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'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 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.
Outstanding characterisation. At the end of the first book and I can't wait for book 2, yet the strings of the story are still pulling together and I'm starting to change my opinion of characters I had originally started to like/dislike and vice versa. A great story so far. Looking forward to part 2.
"One of the best series of books I have ever read."
I started writing a massive review but realised I was saying the word 'brilliant' over and over so, in a nutshell, this book is brilliant.
"A Good Story"
A most enjoyable book with many threads that are woven neatly into the intricate plots.
A really good story with excellent characterisation. It's a classic fantasy story with lots of dark twists. However it's Steven Packys story telling that really brings the book to life.
"Well worth a listen"
I picked this title up on a Daily Deal having read Joe Abercrombie before; in fact I had managed to read the 2nd book of the trilogy after being given it as a Xmas present so took the chance to fill in the back story.
The story is based in a fantasy world and the characters are great - although there seems to be a lot of sighs, grunting and grimacing. The performance from Clive Pacey however is excellent and well deserving of 5 stars. This is my 5th book and it was a distance ahead of the others. Each character is given a distinctive voice and that's maintained perfectly throughout. Joe Abercrombie uses a lot of unspoken commentary from his characters and Clive Pacey manages to portray easily when the character is talking or just thinking.
I'm now considering listening to the 2nd book even though I've read it before.
Very enjoyable, an immersive world with rich and complex characters in every shade of grey. Dark but 'laugh out loud' funny at times, which I have always found other authors of this genre struggle to find this perfect balance.
A narrator that appears to very much enjoy the book and brings the world together with an understanding of the dark humor and a grip on accents that complement the characters without being overbearing, I will look out for other books narrated by him, which is a first for me! I can't wait to hear the next book!!!
This not my usual type of book, I picked I on the spur of the moment because I needed a long book that would last me whilst I was away. It wasn’t long before I became hooked, not for the faint hearted if you can’t take a bit of blood and guts but I really enjoyed the way it was read and the humour of the narrative throughout. I am now a convert and will be happy to read more of this authors work.
The rest of the series
Adventurous with dark overtones and clever humour.
No - all said
"Yawn. I just can't finish it."
A whole lot of world building and character development without well... anything else.
This is the second time I have tried to get through this and again I can't get past hour number 7. I find myself switching off, my mind wandering and then when I snap back in, I realise I now have no idea what's going on.
What's worse, is that I also realise I don't actually care enough to go back and pick up from a familiar point.
I guess if you're prepared for several (or more, I don't actually know) hours of an incredibly slow start, then perhaps you can get something from this.
There are a few story lines all happening at the same time which I can only assume will interleave at some point, but none of these story lines offer anything to keep me interested. I mean literally no action at all.
No, I think this is the first.
However difficult I found this books story line to get through, Steven Pacey was however, excellent!
One day I'm sure I will conquer this book and perhaps then agree with the majority of the other amazing reviews.
Alas, today and 'probably' not tomorrow are going to be that day.
Gripping and darkly humorous story brought to vivid life by an excellent narrator. Highly recommended
"Looking forward to how this story develops"
Just a great listen! Slowly draws you in. You have to find out what's in store for these characters
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