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
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.
the narrator is fantastic. very wide variety of voices. I really enjoyed the story. The fighting is more gritty and realistic than many books. The main characters still get hurt in fights and they're not all perfect looking. I can't wait to listen to the next book in the series.
Quite simply a great beginning to the trilogy and great narration. Having read the book a few years ago, listening to it narrated by the wonderful Steven Pacey was a treat and brought back fond memories of the characters and story. Pacey brings life to the assortment of characters and I found myself looking forward to listening to this during my commute. Excellent all round
"Great story, fantastic reader"
loved the book. characters were not your standard type. every story line was interesting and the readers gift for accents and voice modulation ruined the experience off.
only drawback was that audio quality was not good. every second sentence the start was hacked off. for example every "she" sound like "he".
"Great Story, well paced"
This is a fantastic listen, the story is excellent and the narrator (particularly for Sand and Jezal) gives each character their own voice. I have bought the sequel and intend to get listening right away.
A really great story read or rather performed in a brilliant manner. Can't wait for the next part.
"Love this book!"
Incredibly funny, well written and beautifully read. One of the few Epic Fantasy novels I've read that's skips the coming of age stuff and just gets right into 'it'. Brilliant. 'Name of the Wind', 'GoT' and 'The Wheel of Time' fans will enjoy.
"Fantastic story with the perfect narrator"
I felt like it started a bit slow, but this is perhaps due to it being my first audiobook and myself needing a bit of time to adjust from physical books.
Once I got into the story however I was completely encapsulated, finding it difficult to put an end to each of my listening sessions. The characters are deep, interesting, funny and most importantly they show the traits, faults, strengths and weaknesses that you would expect from Humans - something which I think is often missing from this genre. The lore and world history discussed in this book is perfect for you to get a good idea of the state of each character / race and the potential threats/ conflicts that may occur in the future, it doesn't over-complicate or bog down the listener with every persons 10 generation family tree or their great-grandfathers favourite colour. I understand that a lot of people like huge, in depth lore - but I honestly dont see this translating well to audiobook and I feel this book has just the right amount to keep the world interesting.
as for the narration I think its safe to say Steven Pacey is an absolutely GODLY narrator - each character is given a unique and distinctive voice and personality making this audiobook very easy to follow. Each situation is pefectly emoted and you can really feel like you are in the scene with the characters.
Cannot reccomend this enough, I have already bought the other 2 in the trilogy!
"If you're missing GoT..."
This is brilliant! Similar to GoT in that it is quite relentlessly viscious but hugely exciting and really funny in parts - and it also has the cold, blunt, gritty North vs powerful, elegant, nasty South thing going in it. BUT Stephen Pacey is far, far better than the GoT narrator (despite all the grimAcing) so if you're dithering between which series to get as audiobook, go with Joe Abercrombie because he's got Stephen Pacey on his team! And the next two books won't let you down either!
great book but narrator is best i have heard. Love inspector Gloctor! bring on the next book
"God so tedious!"
First half of the book nothing happens. Second half a few things do. Got Stockholm syndrome.
The Good: A number of very strong characters. The pace of the plot moves along with good pacing.
The Bad: Not one paragraph escapes some form or another of profanity. The strength of the plot and characters aside, there really was an excessive use of foul language.
I understand that there is occasional swearing in books but this really was dreadful. Only the plot and characters kept me going through it.
You could remove the bad language completely and have a phenomenal story.
Each book contains a story that contributes to the meta. They also stand alone well by themselves.
50/50 maybe 60/40. The amount of bad language meant I only listened to it in parts for so long.
I would be keen to read / listen to the author outside of this series to see if the author is like this all the time.
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