BOOK RECAP | THE BLADE ITSELF BY JOE ABERCROMBIE

EVERYTHING IN THIS POST IS A SPOILER!!

My Review to this book can be found here.

If you haven’t already got your copy of this book then you can pick one up here.

A few facts about THE BLADE ITSELF:

  • Title: The Blade Itself
  • Author:  Joe Abercrombie
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 515

IN SHORT:

Logen is separated from his crew, he is guided by the spirits to meet Bayaz. He does, they piss off Bethod and journey to Adua. Jezal is training for a fencing contest, meanwhile getting down and dirty with his friend Collem West’s sister. Glokta is off on a merry adventure eliminating all the people who prevent Arch Lector Sult from gaining power. Jezal wins his contest, he is awarded by being sent on a mission with Bayaz, Logen and Malacus.

Add The Blade Itself to your Goodreads or to see a book summary.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BLADE ITSELF?

The Blade Itself opens with Logan Ninefingers plunging through the Northern Hinterlands, after being split from his crew whom he assumes are all dead. He is fleeing from Shanka, after fighting one successfully he is then up against another in which heat the Shanka fall over the edge of a cliff.

PART ONE:

Then we meet Glokta, cripple and torturer, a real fine chap. He is going about his day torturing and questioning Rews when he is interrupted and given a task by Arch Lector Sult. He is to add the name of the Master of the Royal Mints to his current guest’s confession. Leading him to his next job, getting a confession from the Master of the Royal Mints too.

Having survived his encounter with the Shanka, and survived his cliff fall Logan speaks with the spirits (something maybe only he can still do, though not for long as the spirits are dwindling) they inform him that Bayaz, the first of the magi, is looking for him.

Then we meet the fine Jezal dan Luther, the rich and arrogant nobleman, he is hustling his friends out of their money until he remembers he has fencing practice for his upcoming fencing contest. He practices, poorly, and then leaves to drink, not so poorly. At his next practice his close friend West enlists his help with his sister, Ardee West, who upon meeting Jezal is soon smitten with despite his initial judgments of her.

Meanwhile in the Hinterland Logan meets Malacus Quai, an apprentice of Bayaz, and they set off together to meet Bayaz.

Having all the confessions needed Arch Lector Sult has consolidated his power somewhat and has moved his pawns in the longer game plan. He enlists the help of Glokta, and asks that he take down the Guild of Mercers in a bid to increase his own power and reduce the strength of the loathsome nobles.

Logan and Malacus finally reach their destination and meet Bayaz, nearly straight away their introduction is interrupted by the arrival of Bethod’s son who Bayaz dismisses. Bethod soon arrives himself to seek Bayaz’s help in his upcoming war, Bayaz refuses his help and the two part way no longer allies but enemies.

Back in Adua, Glokta is still doing Arch Lector Sult’s bidding, though it is no easy task as all his leads are dead on his arrival. Bethod has sent a delegation to Adua to talk of peace, only the peace is conditional. In open council word has arrived that Bayaz will make his way to Adua and Bethod’s delegation challenge the Aduan council to a duel, refused they go their separate way.

Back in the North we are introduced to The Dogman and Logan’s not so dead crew. After an encounter with more Shanka, The Dogman and his crew realise things are worse I the North than they thought and decide they have to warn people of the Shanka’s presence.

Glokta soon has what he needs by way of a confession, legally obtained through no means of deceit and lies. Right, because that is the truth. Anywho, Glokta’s current detainee has agreed to testify in open council.

After making an enemy of Bethod, Logan, Malacus and Bayaz set off south. It isn’t long before they are under attack from some of Bethod’s men, not one to take their previous insult lightly, he has them ambushed. Bayaz however, has other plans in mind and deals with their attackers by using his magic.

PART TWO:

Part two of The Blade Itself opens with a new character introduction, and we meet Ferro Maljinn, an escaped slave of the Gurkish. Ferro is then found by Yulwei, another magi. After much posturing the two set off together evading the Gurkish as they go to Adua. Though on their travels Yelwei notices many Gurkish ships and speeds up considerably.

In Adua, it is time for a meeting of the open council, most of the main players are present and shit is about to hit the fan. Arch Lector Sult accuses the Guild of Mercers of evading the kings taxes and the whole meeting ends in an uproar with many worried for their own purses and their noble arses which are now on the line. Glokta soon enters with his recent detainee whom, after much torture and conditioning, reports on the guilds activities giving Arch Lector Sult just what he needs. The guild of Mercers is found guilty of treason. Glokta and the soldiers are then tasked with arresting the higher ups of the guild. One particular higher up would rather die than fall into the hands of Glokta, though just before topping himself he implicates the Bank of Valint and Balk, the Council and the University.

Since Ardee made Jezal look like the arse he truly is and calling him out on his petty self-centred bullshit he has vastly improved his fencing, now showing promise and not being the lazy arse we all know him to be. He might actually have a chance at winning the upcoming contest. West is also going up in the world and is promoted by Lord Marshal Burr to his personal staff for the upcoming war.

Logan, Bayaz and Malacus soon arrive in Adua, though not exactly looking the part, so the three fit themselves with some new more appropriate attire and go about their intended tasks. Though, despite the new attire the council doesn’t exactly give them the warmest of welcomes.

After all his hard work, Glokta is still not really winning in life. I mean stairs are his worst enemy and he routinely shits himself, so he is never really winning but the guy has worked his little ass off for Sult only to have his previous superior, one he detests promoted over him. Glokta soon enquires as to the last minute accusations against the Bank of Valint and Balk only to be shut down immediately by Sult and told to leave it alone. He is however told to start an investigation into none other than Bayaz and his companions.

Busting for a piss, Logen gets up in the middle of the night searching for a place to relieve himself. During this mini expedition he comes across an apparition of his long dead wife and is right quite shocked and confused. Not one to mess around, and knowing what exactly the apparition was, Bayaz erupts in a fit of magic banishing the apparition and putting a mighty big hole in wall of their rooms.

The following morning Glokta is made aware of Bayaz and Logen’s late night encounter and sets off to investigate and finally meet Bayaz, someone he believes is nothing but a pretender.

After ignoring Ardee now for some time, as a result of West’s little outburst, he is surprised to see a note from her requesting a late night secret meeting. Not the wisest time to have her on the mind though as it is time for the first fights of the fencing contest. Jezal is not ready for the Contest and is quite nervous despite his usual arrogance, though once he gets into the grove of his matches he finds he had no reason to be nervous and proceeds to win against his competitors. To which he buggers off to celebrate with his friends, though he soon realises he want to get himself a little nooky! So, despite being quite late sets off to meet Ardee. Surprisingly, she is still there and the two begin to flirt and before long the two are kissing like porn stars.

Back in the North Threetrees and the crew are still making their way south, though they come up with a bright idea to seek out Bethod to warn him of the Shanka presence seen as though he is the only viable option to defend the North.

During Glokta’s investigation into Bayaz he is told of Bayaz’s history, his involvement in the fall of Kanedias and something called the Seed. Not so long after, Glokta comes across a body, it appears as though the body has been eaten, but Glokta’s new superior says it was an animal attack and demands the matter be left alone.

It is not long before Jezal is in the final match of the contest. He is up against Gorst, the expected winner of the contest.

Watching the contest Bayaz, Logan and Malacus make their observations as to the fighters. Logen thinks Gorst will win and Bayaz thinks Jezal will win, the two place bets. Though, Malacus is quick to advise against such foolish things, no one wins against a magus.

Everyone is seemingly in attendance, Glokta is watching the contest the same as Bayaz and Logen, and Jezal is a participating in the contest and getting his ass beat by Gorst.

Not one to lose a bet Bayaz uses his magic to help Jezal win.

At the champions dinner everyone is uncomfortable in some way or another and it is only made worse by Arch Lector Sult quizzing Bayaz. Bayaz then exclaims, after being pushed by Sult, that he is to enter the House of the Maker with none other than Jezal and Glokta. He also uses his magic to embarrass Sult and vanishing the chair he is sat on.

Bayaz, Jezal and Glokta make their way to the House of the Maker within the University. They search the house to which Bayaz, much to Glokta’s displeasure, shows a wide knowledge of the House and its history. Before long, and after much walking, the group leave the house.

After their encounter with the eaters and much travelling Ferro and Yulwei arrive in Adua and meet Bayaz. The initial meeting doesn’t go swimmingly and Ferro cracks Bayaz, for being a shit, despite this she soon agrees to work with him.

After having beaten this shit out of his sister, Collem West makes his way to Glokta’s home, the only person he feels he can trust with his sisters care while he is away fighting in Angland. Glokta initially refuses to help West in any way as he never made an effort with him after his return, after two years of being tortured. West soon explains he did, Glokta’s mother sent him away too many times. Somewhat shocked and awed by this new found news Glokta agrees to care for Ardee while West is away at war.

Soon, Dogman’s crew make the decision to send Forley the weakest of their crew to warn Bethod. It doesn’t go to plan, he is beheaded by Bethod’s men and the crew decide they will join whoever is against Bethod, which just so happens to be the Union.

Jezal, along with his comrades, are ready to set sail to Angland and make a name for himself in the coming war. Though, not for long a herald soon orders him to a meeting with the High Justice. Jezal is confronted by many high ranking officials and is told of a great journey he is to go on, with none other than Bayaz.

HOW DID THE BLADE ITSELF END?

Just as Jezal, Bayaz, Malacus, Brother Longfoot, Logen and Ferro are to set off on their journey Ferro is nowhere to be found. Shocker. Logen sets out to bring her back only to find she is being bothered by three practicals. A fight breaks out and soon Ferro and Logen are fighting and running for their lives, during this we see Logen’s other half, his alter-ego…the bloody nine. He is a monstrous killing machine who doesn’t know friend from foe and it isn’t long before they are surrounded by blood and gore of all his victims. They make it back to the ship but are pursued again. Bayaz bollock naked and not to impressed at being interrupted literally blows up one of the practicals.

Meanwhile Glokta has been sent on a new errand in which he has been promoted to Superior but not of Adua, of Dagoska.


There we have it guys and gals my very first book recap, and a fairly details one at that! This took its sweet merry time but I actually quite enjoyed reliving the book again even though I have only just read it! Watch out for more recaps, I will be sure to finish this series off!

Thank you for reading and please, as this is my first recap, let me know if you have any constructive criticism. If your going to be a dick though…keep it to yourself!


BOOK REVIEW | THE BLADE ITSELF BY JOE ABERCROMBIE & NARRATED BY STEVEN PACEY

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

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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 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 Glokta 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.

Review:

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.


THE RANKS: 

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.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!