Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.
Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it.
But as he's discovering, old habits die hard....especially when Bayaz gets involved. An old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glokta, Jezal, and Logen a whole lot more difficult....
©2010 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group
I would certainly recommend this story as a story of flawed anti-heros. Something we could all relate to (the flawed part more than the hero).
Joe Abercrombie's dark fantasy world is compelling. The characters are excellent where none of them are your typical heroes, yet despite any evil they do you still want them to come out on top. The style of writing from different viewpoints gives a great insight into the story and the characters mind and development.
Steven Pacey's performance is excellent, his voices are brilliant and the pace and style of his reading is impeccable, one of the best narrators I have come across.
I would recommend this story and audiobook to all fantasy fans.
I have listen to the whole series twice through.
There is so much to like here it is hard to pick one. Every character excellent. Rich dark characters all with various faults. I also love how Abercrombie injects humor into the most tense situations. This is dark fantasy, the world Abercrombie creates is very violent.
Steven Pacey did a good job bringing the characters to life but a note to whoever produces these things. STOP putting in music and sounds effects. There isn't much of it in these book more just some mood music during the start of chapters but I think I speak for all when I say it unneeded and unwanted. Just let the guy tell the story. If you have the right guy and as I said Pacey is excellent, you don't need sound effects.
I was blown away by this series. Abercrombie has created these characters that I've had arguments with friends about: Is Glokta evil? What's the importance of Ardie West? How significant is speaking with spirits? I deeply cared what happened to all of these people, and I sped through all three books, amazed to see how things fell out. I guarantee you you won't expect the end of Book 3.
Steven Pacey's performance is the fourth wall of this magnificent edifice, though. I could tell you which character was speaking without any clues from the text, his feel for voice is so good. When I finished this series, I went looking for more Abercrombie books; I also went looking for more narration by Pacey. He's amazingly good.
There's nothing not to like here: it's a fantastic story, compellingly told and perfectly read.
The book is an introduction to the characters and settings for the first law series. The book is well written, the characters interesting but there are no "goal" in the plot. Alone, The blade itself, is therefore not the best read.
One of the characters. Inquisitor Glokte. And the dark humor.
Very good. Especially his voice of Logan and Glokte. Female voices not so good.
Yes. I've brought the second book in the series.
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The Blade Itself is dark, melodramatic, and a great deal of fun. This is not your typical epic, go on a quest and save the world kind of fantasy. Instead we are thrust into a world of morally ambiguous anti-heroes – a disfigured torturer, an arrogant nobleman, and an infamous warrior with a checkered past who all cross paths and eventually find their fates align in the shadow of an impending war. There is intrigue, drama, a great deal of action, lots of twisted humor, and plenty to enjoy in this first entry of Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy. Steven Pacey is one of the top two or three fantasy narrators working today. This is an audiobook series that no true fantasy fan should be without. Even if you've read the series (as I have), get the audiobook and read it again.
In a way I agree with both the fans and the detractors here. It IS a well-written fantasy novel, and the characters are great, if it takes a while to warm to them. But good lord would it kill Joe Abercrombie to get to the point a little quicker?
This novel is almost a series of vignettes and the connections between threads and characters are unexplained, even when they eventually start meeting up. What is the broader thrust of this story? Where is it going? What forces are at play bringing these people together? Clearly SOMETHING is happening that threatens them and the empire, but Joe Abercrombie has little interest in telling the reader anything about this threat. It's not even done in a purposefully mysterious way either, it's simply left out.
The characters are very well drawn, and it's hard not to like Logan and the wonderfully horrible Glokta. But I cared very little about anyone else, or what happened to them.
I struggled to get through this first volume simply because I found being left in the dark for so long quite tedious. It picks up towards the end, but for a book of this length that's a lot of listening to get through before things start getting interesting.
I will try the next book, and I think the quality of the writing makes the effort worth it, but this isn't an instantly-hooked book, not for me at least.
Narrator is excellent, if a little theatrical.
I'm a huge fan of this genre. This is one of the best series i've read. It's graphic and adult themed which is essential in telling such a story.
Wow. I'm impressed. After listening to all of the R.R. Martin and Tolkien books, I was hesitant to start another series by one of the newer, lesser known authors. This complex and engrossing story, brought to vivid and visceral life by the brilliant and charasmatic Steven Pacey, makes this one a must listen if you are a fan of the authors above. Pacey, unlike many other narrators, has an incredible ability to portray humor and sarcasm in his characters, and this works perfectly with Joe Abercrombie's style. Although in a different genre, another great book performed by Pacey that I'd recommend is a Danish crime novel by Adler-Olsen, The Absent One, which similarly uses humor, sarcasm, and makes you chuckle.
Looking forward to reading the rest of the First Law Series!! Already listening to book 2 and loving it!!
Took awhile to get into it but in my experience that is best. Like King's Gunslinger. I started and stopped a dozen times before I got the flow. Once I did I couldn't stop. I am glad I discovered it late into this series. I abhor waiting for authors to get around to writing the "next" book. Patrick Rothfuss is a perfect example (delighting in pissing off the readers). But then back to this book. This series is one of the best most refreshing - with fascinating characters - series it has been my pleasure to "read". I personally think the "Fantasy" genre is too limiting. Skip this series at your own loss.
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