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The Blade Itself Audiobook

The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Lawrence Rochester, NH, United States 09-02-10
    Lawrence Rochester, NH, United States 09-02-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "Just a great a book...."

    This is just a great book and an excellent begining to a promising triology. All the elements are here...excellently written, superb narration, multidimensional characters, a large world, magic, violence, romance, war, and politics. Sometimes funny, always engaging and thoroughly enjoyable…sucks you in and pins you there as you ride along with the story. Easily on par with Mistborn, A Song of Fire and Ice and The Wheel of Time. Can't wait to hear books 2 and 3.

    22 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Godman Santa Clarita, CA USA 09-23-10
    Gary Godman Santa Clarita, CA USA 09-23-10 Member Since 2001

    Audible Fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Adult Book"

    I'm not sure what the negative review was about, this book is certainly gritty and dark but the characters are interesting and much more believable than the norm for a fiction book. I have read fiction from everyone for many years now running the gambit from sci-fi/fantasy to thrillers and this is an entertaining story how ever definitely for adults not young readers. If you like a good story with engaging characters then you will probably like this book. If you are offended by harsh language or violence this book is not for you. The greatest endorsement I can give it is that I bought the second book instead of waiting for credits for three more days! Enough said!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JAMES Glenn Dale, MD, United States 09-18-10
    JAMES Glenn Dale, MD, United States 09-18-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the best fantasy epics ever!"

    Steven Pacey really makes the story and especially the characters come alive with his many voices. Joe Abercrombie is definitely a talented writer having created memorable and personally engaging people that would make me curse but also laugh out loud. I highly recommend this series. Having also just finished George R.R. Martin's master work, I was left with a fantasy-epic void, but alas, it was solidly and immensely satisfied with Abercrombie's First Law series.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcheta Suffolk, VA, United States 09-16-10
    Marcheta Suffolk, VA, United States 09-16-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Listen - even if you aren't into syfy"

    I tried this audiobook because of the reviews and the sample clip, and it exceeded my expectations. I especially liked the narrator, Steven Pacey - his Glokta voice reminded me of Boris Karloff with a lisp - whose narration is simply superb! I enjoyed this book so much that I bought the other two in the series and am now listening to the second book. I am also buying the hard copy so I can see the spelling of people and places. I really appreciate the audible reader feedback and the sample clips. This series was well worth the money and the listening time!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Hudson, WI, United States 08-16-10
    Steven Hudson, WI, United States 08-16-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Great characters and great story"

    This author is well known to have no real good guys or bad guys but real people. I enjoy all his books.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Patterson, CA, United States 06-08-14
    Stephanie Patterson, CA, United States 06-08-14 Member Since 2012

    Audiobooks are my workaround to the pesky laws forbidding reading while driving. And I'm pretty sure my dog likes them too.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie ..."

    ... say he knows how to write a villain.

    I almost did not finish this book. I shocked myself when I devoured the entire trilogy and still wanted more.

    Joe Abercrombie's style is gritty, unabashed, and vivid. I knew this going into the series, and yet, it still shocked me. The shock was so severe, I almost stopped listening about an hour into the first book. But I like a challenge, and I don't like to give up, so I plowed forward. The other motivator was Abercrombie's wit. His humor is dry and sharp and subtle (though sometimes less-so).

    My first impressions were also tarnished by the voice given to Glokta. He lisps. It makes sense why ... but I found him difficult to understand and annoyed that a main character would be such a challenge to listen to. But as other characters were introduced, and Glokta's personality became clearer, I appreciated his lisp. It gave his character an extraordinary amount of depth that would have been missing based on the writing alone.

    This book (and the entire series) is character-driven. There isn't a clear plot or goal established by the end of the first book, and even after completing the series, I'd describe the plot as thin. But, oh, these characters. They are villains. All of them. There is no clear delineation of who can be trusted and who cannot, except that it seems pretty clear letting your guard down around any of them will get you killed. I found myself loving and hating each of these characters. I was intrigued by them, annoyed by them, disgusted by them and utterly fascinated to the very end.

    Some scenes were difficult to listen to. The torture scenes were tough while driving to work in the morning and I found myself cringing or closing my eyes at inopportune moments. But the battle scenes are epic and the gory details make them exciting and suspenseful.

    It's hard to give a full review of just this book, without taking into account the entire series. But, I'll say this. Many themes are started in this book that are carried throughout the series. And the humor, suspense, and action of the first novel only improve as the series continues. I think Glokta's character is the best-written and has the most depth, but they all lend something unique to the story.

    Be prepared for grittiness, irreverence, cursing, and violence. Joe Abercrombie pulls no punches and censors his characters for no man. And it would be an utter shame if he did. Anyone who appreciates multi-dimensional characters that themselves carry the story even in the absence of clear plot direction, will love The Blade Itself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hedi 12-21-12
    Hedi 12-21-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unrelievedly dark and cruel."

    This very well-written book was exhausting to listen to. I kept expecting a ray of hope or goodness, a character I could like, or a little contrast to the constant, sometimes egregious violence and cynicism. I never found any, except maybe in the excellence of the narrator.
    I think it is a long lead-in for the next book, rather than a stand-alone novel. Unfortunately, I won't be participating in the next one. It's a little like Chinese food, where one chops, slices, dices and crushes ingredients for an hour, only to fast-fry them in 5 minutes. I've had too much of the chopping, slicing, dicing and crushing, and am no longer interested in the meal.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan CA, United States 12-03-11
    Ryan CA, United States 12-03-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful storytelling"

    This is a fantasy genre tale but I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction with grit and gravitas. The plot conflicts are engaging. The characters are diverse, with intricate motivations and personality traits. Nothing about them is cliched and the author doesn't expect you take anything at face value. This is one of those rare 'in media res' stories that perfectly combines forward progression of plot with discoveries of history that date further and further back in time.

    In addition, the prose is rich.

    I'd also like to give a special hat tip to the narrator. His cadence and timbre are incredible, his acting is genuine, and his range is phenomenal. I had trouble believing the entire production was voiced by one person, he'd created distinct character voices that well.

    Finally, I'll mention that this book is the first in a long series, making it quite the bargain.

    Highly highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bronwyn Soell Illinois, United States 06-22-11
    Bronwyn Soell Illinois, United States 06-22-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great fantasy and a great narrator!"

    I bought this audiobook based solely on the good reviews. As you all know, this can be a risky proposition- but in this case, it totally paid off! Not only has The Blade Itself been an intriguing and well-written fantasy so far- just enough magic to keep it interesting, a good political plot, well-drawn characters and a master wizard who seems to be gently poking fun at the whole concept of master wizards in fantasy novels.

    I also have to give major props to the narrator, Steven Pacey. This is the first book I have heard him read and I would definitely be willing to look for others, based only on his excellent narrative skills. His voices are all distinctive for each character and I am particularly impressed with his voice for the character of Glokta- a man who has lost most of his teeth. Too many narrators seem to try a little too hard for 'unique' voices, especially if the character is supposed to be old, or have a lisp, etc. and it can lead to them being difficult to understand. But Steven Pacey makes this voice distinctive and cringe-worthy, with each sentence reminding me of what happened to the character- but always completely understandable.

    Check out The Blade Itself- you won't be disappointed! My next membership credit is going towards book 2!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John V. Higgins, Jr. Bradenton, FL United States 03-12-11
    John V. Higgins, Jr. Bradenton, FL United States 03-12-11 Member Since 2016

    John V Higgins, Jr.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Can't wait for more"

    I'm a skeptic about long series - often a lot of so-so filler bulk them out. This may be true here, too. I'm only 2/3s through the first book after all, but the plot and characters are super, and things are charging along. I was reluctant to try out Bujold and King, such popular writers, but not seeming my style...but they just consistently delivered as if they couldn't help it. Joe A looks to be in that same form. We'll see. I look forward to trying him out. Oh - and the reader is outstanding.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Simon
    Somewhere between a pair of headphones.
    11/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Promise Built on Rock-Solid Foundations"

    Abercrombie. Somehow it’s a name that puts me in mind of a purveyor of fine goods which is apt really because that’s exactly what this author is. His opener to the series builds a solid base for the remainder of the series to come. Characters are varied and deep, introduced without fanfare and explored in detail. The writing style is tight, direct and simple, not a word is wasted and where a simple one suffices it usually takes precedent over its more flowery synonyms.

    It’s written from multiple points of view; the dashing but shallow and stupid noble swordsman, the near cliché arch-mage Bayaz with of course a bad temper and eccentric character, his hopelessly inept assistant and the murderous Logen Ninefingers himself. They and others are all good characters and the world and its machinations promise much too. Fortunately with this being a long book and there being a lot of scene setting we have Steven Pacey to breathe dramatic life into it all as narrator. He is a fine voice actor and oozes characteristics like sarcasm, bitterness and more positive ones too.

    The undoubted star of the whole show is the bitter and twisted wreck of an ex-fencing champion; Inquisitor Glokta! He’s a nasty piece of work, make no mistake but seeing things from his point of view imbues understanding. His constant pain and carping about things like stairs are a reader’s joy. He’s a miserable, broken man that wields much power in his role as torturer but yet has crippling weaknesses and a healthy paranoia about his own life chances. He’s clearly going to be a highlight of the series.

    So for me, the only likely complaint anyone would have is that there is a lot of time spent for not a huge rate of plot development. Personally, I enjoyed the characters so much that the time flew by. The author has made a huge promise for the rest of the series with this opening book. It’s a very solid foundation so I expect something special to follow!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    Telford, United Kingdom
    2/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you like Game of Thrones..."


    Wow, hadn’t heard of Joe Abercrombie much before purchasing this book, but he has quickly become my new favorite author

    Story – 5/5

    Some may say this story is a little slow going, as it takes it’s time developing the characters rather than moving through the over-arcing story. Personally I preferred this approach as JA’s writing is far superior to most fantasy authors, and he can pull it off. I actually prefer this to Game of Thrones.

    JA’s writing is very clever; he somehow develops a likeable torturer and a barbarian champion killer who doesn’t like killing people, and makes them believable. His whit is also as sharp as a knife. Very dark comedy that had me laughing out loud at times (which rarely happens with books)

    For those who like the action though, there is still plenty of it, along with some quite gruesome scenes – much like other gritty fantasy books. JA has taken the standard epic fantasy structure and put his own spin on it. A very solid debut

    Performance – 5/5

    When I listened to the sample, I wasn’t too sure about Steven Pacey, I didn’t like how he described an action scenes. I realised after purchasing the audio book though that he is in fact one of the very best narrators out there – I just wasn’t used to him.

    His character acting was flawless, each having a distinctive and believable voice. His narration enhanced the dark comedy and whit that Joe Abercrombie was clearly trying to portray

    Music/sound effects between scenes/chapters was a nice touch as well

    Overall – 5/5

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Lincoln
    5/3/11
    Overall
    "Excellent Narration"

    The book is great, that goes without saying, but it's the narrator I wish to praise here. He is by far the best narrator I have ever listened too, every character is given a distinct and unique voice, so much so that it is sometimes hard to believe it is all the same man speaking. He understands the tone and humour of the books perfectly and delivers each line exactly as the author intended. Inquisitor Glokta is delivered near perfectly, talking with a lisp but thinking in his old voice, brilliant.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ali
    Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    3/25/13
    Overall
    "Say one thing for Abercrombie; say he can write"

    For a sword and sorcery book, this story is remarkably engaging. The world Abercrombie created is intriguing, filled with half answered questions and mysteries that make you want to read on. Further to that, the characters he created are truly sublime. Each one is riveting. One constantly feels a medley of emotions, all out of place with the characters to which they belong and all weaving amongst each other chapter to chapter, forcing you to read and be thoroughly entertained. The world is interesting, multi-faceted and deep enough to pin the characters and their various struggles. Nothing in this book feels out of place. Crafted with true mastery.



    A stellar read, unconventionally brilliant.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nina
    UK
    12/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Medieval fantasy in a superb yarn!"

    'The Blade Itself' is a top drawer fantasy novel which shows Joe Abercrombie's skill in story telling. It keeps the reader interested till the very last page and leaves you with hungering for more. The main characters are complex individuals, each with a past that has shaped and damaged them, each full of intrigue and depth. They are not the heroes you are falling for but they are fighters that you look up to.

    Steven Pacey's narration is superb and it is only fair to give him a 5 star plus. Looking back I wish he narrated some of the other fantasy series, he is that good. It is satisfying to know that one person can become so many different characters and do it so well.
    This book is full of charisma and I look forward to seeing how the action develops in the rest of the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ninecatz
    6/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent!"
    Any additional comments?

    The first in the series - if you don't want to read the next instalment - you are really hard to please - excellent book and narration. My only gripe - I've finished the whole saga and feel bereft! :(

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • William
    COLWYN BAY, United Kingdom
    9/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A slow Burner that end Well"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is a good multi character, multi plot book that has great story and character development.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Blade Itself?

    Logan saying when threatened. "kill me? I do the killing here!".


    Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favourite?

    the Inquisitor Glocter, no idea why but I like the twisted Man a lot.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    A definite adrenaline rush in the last rage filled fight seen.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes a few, I don't know if this is just me (I live in the UK) But I pronounce (and have heard it spoken as) Grimace as Grimm-iss and grimaced in the past tenses grimm-issed, the narrator pronounces it Grim-aced. like Grimm and then Aced like aced a test. I don't know if this is American English not matching with English English. or me being an uncouth heathen. but this happen over quite a few different words and makes me twitch in annoyance over the course of the audio book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dee
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    4/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great read"

    I've actually listened to the whole series now. Book One had a slow start and it took me a while to settle into it but once I was into Book Two I couldn't get enough. Joe Abercrombie combines just enough bleakness and darkness with a touch of humour for it to work really well. I love the little unexpected twists in the storyline. I did think Book 3 dragged on a bit but he rounded it all out nicely in the end. I cannot praise Steven Pacey's narrative enough. His characterisation was excellent, and I knew each character's voice without hearing their name. Good stuff.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    London, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "excellent narration"

    great accents, and character variation. have not previously read the books, but very much enjoying the audio so far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Newry, United Kingdom
    10/17/12
    Overall
    "A story well told"

    Very engaging story with good characters. It was hard to put down. I had become bored with the standard tripe doled out in the Fantasy genre and this was like a breath of fresh air. I have downloaded all his other books due to the impression this book had on me. Waiting with anticipation on this next offering and few authors make me feel like that anymore.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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