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
Having read some of the positive reviews I purchased this book and I have been caught hook line and sinker by this very well written story. A simple review could not do this book justice. Joe has woven a splendid tale that draws one in and the narration was brilliantly done, excellent dramatization with a vast diversification of the characters voices, there couldn't have been a better studio recording of same. Relishing the thought of several more hours ahead as the story continues I'm moving on to the second book in this Trilogy. Many thanks to Joe and Steven for this creation as they compliment each other very well.
Having heard so many so so narrators its a pleasure to finally listen to someone that does a phenomenal job, if you like stories that dont follow the normal good vs evil then this is def for you
but wow the narrator just awesome
I've probably listened to 150 audiobooks and this one is one of the very best. Like others have said, this is fantasy in the same league as George RR Martin, both in quality and in terms of real-world building and gray characters. The writing is great and the last couple of hours of the book are just spellbinding. The Bloody Nine is just one of the best fantasy characters ever devised.
I have to also spare a comment for the narrator, whom I had never listened to before this book. He. Is. Outstanding. He does a range of characters and does them all very well. Pacey adds so much to the novel.
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'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.
I read all Joe Abercrombie books as they emerged - they do make thoroughly good reads - I was a bit dubious about listening to them - but as with all readers you need to settle in with them and Steven Pacey in his stride lends a gritty realism to the goings on and general dastardliness of almost all the characters - Good Stuff.
"Steven Pacey Nailed it"
I have read this trilogy before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is my kind of mix of gritty realistic fantasy, war and hard as nails protagonists.
One of the books strengths are the large number of strong and contrasting characters. And Steven Pacey read the story beautifully. He got each character spot on. Each with it's own unique accent and flavor.
Great trilogy, by a good author, and brilliantly narrated. 5/5
"Excellent narrator reading an excellent story"
The characters are gritty (The Witcher/Book of Elves rather than Belgariad) plot line is fairly formulaic but filled with characters that are well defined - my favourite being Goska of the inquisition for his sardonic humour.
Cannot recommend this enough.
The narrator gives characters recognisable and distinctive accents, all of which are authentic-sounding.
I have been trying fantasy books from authors that are new to me for a little while now, I am struggling to find a replacement for David Gemmell. So I was a little disappointed at first - this book is very little like a Gemmell. However, in it's own right, this story has some fine characters and is a highly enjoyable read and I have the second book in this series already lined up.
It is not, by any means, fine literature, but it is good fun and well told. The world is well realised and the characters are far from the standard fare of generic fantasy novels. Occasionally the author seems a little clumsy in his build up to challenging the readers pre-conceptions - the regal looking old man is not the great wizard, it's the common looking fellow behind him etc. However, some of the characters genuinely are fresh and very interesting, with some genuinely memorable scenes.
I settled into the narrators style quite quickly, but I really do find it knocks me out of the immersion in a story when someone pronounces words very differently to me as I am forced to shout the "correct" pronunciation at the stereo.
"Excellent writing and brilliant narration!"
This book starts off a little slow but it quickly grew on me and I became engrossed in the story. The characters were very believable, all playing an important part. I've read all 3 books now and loved it from 'very near' start to finish.
The narration was superb - second to none. Characters could be recognised easily and each had their own traits.
I couldn't recommend this book enough!
San Dan Glokta. The most twisted and likable character. I really enjoyed every part of the story with him in.
It was a fantastic story but Steven Pacey made it one of the best series of books I've ever listened to. He's a first class narrator.
I listened to the entire first law trilogy. It started of excellent and somehow got better and better in the 2nd and 3rd installments.Not my usual genre but I'm glad I picked it up. I'm a Joe Abercrombie fan now.
"Great apart from one thing"
It's a good book and a great listen, as are books that follow. There's just one thing... Why does Stevey Pacey pronounce grimmace as grimmAce as in Pace. I've never heard anyone else say it this way - it's like he'd never come across the word before reading the book and made it up on the spot. And then stuck with it through the books, even though there's a heck of a lot of grimmacing going on! As criticisms go, it's hardly major but, well, someone should tell him!
I haven't listened to many fantasy books - I downloaded this on the strength of the reviews and have not been disappointed. It did take me a while to get in to, but I soon couldn't stop listening. Excellent narration - I will certainly have to listen to the next two books of the trilogy.
"Fantastic writing I had to share with everyone."
Blood curdling gripping
When Glocter is in extreme pain just walking down stairs and then makes his way to his torture room to slowly cut off someone's fingers slice by tiny slice.
A warmth and depth to the book that always makes listening feel like returning to a friend.
I wish I could but I don't think I could manage to stay up that long. I do like the unabridged versions of books and this one is over 24 hours.
While this book gives an impression of magic and fantasy at the start it does not continue this way. It is very real and set in a solid world. I was a little disappointed there was no more magic for about 5 minutes and then I was so gripped I completely forgot about it.
"The First Law-Brilliant Series"
I absolutely loved this series. Joe Abercrombie creates a seriously clever, intricate and believable alternative world, where vile politics compete with bloody deeds and where all the characters are well-drawn and three dimensional. The story rocks along so well that before long I had finished all three of the books in the series and even wanted to start again. Huge credit to the reader !
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