The Blade Itself is the first novel in the First Law trilogy. Abercrombie's style is best characterized extreme grittiness, grim wit, and quite cynical. His intention seems to be to subvert and deconstruct the standard elements of high fantasy.
Abercrombie creates a world filled with bad people who do the right thing, good people who do the wrong thing, stupid people who do the stupid thing and, well, pretty much any combination of those. It's a world that's not merely filled with bad people; it actively makes the good and the decent ones worse. Survival is no lean feat, and at the end of the day, dumb luck might be more of an asset than any amount of planning, skill, or noble intention.
Why would anyone want to take a jaunt through this hell-hole? Because it's incredibly fun, that's why.
I think I will give a warning to others not to give up on this series but since I didn't, maybe there is no need for a warning after all. I grew very frustrated with this book all the way to the last quarter of the story. There were times I wanted to scream WHY at Joe and bump my head against my desk. I didn't of course since all my co-workers would have been curious and found me out for listening to this story at work. Yes listening, I decided to listen to this series on Audible and a good thing it was too because it was the excellent narrator that kept me going to the end. He is unbelievably excellent! He rivals my regard for Davina Porter which is usually unrivaled.
I'm going to say that by the end there was NO WAY I could leave the rest of the books unread and felt I had a vested interest in the Bloody Nine and the others as well. I will save the rest of the review for when I'm finished with the series as I'm starting the third book now and continuing. I'm a girl reading this and so want to say thanks to Joe for the TINY shred of romance he's let trickle into the books.... yea yea... I had to say it.
READ ON... you will be glad you hung in there.
The story has no purpose. You aren't grabbed from the beginning. Even halfway through i wondered where this thing was going, and what the point was. There is no sense of a history, or a world. Things' are poorly described and don't inspire awe, wonder, or fear. All the characters feel too sorry for themselves and are rather flat. I get no sense that they loved anything, at all, ever. Of course, every good book should put its characters through hell, but this book seems to have already but them through hell and we (the readers) dont' know why or really care. They can't find passion in anything.
All the mysteries in this story are left as mysteries, nothing is explained, and that get frustrating and boring. There is ,magic, but its all very sudden adn used only to get folk out of tight spots, there is not wonder to it, just big bangs etc, its boring.
And the writing is boring and not interesting. The characters are not well described, their lives aren't well understood, and the world isn't clear.
Oh, and the names suck.
I hate to give negative reveiw, but i couldn't finish this book, so don't waste your credit on it.
I have listened to probably 300 audio books. I have never been so impressed with a narrator.
I read. I read a lot. That being said, Joe Abercrombie's The First Law series is one I will be re-reading (re-listening). The basic premise is tried and true fantasy, with enough embellishments and depth to make it seem unique. The mythos and history of the series is fresh, and interesting. But what makes this series is the Characters! Well written, individual, witty, funny and entertaining. And props to Steven Pacey for style and talent in presenting this to us!
Excellent low fantasy in the vein of the Black Company books or GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire. Not as much of a world builder as GRRM or Erickson but he definitely brings the characters to life and moves the plot along nicely.
A good book, not one that I think will change fantasy as we know of. It's no Name of the Wind, The Hobbit, or The Game of Thrown. Yet only a few books are. Over all it was fun to read. I enjoyed the book and it's characters. Yes so were whining. Some were unlikeable, but I think that was the intent of the writer and there for I liked it. I would recommend it to fantasy fans.
I admit that this book started out really strange, and I reached a point maybe halfway in when I still had no clue where the story was going. That being said, the characters were still wonderful and extremely well narrated. The characters drive this book, but the story doesnt start making sense and kick off fully untill the second book. For me that was fine, but I understand a lot of people dont have the will to continue reading. I can however guarantee that once you get well into book 2, there's NO WAY you'll stop listening...
Great characters, avoids a lot of black'n'white fantasy-style.
Imagine a book read by Alan Cumming, John Gielgud, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman. . . well that's the idea. Each of the characters has an accent appropriate to his birthplace and status. He is spot-on and consistent. What a delight!