Action, intrique, suspense, and a deep world.
At first, I did not like it, but after awhile it grew on me.
I found this a little slow in the beginning but that turned out to be what made this book great. The character development and the way the characters all meet and develop into one story is amazing. The narrator keeps the story moving well.
This review is more for the entire series than this one book. I did read to the entire series, and, for the most part, I enjoyed it. The narrator is good, and I liked the dark tone of the books. In some ways, this review would be more appropriate for book three, but I assume people picking up the first book are considering reading all three.
The style and tone of the entire series is much more realistic than most fantasy works. That, I appreciated. "You have to be realistic about these things." Mr. Abercrombie continually upsets fantasy tropes, taking a left when a right is expected. He sets up fairly believable characters with faults and weaknesses. All of the characters change throughout the series, if only in our perception of them. I especially appreciated Inquisitor Glokta, a profession torturer and POV character. It's not often you see such a unique persona.
What I didn't like as much is the direction the author went for the third book. As I said before, Mr. Abercrombie takes a left when a right is expected. Unfortunately, he takes that to the extreme of predictability. Hardly anything surprised me toward the end, because all I had to do is ask myself "Would this character have a redeeming moment here or hook up with so-and-so or grow and become something greater?" The answer is "no."
By the time you get there, it's not a surprise when things end up poorly. It's the kind of story the author is writing. That's fine, but it's not the kind of story I'm interested in reading. If I want to hear about the bad guys becoming richer and more powerful at the expense of good people, I'd watch the news. If you're interested in that sort of thing, though, you'll enjoy this series.
The Blade Itself has all of the trappings of a fantasy novel you could possibly ask for. While some may feel this makes the book seem derivative of fantasy titans such as Tolkien and Martin, I felt Abercrombie built a fully realised and original world that allowed you to enjoy the comfort of familiar fantasy troupes.
The cookie cutter nature of the characters is perhaps one of the weaker points of the novel. Glokta is perhaps the most orignal character as is the whole idea of an inquisition in a fantasy world. I also like the manner in which he struggles to find his own moral compass as opposed to being a 'good guy' or 'bad guy'.
Serviceable, satisfactory, fine.
The balde is just the beginning.
Certainly a good set up for the series. I have already downloaded the second installment.
Not your usual fantasy series. The characters were well done. Great story.
I can not say enough about the sublime excellence that Pacey adds to the great story he was provided. Out of the 117 titles in my Audible library his narrations stands out as the best. His Glokta is something to be savored.
I couldn't download the next two books fast enough
Abercrombie's story is brilliant with a setting that harkens to our own world, but with enough changes to not allow for too many direct links. More important than the setting, however, are the characters. Abercrombie's characters are living individuals who grow with strengths and weaknesses. The characters grow throughout the work. The story has the potential of cliches with savage barbarians and the graying wizard ... Abercrombie, however, deftly avoids cliches and creates a rich world with deep characters.
Abercrombie writing skills are excellent. He paces the story well and describes settings, characters, and conflict with equal skill.
Pacey does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life.
Upon listening to this work, I immediately ordered the rest of the trilogy and plan to grab the rest of work. This is a MUST LISTEN for fantasy fans.
Professional Geek and Book Aficionado
I had high hopes for this book, but six hours in and I'm still waiting for something interesting to happen—for my own, personalized, definition of interesting. Yeah, there's fighting and torture and desperate journeys with few resources and even something of a budding romance, but all these things are jumbled together with constant point-of-view shifts and no hint of a central narrative to tie things together.
All of which I could put up with if the characters were engaging and/or working towards something interesting. Unfortunately, many of the POV characters are outright off-putting. Want a tally?
* Glotka is a torturer for a corrupt regime who actually asks himself "why am I doing this?"
* Jezal is a sot actively undermining his own ambition to be more than a waste of space.
* Logen has only just gotten someplace that isn't actively trying to kill him. He's actually the only interesting POV guy so far, if only because he's at least trying to be a good person.
* The politics of "The Union" just don't work at all. The king is an idiot—actual village-idiot-level idiot—and the council running things is stacked with people as stupid as they are venal. By rights, the whole country should have devolved into warring factions years ago.
So I just don't care about anybody or anything in the book. I want the Union to dissolve, if only to clear out the disconnected, self-involved jackhats now running the place—some of which are POV characters. I'm sorry, but without something to care about and a story going nowhere for hours on end, I can't see wasting any more time with this dreck.
No; it was a bit drawn out in parts and the book just ended without anything really happening. Someone should write a short summary of book 1 so we can all jump to book 2.
Inquisitor Glokta. He was the only character I really found interesting.
Nothing really stood out
Yeah at the end when I was looking for the other half of the story. Guess at some point I will have to use my credit to get the rest of the story as this book just stopped. Definitely not a stand alone story as it only had a beginning and middle. It bugs me that everyone thinks their story is a trilogy when it's just a single story.
The fact that I have no real desire to jump into book 2 says it all. To sum up book 1. A great warrior just past his prime goes on one last epic quest at the bequest of the lord of wizards to save an empire that has labeled him an outcast and criminal. Now you can read book 2.
It took me a while to figure out the one bit that was hampering my enjoyment of this book. It is well written with a host of interesting characters. It is just that they aren't really trying to do something. Sure there are minor goals, Nine fingers is trying to go here, Luthor is trying to win the sword fighting competition, and so on, but over all there doesn't seem to be a point. For the most part it feels like it is just a story about these character who are just going about their lives without an overall plot. You only barely get hints of something bigger going on, but it is all played very close to the chest.
I think it would have been better served if there was something stronger tying it all together, even if it didn't work out or turned out to be a ruse.
It isn't until halfway through the second book in the series that you start getting hints at the bigger picture and what some people are up to.
All that being said it is good and I'm well into the third book now.