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
The Blade Itself is a good start to The First Law series. There are lots of interesting characters and plenty of interesting story elements. The narrator does a fantastic job. He creates a voice and attitude for each charactor. He is very versatile and makes it a very enjoable listen.
Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.
Honestly this rating is probably too high based on overall literary quality but after plenty of Alastair Reynolds, George RR Martin and Peter Hamilton this felt like a palette cleanser. Much as I love the incredible detail of Game of Thrones, The Great North Road, and the Revelation Space universe, sometimes simple, swashbuckling adventure is more enjoyable. Yes, sci-fi / fantasy that challenges is great - but I really enjoyed the fun, light style of this book ... all you need is purpose and some good steel. Don't like the situation? Well nothing a barbed arrow won't solve! Narration is excellent btw. Steven Pacey really captures the spirit of the novel.
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.
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