When reviewing books I try to be fair; I appreciate that not everyone will be looking for the same things in a book.
I read this on recommendation by Rick Riordan, one of my favourite young adult writers. I listened to it partly in audiobook and then gave up and read it on Kindle. I don’t believe it was a fault of the narrator; he did a good job, but I just couldn’t get into it very easily. On the positive side, I see that Amazon has enabled Whispersync for Voice for purchases on the Canadian store. It worked perfectly on this book. However, they do not yet offer the price reduction for both items, but maybe that will come.
The Blade Itself is very similar to George R.R, Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in that character development is more important than plot progression. That is all very well, but Ambercrombie can’t compare to the depth of characterization that Martin has reached. None of the characters grabbed me in the manner of Tyrion, Jaime or Arya. In all fairness, Martin has had five books to develop his characters, while I have only read the first one of The First Law series. What I have read though doesn’t encourage me to read the next two in the series.
I did enjoy Ambercrombie’s writing style though. I found it entertaining, amusing and very immediate. The narration in the audiobook certainly helped with that. There were some excellent points where the reader wonders how the characters are going to get out of that particular situation. The world building too, was excellent.
At other points I felt Ambercrombie created some excellent dramatic tension – then allowed it to go nowhere. An example of this is the brilliantly executed confrontation in council. The clash was beautifully set up – the betrayal was foreshadowed and the characterization of the Council made it understandable why they were totally oblivious to the danger right up to the last moment. However, this storyline never went anywhere. The characters all seemed to continue doing what they were doing before.
I gave The Blade Itself three and a half stars out of five
This series leaves a bad taste in the mouth because it is so dark and depressing. None of the characters are very likable. The more you listen the less you like (or care about) any of time. The writing is very good, and the reader is very good. However the story is really not very satifying. The closest I can compare it to is Game of Thrones. (Game of Thrones was more of a soap opera though).
12-16 year old fantasy fans. While the characters aren't fantasy norms, they all seem to come off as plastic caricatures, albeit of a dark variety.
Sadly yes. After running through a song of ice and fire as well as the malazan books, I had hopes that this would be another series to entertain me. Unfortunately that isn't so.
His performance was very good, and he does a good job of voicing the different characters.
Logain and Jezal
The narrator does a great job elevating this from a decent fantasy story to a good, enjoyable audio experience.
Most of these characters are relatively flat, but also realize that this is part of a series where the characters get more expanded upon in the following novels.
This is among one of the best that I have listened to. The others would be The Dresden series.
I love the part where they all travel into the west to find...nothing. But I do like how Jezal becomes a better man and Logen tries to become someone else than "The Bloody Nine" Overall, hands down though my favorite character is Glockta. Damaged goods? Yes. But funny.
He is a master reader.
It is epic story with lotsa swords and blood but also funny and insightful.
I have listened to numerous audiobooks - this one would be in the top 5.
Loved Steven Pacey's performance - he can separate characters with apparent ease - his voice never sounds forced.
I started this series after reading Game of Thrones series and have enjoyed it every bit as much - if not a little more!
The author is incredibly vivid and over the top, in a good way. Like if Tarantino wrote a book.
Glokta, by far. Or Sult. Steven Pacey was beyond awesome, generally speaking.
This is a great book by itself, but without spoilers, it only gets better if you read the trilogy. This author tricks you into thinking the plot is straight-forward, when it's anything but.
Maybe... it took forever to get going and even longer for me to invest in these characters. Once I was into it, I really liked it ...20 hours into it.
It was like a fantasy version of Leviathan Rising, only that actually had a beginning, middle and end.
Haven't heard anything else of Pacey, but he did really well with this story.
Once the book finished I felt like everything was ready to start telling the story we all came here for.
The narrator of this book does a superb job bringing the characters and action to life. While I have to confess that I like audiobooks because they allow me to do something else while listening (knitting, weaving, spinning, beading, etc.), there are also times when contributions of the narrator can make the audiobook better than the text-based e-book or dead-tree book. _The Blade Itself_ is decidedly enhanced by the narrator.
The problem is, the text itself wasn't all that impressive. It's good heroic fantasy of the gritty modern school, certainly better written than much of what's out there nowadays, but remaining safely within the boundaries, conventions, and stock characters of the genre. (_Please: a menacing albino sidekick? Some cliches can never be transcended._) _The Blade Itself_ is also rather painfully a first book in a quest trilogy, long on introducing characters and setting, short on plot and character evolution. Much as I appreciated narrator Steven Pacey's performance, I think I would have been happier spending 2-3 hours reading the book rather than spending 15+ hours listening to it; this would have also made it easier to keep the different narrative threads separate in my mind.
And the dilemma is: Do I spend a credit to get the next book in Audible format, or do I just borrow the book for free from my local library? (The audio version is not in my library system, and it's usually impossible to get audiobooks via Interlibrary Loan.) Pros: The narrator is good, the middle book in a trilogy usually has more action (although it's likely to have an annoying cliffhanger ending), and now that the author has assembled his questing fellowship, there should be less choppiness from the interleaving of too many narrative threads. Cons: There's little evidence that the NEXT book will be more worth the investment of time and a $15 Audible credit than the first.
A tinge of dark, but with characters you care about! Good story line with a slight genre bending twist. Achieves both character development and an interesting story arc. Read all 3 books and really enjoyed them.