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.
"A great listen"
The characters and the performance
Great characters well read
Shaped the characters with a great variety of accents
Just a really good listen looking forward to book 2
"Too slow for me, I'm afraid."
Hard core fantasy fans who appreciate the political slow burn. Maybe those who like Game of Thrones? Many people have written very positive reviews so have a look for yourself... My opinion is just an opinion :0)
I'll try another fantasy book, or the new Bernard Cornwell 'Warrior Chronicles' book.
He was very good indeed - it was the reader and the reader alone that kept me going for seven and a half hours of this story. Great voice artist with a wonderful range. Would happily listen to other books written by him.
It's not about cutting characters, it's about having some action in the story. Have the characters go and do something other that reminisce, talk and sit around. Maybe I'm being unfair but a third of the way in and nothing has happened.
I have stopped and given up at the 7.5 hour point (I felt this was a reasonable amount of time to see if the story gets going). Having read other reviews, I get the impression that the first book doesn't have a conclusion - it just leads to another two books in the trilogy... at the end of which there is very little conclusion. Of course I cannot verify this myself but I cannot spend 60-70 hours listening through all three books just to find out!
"Love the whole series!!"
A great story well narrated, I have finished my second run through and happy to listen again soon.
"Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie"
Say he's a master story teller.
I had already read this book but loved it so much that I was happy to snap it up as part of the daily deal and if anything the audio book is better than the tree book. The narrator is excellent and captured the spirit of the characters perfectly. The story is so well paced that I got through it in only a few days.
I couldn't recommend this highly enough and I'm signing back up to the monthly membership to get the rest of the trilogy.
"Much more to come"
First time I have listened to a book by this author has the same feel about it as the classic wheel of fortune,witch I loved
"Great story nearly ruined by one word"
The story line is strong with the usual formula of disparate characters coming together for a common purpose. The characters are nicely flawed and are consistent. In general the narration is very good.........except one word. Grimace. It is pronounced grimis and grimising. His insistence of rhyming it with chasing infuriates me. He still does it on book three. There are a LOT grimacing people in this book. This trilogy is well worth reading because it is Saved by the story line and taking my anger out on random strangers.
"The sample does not do this story justice."
The sample available on "audible" is for the opening lines of the book and does not do the narrator justice. Steven Pacey is an incredible narrator. He has a wide range of voices and accents. His choice of accents and affectations for each character are perfect.
The story has the venom and grit of "Thrones" and the humour of Pratchett's "disc world" novels. Great characters. Blurred lines between good and bad. Super POV story telling.
You can not stop the bloody nine.
Listened to this in three days. Didn't have credit to get the second book so refunded a really good book that I just purchased. Now I have used my refunded credit to purchase the second book. It is past midnight and I know I am going to be up for a couple of hours listening to the sequel.
Addictive easy listen
Game of thrones
Amazing ability to use and change into the voices of each character
"Delightfully twisted and evil"
An admirably hard, fast and unpretentious read and packs a mean punch. It is crammed full of torture, vengeance and bad behaviour whilst keeping a good sense of humour.
The blood song
Steven Pacey has brought this gritty book to life. He fully submerses us into the characters of the book.
“Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.”
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself
"this has come one of my favorite listens"
the story is a little slow to start, but once past the main buildup it flows and entertains. the bloody 9.... 😊
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