This author is well known to have no real good guys or bad guys but real people. I enjoy all his books.
This very well-written book was exhausting to listen to. I kept expecting a ray of hope or goodness, a character I could like, or a little contrast to the constant, sometimes egregious violence and cynicism. I never found any, except maybe in the excellence of the narrator.
I think it is a long lead-in for the next book, rather than a stand-alone novel. Unfortunately, I won't be participating in the next one. It's a little like Chinese food, where one chops, slices, dices and crushes ingredients for an hour, only to fast-fry them in 5 minutes. I've had too much of the chopping, slicing, dicing and crushing, and am no longer interested in the meal.
Steven Pacey really makes the story and especially the characters come alive with his many voices. Joe Abercrombie is definitely a talented writer having created memorable and personally engaging people that would make me curse but also laugh out loud. I highly recommend this series. Having also just finished George R.R. Martin's master work, I was left with a fantasy-epic void, but alas, it was solidly and immensely satisfied with Abercrombie's First Law series.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I would listen to this book again even though it isn't the type of book I would normally re-read because the narration is absolutely wonderful. I suspect Steven Pacey actually makes this book better to hear than to read. The man has a rare gift.
I don't think I could pick a favorite but I can say that the characters were all a pleasant surprise - I don't think this type of adventure fantasy normally has the type of rich characterizations that The Blade Itself has. And, it is even rarer to find well written, highly developed women characters in this type of book set in a medieval type culture, but there are a couple of very cool women in this novel. I really loved and appreciated that almost all the characters were
I haven't heard Steven Pacey before, but I will certainly look for his performances again. I found him to be one of the best narrators I've listened to.
One of the reviews I read warned that this book although entertaining and exciting, doesn't stand alone and you will be forced to buy the 2nd book in the series right away. That reviewer was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT so be prepared. I liked the book a lot, but this is not a stand-alone book and the end is really no ending.
I'm not sure what the negative review was about, this book is certainly gritty and dark but the characters are interesting and much more believable than the norm for a fiction book. I have read fiction from everyone for many years now running the gambit from sci-fi/fantasy to thrillers and this is an entertaining story how ever definitely for adults not young readers. If you like a good story with engaging characters then you will probably like this book. If you are offended by harsh language or violence this book is not for you. The greatest endorsement I can give it is that I bought the second book instead of waiting for credits for three more days! Enough said!
I tried this audiobook because of the reviews and the sample clip, and it exceeded my expectations. I especially liked the narrator, Steven Pacey - his Glokta voice reminded me of Boris Karloff with a lisp - whose narration is simply superb! I enjoyed this book so much that I bought the other two in the series and am now listening to the second book. I am also buying the hard copy so I can see the spelling of people and places. I really appreciate the audible reader feedback and the sample clips. This series was well worth the money and the listening time!
I would recommend this book to those of my friends who like gritty novels. Think of the fight scenes in Tolkien's LOTR, King's Dark Tower series and Cornwell's Uhtread series, and you know if you will like it. I was hooked on this book. Pacey does a phenomenal job of giving the characters their own voices, and he makes it easy to follow the different story lines weaving through the book.
I found Glokta to be a powerful character. You want to pity him, despise him, and cheer for him. Of course, Abercrombie has built a character that doesn't want your pity, expects you despise him, and you'll want to cheer for him anyway. I can't wait to see what happens to him!
There are a lot of story lines weaving together in this book. It's great, but that means that by the time this book ends, you will desperately wanting to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Have the second book on hand- I am starting it today!
Other readers commented on the swearing in the book. It fits the book, and it fits the characters. it doesn't come across as one of those times where an author has to use swear words to appear "edgy" or to prove that he can. These are not polite characters- they are fighters, and they have lived hard lives- swearing will naturally be a part of their vocabulary. I think Abercrombie used the vocabulary most appropriate for his characters; Abercrombie's characters ARE edgy.
This is a fantasy genre tale but I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction with grit and gravitas. The plot conflicts are engaging. The characters are diverse, with intricate motivations and personality traits. Nothing about them is cliched and the author doesn't expect you take anything at face value. This is one of those rare 'in media res' stories that perfectly combines forward progression of plot with discoveries of history that date further and further back in time.
In addition, the prose is rich.
I'd also like to give a special hat tip to the narrator. His cadence and timbre are incredible, his acting is genuine, and his range is phenomenal. I had trouble believing the entire production was voiced by one person, he'd created distinct character voices that well.
Finally, I'll mention that this book is the first in a long series, making it quite the bargain.
Highly highly recommended.
I bought this audiobook based solely on the good reviews. As you all know, this can be a risky proposition- but in this case, it totally paid off! Not only has The Blade Itself been an intriguing and well-written fantasy so far- just enough magic to keep it interesting, a good political plot, well-drawn characters and a master wizard who seems to be gently poking fun at the whole concept of master wizards in fantasy novels.
I also have to give major props to the narrator, Steven Pacey. This is the first book I have heard him read and I would definitely be willing to look for others, based only on his excellent narrative skills. His voices are all distinctive for each character and I am particularly impressed with his voice for the character of Glokta- a man who has lost most of his teeth. Too many narrators seem to try a little too hard for 'unique' voices, especially if the character is supposed to be old, or have a lisp, etc. and it can lead to them being difficult to understand. But Steven Pacey makes this voice distinctive and cringe-worthy, with each sentence reminding me of what happened to the character- but always completely understandable.
Check out The Blade Itself- you won't be disappointed! My next membership credit is going towards book 2!
I'm a skeptic about long series - often a lot of so-so filler bulk them out. This may be true here, too. I'm only 2/3s through the first book after all, but the plot and characters are super, and things are charging along. I was reluctant to try out Bujold and King, such popular writers, but not seeming my style...but they just consistently delivered as if they couldn't help it. Joe A looks to be in that same form. We'll see. I look forward to trying him out. Oh - and the reader is outstanding.