Hello Bookish Folk!
I finally joined the party. I finally read one of Joe Abercrombie’s famed and well loved adult books.
I have read his Shattered Sea Trilogy and I really enjoyed them but a lot of people reviewed it lower than his adult books and said it was a watered down version, I still really enjoyed them and for me it was a great introduction to his writing.
A few facts about The Blade Itself:
- Title: The Blade Itself
- Author: Joe Abercrombie
- Narrated by: Steven Pacey
- Series: The First Law (Book One)
- Published by Gollancz
- Pages: 515
- Narration Length: 22 hrs and 15 mins
Here are a few things you can expect from The Blade Itself:
- Flawed yet utterly loveable and compelling characters;
- The most character driven book I think I have ever read;
- Waring peoples;
- A grumpy ass mage;
- A slower pace; but
- A seriously enjoyable book!
A little bit about the narration…
Firstly, I would like to say that Steven Pacey is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I didn’t overly love the sample when I first listened to it, it wasn’t bad but as a newb listener to audiobooks I wasn’t sure I could actually listen to it. I listened to the sample three times to try and get a feel for it. I don’t really know why I did, I guess I appreciated his voice and tone but wasn’t sure if it was for me. Alas, I decided to jus pick it up and I am really glad I did.
I have already demolished book two and I am currently maybe three hours or so into book three of this trilogy and I LOVE listening to Steven Pacey. I honestly cant fault anything with the narration and I really bloody hope he narrates all Abercrombie’s books!
On to the full review…
I was going to say I don’t really know where to start with this review because so many have already reviewed this and it will be hard to say much different than what I imagine has already been said, but I’m not one to pass up any opportunity to talk. I’m just not about that life, you know!
I’m going to start this review with the BEST thing about this book, it only seems right…
Logen Ninefingers. Bayaz. Sand dan Glokta. Jezal dan Luther. Collem West. Ardee West. The Dogman.
Abercrombie does a damn fine job of creating his characters. He focussed on the creation of his characters and it paid off! All of his charters are so well written and they are a pleasure to read! You are totally invested in everything they do, even when they are simply staring at themselves in a mirror relishing their good looks and spectacular man jaw.
I have no issue with a character driven books and find them to be my favourite reads when they are done well, and this book is done well. All of the characters are so well crafted that you don’t care that the plot is slow, you don’t care that what they’re actually doing is a little boring. I genuinely think I could read the most mundane and boring day in eternity if it was from Logen POV, he is incredible!
This is also the first grimdark book I have read, I have read books that have darker themes and those that toe the line of grimdark but this is my first legit grimdark. The grimness was there and the gore was there but as this is my first I don’t have much to compare it too, I certainly didn’t expect as much humour. I found myself chuckling a fair amount through this book be it a witty remark, a characters vein comments as to their beauty or the sarcasm but I laughed a hell of a lot in this.
Abercrombie’s prose…well they are spot on! His writing is expressive, captivating and easy to follow. Also, now I don’t know if this is in the writing or the narration but, you always know who you are reading before the writing even mentions a name to set the POV. It may have been both, Abercrombie has his characters voices well established and so does Pacey in his narration.
The world-building was incredibly well done too, Abercrombie writes it in a way that the characters almost make the world, more so than any elaborate descriptions do. The characters tell you enough about their surroundings to paint a vivid picture of their location, which are all different for most of the characters.
The Blade itself is definitely a foundational book, it sets up everything you need to know and more for the rest of your journey with Logen, Glokta and Jezel. It’s a pretty bold move too, in order for Abercrombie to have achieved such meticulous detail and fully establish his characters with such depth he inevitably had to slow things down and that can alienate a good few readers. For that however, I don’t think Abercrombie’s really gives a glittering shit! And rightly fucking so. Not much really happens and you still love the book, love the world, the characters and the whole bloody experience. If that isn’t one of the finer examples of talent then I don’t really know what is.
I don’t really know what else to say, this book is a great first book and it sets a solid foundation for what I expect to end up a brilliant series. It is home to some of the best characters I have had the pleasure of reading and it has a decent dose of humour.
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I always wonder how to rate a book when I listened to the audiobook because I will then continue to listen to the rest via audiobook because were I to read this book again I would again listen to it over reading it. Though saying that I do like having the option to bounce between them. So, i’m going to rate this as if I hadn’t listened to it via audiobook and tell you to BUY THE FREAKING HARDBACK.
I would grab this in hardback for several reasons, one of which is that the characters are amazing and they are one of the finest examples of what a character should be in a book. They come off the pages and take a seat in your thoughts even when you are not reading this book.
I have also read book two and I am a little way into book three, and I know how much I am enjoying them so that definitely influences this rating too.