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
Say one thing about this series, say it's a buzz-kill.
I feel that I should put this review here, before the series begins, as a bit of a warning. I fairly enjoyed the first two books in this series. I think the comparisons to Jim Butcher and G.R.R.Martin are a bit over blown... Butcher is much funnier and more clever with his words, and Martin's characters are much better rounded. Even his "bad guys" are likable. (you either like them, or love to hate them, that is)
I found Abercrombie's characters here to be somewhat flat, but with good potential. His plot was interesting and you get a good idea where he's leading you. (Life is hell, and not all heroes are nice guys) His settings... meh. Unbelievable and bland.
That said, I really was enjoying this series. It wasn't a favorite, but the plot and a few of the characters, Logen and Glokta in particular, I found very intriguing. They really carried the first two books. I wanted to read more about them and couldn't wait to get to the third.
Oh, how I wish I had left off at the first two. All of the development and growth in his characters, all of the plot lines, they all collapse in on themselves. And before you think it was a failing on the author's ability, let me assure you, he did it deliberately. By the end of the series you wonder what, exactly, was the point to all of it?
As with the other reviewers here I found this an excellent value and even though it is almost 25hours long I was left wanting more. Buying the other two books now. If you like George R.R. Martin or other gritty Fantasy series then this is definately for you. Wonderful fight descriptions and the world is well imagined.
I loved this book. The 1st 6 hours of book one was slow and at times it really droned on for me but after that I couldn't stop listening until the end of book 3. Loved the characters and the fact that when you thought you knew them something would happen and change your perspective again and again.
I feel compelled to express how impressed I am with Abercrombie. He is a great author and I intend to hear/read all he offers. However, I feel it even more important to give props to Mr. Pacey, the narrator.
I have attempted to listen to books that I know are good or even great, only to stop in frustration at bad narration. I will only put myself through so much of that. The narration hear is truly amazing. Character voices distinct and unique without going over the top. Inflection and pacing is perfect. Best example is his rendering of the character Glokta. It almost makes the novel. I could be wrong, but I don't remember in the text of the book that Glokta had a lisp. Missing teeth, yes, but I don't remember the mention of a lisp. The narrator decided to add/include this to the character. Brilliant.
Don't get me wrong. The author is incredible too. Just hear the books. Do yourself a favor.
I am a long time customer of Audible This is the first book where, after listening to the first part, I can not tell you what the plot of the book is.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I was in the mood for some "gritty" fantasy after finishing Season 2 of A Game of Thrones, and Abercrombie seems to have made a name for himself in that department, so I thought I'd check him out. Yes, this is definitely a book that borrows from writers like George R.R. Martin and Glen Cook, eschewing traditional heroic archetypes for flawed anti-heroes. In fact, one of the central characters is a torturer, a man who serves the crown in this role after himself having been crippled by torture in an enemy prison.
Unfortunately, Inquisitor Glokta, whose dark complexity I found delightful, might have been Abercrombie's only really good idea. Everything else in the novel is pretty lightweight, a collection of well-worn fantasy tropes, clichéd characters, predictable plot turns, and forced drama. Luckily, the author doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, so the mediocrity was bearable for a while.
Still, I'm not impressed. Where George R.R. Martin (mostly) made his characters feel like real people, however decent, despicable, or in between, Abercrombie's portrayal of human psychology is unconvincing and shallow. A warrior accepts a mission from a wizard without bothering to ask why, simply because (we're told) he's tired of having to think for himself. The same wizard sends a demonstrably incompetent apprentice on a risky solo journey that nearly gets the kid killed. We're supposed to be surprised when a "barbarian" character reveals the prejudice of stuck-up city folk and everybody learns a valuable lesson. A primary female character is supposed to be "interesting" simply because she's a plainspoken commoner who’s stuck with the boring nobility and whinges about how nobody seems to notice her (which seems understandable, given her lack of any other compelling features). And, as for the story itself, I lost interest around the 2/3 mark, when it became clear that the plot was mostly setup for future books.
I'm usually not this negative, but I've read too many good books to put up with one that's the literary equivalent of a bland Taco Bell burrito. I've heard that the series gets better. I've also heard that it gets worse. Either way, I didn’t finish this one, and am not going further.
The audiobook narrator wasn't bad, but I thought his plummy voice was better suited to different kind of book (e.g. Harry Potter).
I've really been trying. I'm just soooooooo bored. I don't get the glowing reviews. I see reviews by a few that felt the first 5-6 hours were a snooze, and I whole heartedly agree. I just don't think I can hang in there to get past the dribble. It's hard to believe there could be anything very exciting in the future. A good writer MUST bait and pull a reader along in a story. Abercrombie is certainly not doing that for me!
I've so wanted to read something by Joe Abercrombie since I'm a big fan of GRRM, Rothfuss and Lynch but try as I might I cannot get into this one. I've gone through 12 chapters and still I don't know what's going on or even who the main protagonist is. Plus the narrator's voice inflections are grating on me. I will try another of his, but I'm giving up on this one.
I'm about halfway through this book and am finding it disappointing. I listen to a LOT of books, of all genres, but I especially enjoy fantasy and sc-fi that's well-written. I just can't get interested in this book - it's incredibly slow and there is a lot of descriptions of political debate that don't seem connected to the main story. It's funny at times and some of it is entertaining, but as a whole it doesn't seem to have much depth. I'm halfway through as I said, and I couldn't really tell you what the point of the story is.
I'm giving it three stars because the narrator is great. If I was reading this in paper format, I would have given up ages ago.
Gritty, action packed, humorous, what more could you ask for? You won't read this and be disappointed, you'll end up reading it again down the road.
"Steven Pacey is a narration genius"
The best narrated audiobook I've ever listened too. It turns out that Steven Pacey was a star of Blakes 7
"The perfect match"
The perfect match of reader and story. A one man theatre performance. And the story is so visually descriptive that it almost feels like you are in the middle of it.
Refreshingly gritty and not for the youngest phantasy fans.
"A world of intrigue violence, dark humour, awash"
The inquisitor cunning devious with a bent to getting the truth you will love him!
"The best book ever"
Superb language, complex plot, strong colourful characters, marvelously read.
They are a few favourites actually but Logan wins my best.
His voices and accents are terrific. Best reader I've encountered yet.
I've read hundreds of books and listened to dozens. Ive never given a 5/5 rating. This book has 46 Chapters and I found myself greatly concerned by chapter 35 that I had only a few more hours of enjoyment left. If I could write I'd choose to write like Joe has. Get it, you will not be disappointed.
when you want to sit and relax, this is a world that will fascinate you.
"discworld revisited sort of"
This is a really good book and very well read with plenty of expression. You know who it is doing the talking straight off. I enjoyed this first part of the 'First Law' trilogy and will read the second and third parts as well. however, I can only give the story four stars on account of the fact that the final of the fencing contest is oh so predictable especially if you've ever watched certain american so-called sports. also I abhor cheating even in fiction. still, that said I did enjoy it. it's a good listen full of cynicism and realism. I'd recommend it to readers of the Discworld series since there are similarities between the two.
"Definitely not a disappointment!"
Awesomely cynical fantasy.
Best Served Cold by the same author. Abercrombie has an unique way of storytelling and quite a specific type of humor, which caught me in the first of his books that I read, and that, at least for me, is refreshing and stimulating. It tends to be very cynical, black and rough at some points, but at the same time it is sharp, and wise. A sort of humor that is touching our very bones.
Scenes with Sand Dan Glokta. Although they tend to be somewhat gruesome due to his chosen profession, it would be hard to find more witty, cynical, amusing and touching character. The only one he is sometimes compared with is Tyrion Lannister, albeit more dark and miserable. I have to say that although the book has several story-lines, I was awaiting those with Glokta and never mind how the series goes forward, he is about to remain one of my most beloved characters.
Sure it was, but I just could not make 22 hours and 20 minutes in one go. Not even in two goes. But I was very much looking forward to the time I could spend listening and I am about to finish the book 2, Before They Are Hanged, soon.
Some key words: fantasy, humor, wit, swords, inquisition, torture, magicians, officers, contest, warrior, skirmishes, guild, barbarians... I might have forgot of some.
Just read it. If you like fantasy combined with cleverness and fun (for some...), this is a series for you.
I would both love and dread to have this turned into a movie...
Simply the best series of books ever. Joe Abercrombie is a genius. Great story and great characters that will last in the mind forever.
"Dark, gory and brilliant "
Fantastic story, characters well thought out and interesting and gripping all the way through. Narrator absolutely makes this audio book!
"great book can't wait for the rest"
I found it a little difficult to follow at first but once it gets going really great.
Report Inappropriate Content