I am finally back, I feel like I haven’t written a review or one of my features in such a long time! But hey, a girl has to have some time off over the holidays, right?! Lord knows I didn’t get it at work.
Today I am going to be reviewing not one but two books. I always find it hard to review books the further into the series I get because a lot of the time the same praises from book one still stand and so I just end up repeating myself. So, to avoid that I am going to review book two and three of the First Law Trilogy together and it will likely be a wee bit shorter. Maybe.
A few facts about Book Two and Book Three of The First Law Trilogy:
Titles: Book Two | Before They Are Hanged & Book Three | Last Argument of Kings
Here are a few things you can expect from these two books:
Books that live up to the hype;
Dry and witty humour;
Remarkable characters you can’t help but root for despite their lack of morality;
Exceptional storytelling; and
Epic bloody battles.
On to the review…
I finally made my way to this series, and I finished it. Shit, folks, I gobbled this up like a woman starved.
I’m so glad I listened to the audiobooks, I have so many books I HAVE to read that I allow audiobooks to be MY books and because of that I was able to go through the trilogy one book after another!
Both Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings are such good books. Abercrombie set up an incredible set of characters in The Blade Itself and they continue to shine in the following books and remain so captivating. They have so many positives and they are so well crafted, none seem out of place in the world Abercrombie creates including the tone of the book too, while not coming across as copies of each other or too dark. He teases you with a glimmer of hope for al of his characters, whether they get it or not is a whole other kettle of fish.
The plot in books two and three certainly picks up, and shows a good degree more progression than book one. It takes unpredictable turns and stays true to its gritty and darker tone while still keeping one of my favourite aspects…the humour. I was chatting in a forum about The First Law the other day and got to talking about the British feel to Abercrombie’s writing and it is true for the humour too. It is that dry and witty humour the I just cannot get enough of!
Something Abercrombie really excels at in this trilogy is his ability to write brilliant action. I have seen so many YouTube videos about ‘action packed’ books and Abercrombie always popped up. Though, having not read them I was like ‘mmm, can it be that good’…
So, yeah. It is that good. From the larger battles to the close quarters combat, he does it so well. It is vivid and terrifying and done oh in such a brilliant way the action jumps from the pages.
From book one right through to book three you see such growth. Book one is arguably my favourite and it is such a foundational book. Book two moved forward with such amazing relationship building and character depth and the book three solidly concludes everything, it ties up all little threads superbly.
I’m not really sure if I can say anything beyond what the masses have already said for book one, two or three! Just know Abercrombie is a fab writer, he is stupidly talented and these books are simply brilliant.
***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***
If you haven’t already got your copy of this book then you can pick one up here.
Before They Are Hanged opens with The Dogman, still travelling southwards when him and his crew stumble upon a recent battle with bodies strewn everywhere. I guess that means Bethod is ploughing southwards to and with little resistance from Union sops. Which a little bit over is causing West and Lord Marshall Burr quite a headache. After the loss to the Union West and Burr, among other petty nobles who care more for bickering with each other than winning the war, get to deciding on a strategy.
West and Burr bugger off on a ride only to be ambushed by The Dogman and his crew. Turns out they didn’t quite like the reception they got from the Union and sought to take matters into their own hands forcing an audience with the lead sop to offer their aid.
Meanwhile Glokta is now living the fine life in Dagoska, poverty, sadistic inquisitors, seedy council members and more. What is not to love? Glokta then begins his investigation into the death of his predecessor. Glokta soon meets the governing council and much to his shock they don’t want him there. He is happy however to float around his power and whip the ship into shape.
Jezal, Bayaz, Logen, Ferro, Brother Longfoot and Malacus are now on their way to the end of the world. While passing through Calcis the group separate, and also disguise as merchants though not to any success as they are soon intercepted and given three days to leave. Bayaz, being the high-rate magi he is, gets his grump on and says they will leave right away.
Glokta takes a tour of Dagoska, as he suspected it is paradise…the walls are crumbling, there is a Gurkish horde on the horizon, supplies have stopped coming in and he has very few soldiers to defend Dagoska, half of which are drunken mercenaries who will switch sides to the highest paying boss at any time! One of which is Cosca.
Having left Calcis Bayaz and company make their way to Darmium, on their travels Ferro tries to get more information from Bayaz. He isn’t very forthcoming, and Ferro is pissed. Pissed enough to leave. Though when she tries to leave Logen persuades her to stay, a start to a wholesome and healthy relationship…
Back in Dagoska, Glokta is making the rounds of the governing council and trying to figure out who is likely to off him as they did he predecessor. He approaches Kahdia, needing as much help as he can Glokta promises him the Great Temple and Upper City access in exchange for soldiers and workers. His meeting with Harker reveals his predecessor was extorting the natives. Last but not least Glokta visits Elder, the true ruler of Dagoska, she is surprisingly supportive and while not offering financial aid does agree to give him the Great Temple. It’s the little wins in life.
During Logen’s journey he struggles with the lack of camaraderie amongst his companions, knowing he will need them to have his back in any coming fights. He slowly brings the crew closer together and carefully curates much needed camaraderie amongst them. Lord knows it is needed when Bayaz insists on throwing curve balls left, right and centre! Like changing the groups travel plans. Guess they are to just going to have to fly over the River Aos.
West, having been sent to be a part of Prince Ladisla’s regiment, is shocked to see it in such a poor state and so he slowly remedies it by acquiring some new hands, namely Pike and Cathil. West also sent The Dogman and the crew out scouting, not expecting to find much and moaning about their dwindling glory until they stumble upon a wee little adversary, known as BETHOD’S ARMY!
After being told by Sult that Glokta will not receive any aid from back home and has to make do with what he has already, he has no option but to make a deal with none other than the Bank of Valint and Balk. Though, not his strangest visitor, soon Glokta is visited in the dead of night by Yulwei. Yulwei tells Glokta the Gurkish have arrived, that they have ships and a whole host of Eaters and that Eaters killed his predecessor.
It isn’t long before Jezal and the rest of the merry gang are in trouble. Some of Emperor Cabrian’s men find them and attempt to bring them to him. Bayaz huffs and puffs and blows them all away, and then collapses himself. So, that leaves Logen in charge.
West finds himself in quite the predicament, having thought they were merely the rearguard he is soon surprised when Threetrees and Dogman tell him Bethod here. West thinks a withdrawal is needed, but Ladisla thinks a full blown assault is best. It isn’t.
In Dagoska, a Gurkish emissary arrives. He is met by the ruling council behind Glokta back, though he manages to tun up just in time. The misery offers passage to them but he wants the city, Glokta’s explains he will consider it. Instead he takes the emissary into custody and questions him. Turns out that Vurms, the Lord Governor of Dagoska’s son, and Elder are the traitors.
Ferro and the group continue on with Bayaz passed out. The group are still being followed since their last little encounter. They agree to fight them rather than try to outrun them. They make their stand but three slip through the cracks and test Jezal’s mettle. he kills two but one comes at him from behind and makes him a little less petty than he was.
As thought, a full blown assault on Bethod isn’t a good plan and they are defeated. West, Cathil, Pike, Ladisla escape only to come upon The Dogman and the crew.
Glokta attends a meeting with Elder, Vurms and Vissbruck. Skulking in the background is the Mercenary soldier Cosca. Glokta throws the head of the emissary and both Elder and Vurms know they have been outed. Vurms panics and Elder relies on her well set plans telling Glokta the gates to the city will have already been opened to the Gurkish by Cosca’s men and that the city will soon fall. Now, it turns out those mercenaries who would switch to the highest paying boss at any point…did.The highest paying boss happened to be Glokta. He then takes Vurms and Elder into custody. Though he is yet to identify the assassin, until it is that the assassin shows herself. It is Shickel, a girl Glokta saved at the start from the Inquisition and employed as his servant. She admits to killing and eating Glokta’s predecessor.
Shickel tries to kill Glokta but fails, his practical capture her and Glokta intends to question her.
Glokta, having a wee soft spot for Elder gives her a second chance at life and sets her on a ship. While Glokta has on that battle the Gurkish are still laying siege to Dagoska, it is the third day and they are losing.
Bayaz is awake and Jezal is having a bit of an epiphany about living a better life and being a better person.
Dogman and company having decided on what to do next, ignoring Ladisla who still thinks he has influence over those around him and insists on going to Ostenhorm. They ignore him and decide on following Bethod and hopefully warning Burr. On their journey Ladisla continues to be a pain in the ass, throwing himself to the floor in fatigue and generally being a whiny little bitch.
Still losing to the Gurkish, Glokta orders everyone to the Upper City ceding the rest to the Gurkish. Soon he is back to questioning Shickel, who is hard to torture considering she heals and doesn’t really feel pain. Despite the failed attempts at torture she tells them of her life, the eaters and that those captured are eaten.
By the fire elsewhere, Bayaz begins to tell the group of his mistakes. He tells them of how he was Juven’s first apprentice though he soon recruited 11 more, including Khalul (religious leader of the Gurkish). They argued, became rivals and eventually had to be separated. Bayaz sought out a new master in Kenedias, the maker. He soon found he fancied Kanedias’ lovely daughter Tolomei. He got down and dirty with Tolomei and Kanedias wasn’t impressed so Bayaz ran away. Having told his tale the rest join in telling stories of their lives.
West and his companions are soon faced with a tough decision, they have very little to get them by but some of Bethod’s men have been spotted. They decide to fight they need what they have. As Ladisla is quite simply shit at everything he does other than being a creep he is left with Cathil away from the fight. It all goes tits up, West bites of some chaps nose and earns the name Furious. West, worried for Ladisla’s safety runs back only to find him trying to rape Cathil. West pushes Ladisla off the cliff.
Glokta is ordered by Arch Lector Sult to return to Adua. With no mention of Vitari, one of his practicals, in the letter she asks Glokta to take her with him. She ends up begging, Glokta revels in it because she is always a bitch to him and finally he relents. Soon Glokta leaves with all his practicals.
Bayaz and the rest of the company soon arrive at Aulcus, and they seem to be the only ones there. Nothing lives there, no birds, people or anything. Ferro demands information about The Seed, Bayaz tells them that the Seed is material from the other side and only Ferro can carry it. The next day the group explores Aulcus some more, and come across a rank smell. Logen knows the smell. The Shanka are here. The group flee but come across more Shanka. Bayaz uses his magic rocking the earth, into which Logen and Ferro fall. They search for a way out I the darkness only to come across more Shanka. They fight and then the Bloody-Nine makes an appearance.
Ferro and Logen are soon shivering away in the dark and being a true gent Logen offers her his coat. To Ferro that is practically a diamond ring and then sex is on the table. There is a lot of awkward decision making and the two go at it! Until Captain Cum-Quick makes an appearance. Though Logen is quick to recharge and him and Ferro get down and dirty in a cave. Th next morning isn’t as sweet and Ferro clocks Logen, the two fall out.
Glokta reached Adua with his practicals and goes to see Ardee, she has been beset upon by debtors. Glokta fixes it and upgrades her old stuff. Sult is unusually happen with the events of Dagoska, and Glokta find out West is missing. Which actually bothers him.
West and the rest of the crew finally reach Burr’s camp and provide him with some much needed intel. West keeps thinking of Cathil and goes to seek her out, only he finds Dogman fast-assing it and storms off but not before stumbling and making his presence known. The next day Dogman, as a result of getting himself some nooky, is volunteered by the rest to scout out Bethod’s base of operations. Dogman comes upon Shivers, turns out he wants to fight Bethod, so Dogman takes him to see Threetrees to decide. He accepts their service and those of the men who follow him.
Glokta, despite returning to Adua, isn’t demoted and instead is joint superior of Adua with Goyle. A Gurkish envoy comes to Adua offering peace and empty chests.
Bayaz and companions, after many days in the mountains the group males it to the Great Western Library. Inside they meet Cawneil and seek out the boat that will get them to their destination of Shabulyan. Ferro and Logen are still humping.
West has a battle meeting with Burr, Kroy and Poulder. With the plans set they go about their orders.
HOW DID BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED END?
Glokta is woken in the middle of the night by Vitari, the Prince of Adua has been killed. Glokta is tasked with investigating it but finds several clues as to the killer, which are very easily found and he has his culprit very quickly. Ambassador Tulkis, the Gurkish emissary. Not convince Glokta seek to investigate further but is shut down by a representative of Valint and Balk. Tulkis is soon found guilty and executed and war with the Gurkish inevitable.
The battle between Bethod and The Union begins, during the battle Burr become very ill! In response West covers it up and proceeds with his orders. Threetrees and Dogman, from their position, get a whiff of the Shanka and shit hits the fan. Cathil and Threetrees die. Dogman becomes chief.
Bayaz and company reach then edge of the world only to fin that The Seed is not there and all the progress they made was for nothing.
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
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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;
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.