat Stark, Jessica,Jennifer and Eon‘History is littered with dead good men.’Do you like morally ambiguous characters? Do you want to read something where there is no clear ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ persons, where people and their motivations are a mystery for the most part? If you love fantasies that focus on the characters a little more than the world building then this is totally for you.There is not one Mary Sue character in the bunch. Of the two main female characters one drinks a little much, swears like a sailor and isn’t afraid to hand you your ass, the other is a stone cold killer. The men are just as diverse. Logen has a brutal and bloody past“There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.”And he is willing to take that punishment when the First Magis, Bayaz finds him and asks for his help. You are never quite sure what you are dealing with when working with Bayaz. Sometimes he seems almost fatherly or grandfatherly but then other times he is just downright scary. He definitely has a plan and through most of this book he was just bringing his group of misfits together to travel on and possibly cause a lot of mayhem and havoc.Then there is a completely different cluster of characters living in a city with a mad king and a magic tower that has been locked for centuries. Jazel’s main worry in life is training for a tournament that should set him politically for life. He was so easy to hate in the beginning, but much like Han Solo he might be redeemable in the end.And Then There is Glotka I never knew whether I liked him or hated him. He has had a tortured life, like literally and now he is the torturer.“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”Being inside this characters head was a trip to say the least and I hated loving him and loved hating him. But he knows that monster he is and the political game that he is playing could get him killed at any time.The strong point of this story is the characters and the complexity of their actions. While things were happening constantly and I was totally cast into this story I will admit that there isn’t a lot of plot as of yet. It seems more like this is Part I of a 1500 page book. But now that we have met everyone and the stones have been cast I imagine the next book will have more plot details happening.Recommended for people who like there fantasy a little on the grungy side.

  • Jon
    2019-03-06 00:45

    4 stars

  • Siobhan
    2019-03-08 05:51

    The whole book was great, but the last 7 chapters were f*cking GOLD!!If all grimdark is this funny I need more of it in my life. I laughed, I cried, I shit my pants... What more could you ask for??

  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell
    2019-03-01 05:02

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestHilariously, I read THE BLADE ITSELF alongside SUMMER OF THE UNICORN, and while both are fantasy novels, just look at those covers and guess who the targeted audience for each is. Yeah, I thought so. Now imagine THE BLADE ITSELF with a hero (let's go with Bayaz) and a heroine (Ferro?) clad in scanty clothes, miming sexual positions around a sword plunged into the middle of a scenic wood populated by deer...and Shanka.This NEEDS to happen!My first encounter with this author was with his book, HALF A KING, which I thought was okay. It felt a lot like a blend of Robert Louis Stevenson and George R. R. Martin, and while I thought the story was interesting, the pacing was terrible. The ending, especially, dragged like nobody's business, and I had to force myself to read the book in time for my book club.I actually owned books 2 and 3 in The First Law series for about five, six years now, but never started them because I was lacking a book 1. Recently, it went on sale for $1.99 and I one-clicked that switch immediately, because at last, my collection was complete (mwa-ha-ha). When my friend Mary agreed to do a buddy read with me, knowing her penchant for fantasy I thought this would be a winner. Plus, my brain gets super lazy when it sees a page count that exceeds 500. Buddy reads are a super handy tool for corralling lazy brains into reading long books - two birds, one stone! Let it be so!Now I have finished THE BLADE ITSELF, and I find myself in the same position as I was after I finished HALF A KING. The story was good, and the characters were complex, but the pacing was awful. The beginning was so tedious that I remember thinking to myself, "I wonder how much Mary will hate me if I put this book down slowly and pick up a bodice ripper instead?" (Spoiler: Probably not at all, Mary is super cool.) But I have a modicum of honor, so I forced myself to keep reading and the book (very gradually) got better as other characters entered the fray.I'm not sure how to summarize the book except to say that it's a lot like GAME OF THRONES, in the sense that it is about a kingdom that has been plagued by war in the past and has a new threat looming on the horizon. This kingdom is called Angland and the threat is coming from the North. The main characters are Logen (a barbarian soldier); Bayaz, a bald-headed, legendary magician; Glokta, a promising soldier who was tortured horrendously and now leads inquisitions involving torture himself; Jezal, a spoiled rich boy soldier, and the fantasy equivalent of a whiny frat boy; and Ferro, an escaped slave who is deadly and desperate to escape, even if it means her own death.This book really, really wants to be the next GAME OF THRONES, but I don't think it succeeded very well - at least not in the ways it wanted to. Like GoT, I definitely was interested in some characters more than others, to the point where I'd skim if I'd see certain characters' names (I see you Ferro and Logen). Also, this book suffers from a problem a lot of other fantasy novels written by men have - it doesn't have that many fleshed out female characters. Yes, yes, I know about Ardee and Ferro, but Ferro really didn't feel very complicated to me, she felt like a dude's idea of a "tough girl": personality-less, merciless, and utterly anti-feminine. And then Ardee was kind of the classical manipulative b*tch with daddy issues. I didn't really appreciate that, as a woman.The last time I brought this up about a fantasy novel, I actually had some dude come onto my review and mansplain fantasy to me. Did I not know that women are not the intended audiences of fantasy novels, he asked, mansplainingly, because that is not the "domain" of women. Or something like that. I forget the exact words. LOL, maybe the problem isn't that women aren't interested in fantasy; maybe the problem is that we don't see ourselves reflected in any of the characters, so we have to stick with books that have titles like SUMMER OF THE UNICORN (which, incidentally, is not a bad book, and is certainly a much better book than anything written by Heinlein, who is as trashy as all-get-out and yet, bizarrely, his work is regarded as literary by some - wtf?).My favorite characters to read about were probably Bayaz and Jezal. I felt sorry for Glokta, but all his obscene gum-licking and his constant gripes about stairs (LOL, but seriously, I think every time his narrative was mentioned, he talked about the stairs at least once) made him feel a bit one-note. The scenes where he shone were the torture scenes (which are graphic and disgusting - you have been warned) and the scenes where he seems vulnerable, like when his past comes up or when he softens a bit towards Ardee and West. I found that touching. Logen was boring, but he wasn't a bad character. Ferro was irritating, for the reasons I outlined earlier. The best scenes in this book were probably the journey into the tower and the sword-fighting duels; Abercrombie is good at writing sword fights.Did I enjoy this book? Yeah, more or less. I'd read books 2 and 3 since I already own them, but I don't think I liked this book enough that I'd rush out and buy the sequels if I didn't own them already. It wasn't bad, though, and the world-building grows on you as you read. I hear that books 2 and 3 really gain steam and become darker yet, so I guess I'll have to wait and see what Abercrombie comes up with next.2.5 to 3 stars

  • Nimrod Daniel
    2019-03-03 06:00

    It’s been a long time that I’m anticipating to start reading Abercrobie’s books, because they sound very appealing to me. To my surprise I didn’t find it dark nor grim as I thought, there’s lots of good humor and the atmosphere is relatively “calm” without any imminent cataclysm, or a world in the brink of total destruction. The world changes, but it looks like that it would take some time until we’ll witness dramatic changes in the world. As I see it, it’s more *light* fantasy than dark fantasy so far :)Characters - One of Joe’s strength is his characters, they feel like real characters, and think like “real” humans and not like the classic heroes (maybe the flawed version of them), they get cynical, happy, lazy, angry, afraid, mad, jealous, funny, yearn etc, and just feel real.Magic System - There’s magic in the world, but it looks like it’s slowly diminishes within time. We only get some glimpses of knowledge about the role of magic in the world, but we still don’t know that much about it and I expect the next book to reveal much more information regarding the magic – how it works and what it’s limitation.World building – The world-building is quite good. Not too fancy in here (yet), and there's a lot to be revealed in the following books. Basically there are 3 main cultures – one is similar to the medieval European culture, another one is similar to the European barbarians, and the third feels like the ottoman empire. War between those cultures is very imminent as it seems.Plot – Interesting things always happen in this book, and the pace is great, but if I think how much the plot had evolved through the whole book, then I can say that we just finished exposition to the series. For the matter of fact, I find it satisfying because we had a great opportunity to get a better feel of the world and characters, and its length was just perfect.Bottom line – I really enjoyed reading this book, the characters, the pace, and the writing were all great. Reducing half a star due to lack of super-awesome plot is inevitable, but I remember that it’s only the first book out of trilogy so it doesn’t bother me at all.4.5/5

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-03-21 02:36

    1 1/2I had avoided this book for awhile, despite all the good things I'd heard about it, primarily because I was afraid that the "gritty realism" proclaimed about in the book amounted to "bleak and disheartening". I read for entertainment, and I don't read to be depressed about the darker parts of human nature, because I'm quite familiar with them already, quite frankly, and so I saw this book and thought "not for me".But, still, when you see a book recommended by, seemingly, everyone, time and time again, you can't help but be a little curious, even if in a morbid kind of way.And then this book was voted in for the BotM in one of the groups I'm in, and I was assured by a friend who read the book that it was more gritty in the (paraphrasing) "sweat and violence and man sort of things" and not in the aforementioned "bleak and disheartening" kind of way. So I gave it a whirl.Well, I can say this for it - it's not bleak and disheartening, unless you count being disheartned by being so underwhelmed by a book so lauded by so many people.So I suppose I best actually talk about the book at some point.In short, this book reads like the sort of typical "gather your party" type thing, but that's all that it is. 500-some-odd pages of introduction and set-up. I saw someone else compare it to being like if you were reading LotR and the first book ended right as the Fellowship was preparing to leave Rivendell. I'll agree with that, and add to it that it's more like if the bits before Rivendell, bloated as they were in LotR, would be further bloated by getting character portrayals - thoughts and feelings and bits of background - of Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Boromir before we meet them. (i.e. We would see Legolas in the forest, with his people. We would get glimpses into his personality, we would travel with him to Rivendell, so on and so forth.)And, you know, that might even be interesting if it was done well. But when every encounter you have with a character is pretty much the same as the last encounter you had with him, with some minor differences, then it starts to feel less like "character development" and more like boring redundancy.Also, one part of the story which is lauded by others is the awesome action sequences. I guess they were written competently enough - at least I was generally able to follow/visualize what was going on, which is a problem I encounter a lot when authors write action - but what I never felt was any real suspense. Probably because I didn't care all that much who lived or died, but also because I pretty much "knew" how the fights would end when they began, and I was never wrong. All-in-all the story suffered from predictability a lot. Not to mention amateurish writing and hackneyed dialogue.But, anyway, it wasn't all bad. I did, actually, quite like the character of Glokta. Well, ok, maybe "like" isn't the right word, but I found him interesting enough and I'm curious to see what becomes of him.I also generally like West and Ardee, and Bayaz had his moments.I might read the next in the series. Now that the set-up is finally over, I can hope that the next one moves along at a better pace, and that things actually get rolling. I've also been promised that there's character development and intrigue and things which are occassionally glimpsed in this book, which promises the potential for more.And I've been told that the writing improves, too, and that can only be a good thing.So, while this book ends up pretty low in my rating, I probably will read the next one at some point. (Afterall, I do already have a copy of it, so it seems a waste not to.) I can't see myself rushing to get to it, though.

  • Jokoloyo
    2019-02-23 00:42

    TLDR part, before review:I recommend to read First Law from Book 1 (The Blade Itself) to Book 3 (Last Argument of Kings) as soon as possible. There are details from Book 1 that still relevant until the end of Book 3. And it is basically one book in three volumes. I perceived some reviewers that only read the first book only rated lower ratings, because the story at the end of Book 1 is not finished.Now, the review...I praise this low-fantasy series, because the unusual POV characters. Most of the POV characters in this book usually pictured as villains in other stories. But when you read this series, I am convinced you will LOVE some of those POVs. In what other novel you set a cynical torturer, a proud and corrupt young officer, a sociopath bandit, and an aging barbarian(view spoiler)[ with multiple personality (hide spoiler)] as protagonists? And there are interesting minor characters too.Despite the tons of brutality in the story, there are some humours found here and there. And they are really hilarious. I have no idea how the author could balance delicately between humour and bloody violence.Some people see this series as a dark fantasy, as illustrated by Darey Dawn in DA:Some people see this series as a light story as illustrated by missqueenmob in DA:["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Stjepan Cobets
    2019-02-19 05:47

    The book that made me read it until two hours after midnight, and I had to wake up at five because I had to go to work. Trust me when the book drew you into the story, you certainly will not stop reading. The story is great and just drew me to read it. Even though I was short of time to read, I used every moment of my free time to read it until the end. Writer Joe Abercrombie in this book collected the troupe of characters who are literally not just ordinary. From the very first magician Bayaz which is all but ordinary magi, Logen Ninefinger fearsome warriors from the north, the best swordsman in Union Jezal and dangerous dark-skinned woman warrior Ferro. These are anything but ordinary companions. There are so many twists in the book that you can not expect what's going to happen next. Every lover of fantasy books this is a reading that can not be missed. The author has created a world that simply fantastic and with pleasure I read two sequels.

  • Evgeny
    2019-03-11 03:39

    Northern barbarian Logen Ninefingers tries to stay alive in the wilderness while being pursued by his enemies. When he receives a message that a powerful wizards looks for him, he decides to take a job even without having a clue what the said job is about.In the southern capital of the Union (this is the name of a kingdom) a crippled inquisitor Glokta does his job - a little too enthusiastically. He used to be a dashing military officer, but several years being a prisoner of war made him practically handicapped with the only good thing that came out of this is his current ability to scare his prisoners by his appearance even before the interrogation. In the same city a young officer Jezal trains for an upcoming fencing tournament. He does not like the training, but has to take at as his reach father has high hopes for him.This is how the tale starts. Some more characters introduced later and they and the ones above meet and interact with each other. The first thing noticeable right away is the quality of writing: it really shines and up there with the best examples of fantasy genre. There are no clumsy passages, bad or forced dialogs, and so on. After a while one also notices the quality of written characters. The majority of them feel like real people - they act and talk naturally, even the ones with minimal screen time. I can only think of two exceptions where I felt major characters were somewhat wooden (Major West and his sister), but considering this is only the first book of the trilogy they still have time to develop.Several other things of note: I finally found a realistic description of absolute monarchy with all its corruption, decadence, and power fights. Utopian absolute monarchy with a nice kind king became a fantasy cliche started by none other than Tolkien, but as the real history shows it is not realistic and never lasts long. I also finally found an ancient great wizard - the greatest living - who shows his humanity and does not behave like a demigod who occasionally teaches mere mortals bits of wisdom; the examples are too numerous: Gandalf, Dambledore, Pug, Ged come to mind right away.So why 4-star rating then? The book feels like a giant prolog for the things to come. There is a huge buildup, but nothing exciting happens until the last couple of chapters and even then it feels like a warm-up. Glokta keeps doing his routine job, Jezal keeps practicing, etc. I was able to put down this book at any time without any regret. The buildup I mentioned kept me interesting and hopeful; I began reading the second book of the trilogy right away in anticipation. This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/867675...

  • Lema
    2019-03-04 02:42

    This is definitely one of those awesome non-typical fantasy novel, there's no knight in shining armor, there's no maniacally laughing villain, there's no battle of good against evil, and I honestly still have no idea what the hell is going on!Some art from the series comic adaptationEven though this book read more like a giant prologue than an actual installment of its own, I loved it to pieces.. Yes, it was slow at times, yes you feel like nothing much has happened overall, but damn it if those characters weren't among the finest I've ever read about!I was just happy following them in there day-to-day life, learning more about their qualities and flaws (and holy crap there was a bucketload of those!). Take for example Jezal, the pompous git who reminded me of a more competent version of Gilderoy Lockhart, or maybe Prince Adam before he became the Beast. I found myself loving that little shit despite his arrogance and self-importance.Another shining star was Logen Ninefingers aka the Bloody Nine, the brute savage, despite following him for a good chunk of the book, we only find out more about him near the end, which adds more intrigue and mystery to him. And can we talk about how hilarious it was when he finally arrived to civilization and was terrified by a fountain?!And finally comes my baby Glokta, the best swordsman who ever lived, turned Inquisitor and torturer after he lost nearly everything following a horrifying stay in the Emperor's prisons. He's sarcastic, he's self-loathing and just a tad morbidly depressed, but he limped his way deep into my heart <3 Definitely my favorite character, and the one factor that kept me wanting to read more and more of this masterpiece despite its slow pace!Of course, there's a whole crew of amazing side characters, all three dimensional with some twists and turns. The writing was witty and straight-forward, descriptive just to the right degree to immerse you in the world of the Midderland but not bore you witless.So all in all, I loved this dark and twisted story and thank goodness I bought the whole trilogy in one go because I immediately ran to pick up the second book!