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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in the First Law Trilogy and the debut novel from New York Times best seller Joe Abercrombie.

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian - leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: Cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald 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 Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.

©2015 Joe Abercrombie (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

Exhilarating.... Abercrombie's knack for wit and grit holds your attention throughout, and his eye for character means that there's heart as well as muscle." [ SFX (UK)]

Featured Article: 20 Best Fantasy Audiobooks for Escaping Reality


Few audiobooks provide as much of an escape as those in the fantasy genre. Each of the best introduces us to an entirely new world (or a new version of this one), a diverse cast of complexly constructed characters, and a story so mesmerizing we’re reluctant to return to real life. But because the genre is so full of talent, it can be difficult to know what to listen to next—but look no further than this list of the 20 best fantasy audiobooks to get you started.

What listeners say about The Blade Itself

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A 22 hour Prequel

This book felt like one giant prequel, I really didn't like any of the characters.

you have a flat barbarian type who doesn't do anything, until the very end, even then it's whatever.

A snoby swordsmen, who, guessed it. Fights in a tournament.

A inquisitor type who is like supposed to be this cruel tormenter, revenge on the world for making him a cripple. all his parts are predictable and flat. unfortunately probably the character who brings the most to the table.

Then like 12 hours in the writer introduces a fourth character who is just awful. Some sort of foreigner which, the man reading the actual audio book makes apparent. With some sort of Chinese-mexican accent he uses for this female character, everyone of her parts I felt were performed ridiculously, and the character herself is again, a Savage brute with no redemption.

I picked this book up because it was the most recommended book on the dark fantasy forums (Goodreads, etc.) and I will never trust a list of the sort again, the only reason I can see this series getting to the top of the list is that the next books have got to be very well written. The first book, was not.

22 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Surprised!

I almost returned this book but decided to listen just a bit longer and I am dam happy I did!

It’s a little confusing at the start but stick with it for just a bit of time and - BAM! - you have one hell of a story :)

40 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Great Trilogy!

I decided to wait until I was through the whole trilogy to write a review and now that I am I can say, A+! Great characters, a great story and always interesting. The performance was flawless as well!

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Takes a long time to get going.

I felt like the pace of the book didn't really pick up until almost 90% of the way through. The story is decent but you have to be willing to really stick it out until the end. It almost feels like this book should have actually been a prequel, separate from the actually story, that sets the tone for the true series. Not bad but not great.

28 people found this helpful

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Characters drive the story. The Narrator rocks!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Blade Itself to be better than the print version?

I've not read the print version. Steven Pacey (the narrator) does a fantastic job making these characters come to life. Abercrombie writes incredibly interesting heroes with both dark and light sides to them. They drive a story that is good but just not important compared to the dynamics of the POV and secondary characters.

What other book might you compare The Blade Itself to and why?

Potentially Game of Thrones due to the grey morality and at times very brutal and bleak world. It's very realistic as one of the characters will remind you often. It is certainly smaller in scope than SOIAF though with less winding plot and more emphasis on the stories of the chosen "heroes" then the ever growing cast of GoT.

Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

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

I've been listening to audiobooks for over 15 years and this might be the best voice acting I've heard. Abercrombie's ability to build unique ticks and traits of characters certainly helped but Pacey just made them REAL. I laughed and felt bad for it and just felt invested in the loving or hating the characters as they went through the story. (I'm speaking somewhat to the whole trilogy here which is well worth it)

Any additional comments?

I'm a Sanderson guy who loves intricate plots and world building. Abercrombie does the opposite in my opinion with more grey heroes, less emphasis on story and much more on how events affect the characters he's crafted. Different but I absolutely loved it. The characters, while frustrating and heartbreaking at times don't make decisions that I couldn't have predicted. Abercrombie establishes who they are so well that even if you disagree sometimes with how they act or are disappointed you understand why. And when they surprise you it's marvelous but still somehow always true to them. Highly recommend these books and the audio version.

104 people found this helpful

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Incredible from start to finish!

If you thought GOT was good!
If you enjoyed LOTR!
The Blade Itself is all that and loads more!


5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Terrible story, expertly written

While this book is incredibly well written and narrated... ... the story is absolute shit until well into the second half.

11 people found this helpful

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Pretty slow

Based on the other reviews, I figured I'd tough this one out. Most of the reviews say the first book in this series is slow and it gets better, so I might still continue the series. This book was pretty lame. It was slow, tedious, had a thin plot, and thin characters. Actually the characters were really thin. Very unbelievable, over-the-top nonsense of each one. Logan was probably the only one I'm interested in the entire book as all the others were just poorly developed. I don't know how they covered so little story in over 20 hours of audio. Like, nothing happens. They meet, they get on a ship. The end. I understand that's a trivial description of things, but everything in between was inconsequential and uninteresting. The book has a mild climax in the last 4 hours as all the main characters cross paths. But it was still nothing all that good. The dialogue was repetitive and generally uninteresting. The voice acting was pretty good for the most part, but it did take me an hour or so to get used to it. His emphasis and voice inflections on describing action sequences (like the fights and stuff) were pretty bad. You get used to it after an hour or so. If you're choosing between this and The Name of The Wind, The Name of The Wind is in another league better than this. When you read (or listen to) The Name of The Wind, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you blow off entire afternoons just to get through a few more chapters. With The Blade Itself, you'll find yourself rewinding a lot because so much of the book is boring nonsense you'll have to re-listen to chapters to catch the one important detail you missed. If you are truly set on getting into this series, I'd recommend reading a plot summary somewhere and then starting on Book 2. Maybe it gets better.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Don's start it...

Any additional comments?

So this is book one of three but there is one continuing story throughout. You will have to buy the other two books to find out how things end. The story is good but there is not enough of it for three books. Most of what you get is never ending descriptions and character thoughts and reflections, which are neither insightful or particularly revealing, just repetitive and annoying. BTW, the story is heavy and full of pain with little closure or happiness at the end.

8 people found this helpful

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Third listen through haha

When I'm at a loss for what series to go to next, I always come back to the First Law. I think I remember thinking the first book was a little slow my first time through but, boy oh boy how the book grabs you by the end. Now, I am older and relish in all the little details that come with these great cast of characters. This world is one that I will never stop recommending to people. I have been disappointed by other fantasy series I have tried to start lately and needed to come back to the world that keeps me enjoying the genre.

As far as performance, I have bought books that I didn't think I was interested in just because Steven Pacey was narrator. Say one thing about Steven Pacey, say he's a master.

2 people found this helpful