The Blade Itself (First Law Series #1)

The Blade Itself (First Law Series #1)

by Joe Abercrombie


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Blade Itself 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
DAY-READER More than 1 year ago
First let me say that as you look at the reviews you will notice mr. Negative giving this book a bad review...I never respond to other reviews as they are entitled to thier own opinions. I must make a exception here because this book is just that awesome and deserves to be defended. Most of you may know me by now as i have wriiten alot of reviews and read 46 fantasy books a year...So when i say that Abercrombies First Blade is a diamond, a gem, one of the best wriiten fantasy epics of all time, Then you shouldnt take that too lightly. Mr. Negative probly gave Mr. R.R Martin a bad review.,(lol)...In short "This book has it all. Great characters, its funny at times and most importantly you will remain excited throughout the entire series....RARELY do i find a book that i can say that about with the exception of "A Song of Fire and Ice"
MalcolmVardy More than 1 year ago
True to form for a contemporary fantasy, The Blade Itself plunges us straight into an action scene, a desperate bid for survival and a literal cliffhanger. The mechanics were initially arresting to my cycnical take on novel craft, but Abercrombie pulls it off well. He is never verbose and always seems to come up with simple words that convey the greatest image. Perhaps the biggest strength of the book, for me, is Abercrombie's use of voice and point of view. The principles have little idiosynracies of speech - sometimes action - which makes them instantly recognisable without a surfeit of speech tags (he said, she said.) There is the "say one thing for Logan Ninefingers." and "you've got to be realistic" of Logan the barbarian, the italicised thoughts of Inquisitor Glotka, always commenting dryly but giving nothing away to his interlocutors), and the preening narcissism of Jazal dan Luthar. Logan and Glotka in particular are extremely strong memorable characters - at times pantomimic but great fun. Many of the characters are caricatures, broadly brushed and stock types. This in no way hinders the comedic elements of the book but occasionally distances the reader from full engagement with them. The plot is at times lumbering, a slow coming together of the principle characters. There are elements of intrigue, detective work, sword and sorcery (shades of Gene Wolfe at times, particularly in the House of Questions scenes). Abercrombie creates a hotch-potch of parody and tribute that nevertheless has moments of brilliance. He is at his best with action and character but occasionally lulls into mediocrity. Language is also a slight inconsistency. Often it is used effectively, particularly when he remembers the point of view. There are, hovever, some incongruities and a smattering of contemporary expletives that don't always fit the moment. Whilst point of view is a definite strength in the book, I felt Abercrombie over did the changes of point of view. We often get a chapter from Logan's perspective followed by a shift to Glotka, then to Jezal, back to Logan, off to Ferro. I found myself being drawn into a character only to be spat out and forced into another induction. I would have prefferred a little more balance and pacing here. Nevertheless there are great things in The Blade Itself, the odd sublime scene, cruel wit, and (most of the time) a deceptively simple and utterly effective use of language. It is a refreshing read and stands out from the heap of turgid mush that the genre has been spilling onto the bookshelves for the past few decades.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Blade Itself is by far one of the best fantasy novels I've read to date! Abercrombie has created a vivid world full of drama, epic battles, sprawling landscapes, magic and mystery. You won't find yourself weighed down by lenghty back-story or boring histories that is expected in this genre. The real gems of this book, however, are the terribly cynical characters. Abercombie stays away from the 'safe' fantasy characters we've come to expect. They are pessimistic, blunt, foul and offensive, and from the very beginning, you'll find yourself loving every one of them. I've bought this book for several of my friends as gifts, and have recommended it to countless more.
bibliophileSH More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because of the cover. But once I began to read I knew that I had found a wonderful new author! The book is offbeat and Abercrombie has a dry wit that is great!!! Wonderful!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
in my opinion this is one of my favorite books. I enjoyed it because of the humorous diversity of the characters. as you read the book it takes you on an adventure with a crippled torturer, a battle-softened barbarian , and a pompous brat. the book is slow until the first 50 pages but after that i was hooked
harstan More than 1 year ago
While fleeing in the water to elude his deadly foes of man and beast, Logen Ninefingers the barbarian knows he will soon be dead. In the North the Shanka led by his former mentor has subjugated the other tribes through brutality and atrocities he alone remains opposed, but flees towards the Midderland for safety. --- Meanwhile to the South, a Prophet has gathered the desert slavers to his side. The Empire prepares for war. --- In the city of Adua in the Midderland government corruption and affleunt indulgence is the norm. Thus the middle has lost control of the North and South to barbarians and mages. The wizards try to unite the people as the ancient enemy has returned, but people like Captain Jezal dan Luthar wants nothing to do with adventure and intrigue especially in the frozen north or the desert south he is to busy drinking, cheating at cards, and chasing women to risk his life at what will prove to be a bloody war. The cripple Inquisitor Glokta notorious for torture, and his two associates, are killing the seditious government leaders, one at a time. He hopes to one day add Jezal to his résumé. However, it is the actions of Bavaz the wizard who claims to be the First of the Magi, who shakes up the realm or at least Logen, Jezal, and Glokta with his demanding raging orders that they fear to follow as he seems more fraud than genuine yet fear not to as his bite may prove worst than his violent bark. --- Readers obtain an indirect taste of the Abercrombie world through the eyes of the major characters although never gain the full perspective beyond a frozen north, a desert south, and a major thriving city in the middle that is the link but with the greedy and the powerful looking out for themselves, the realm is collapsing. The fascination with this Noir fantasy is the key cast members. The foursome is not epic heroes, but instead they are flawed to the point that the story line at times feels like an amusing satire of the Tolkien lite imitations. Not for everyone, THE BLADE ITSELF is carried by its deep characters, who tote more negatives than positives and may prove to cause the beginning of the end these incredibly flawed souls make for a fresh and outstanding fantasy. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't say the book is bad but I can say I didn't enjoy it. I, however, am by no means an expert on the Fantasy Genre. The plot was basically non-existent in this book. Even after completing it I'm still not sure what its about. With it being a trilogy I'm sure the plot reveals itself later but I doubt I'll bother with the other two books. Some of the characters were really interesting(Glokta was my favorite) but the writing style kinda killed it for me. This is just personal preference, but... Right off the bat I found myself annoyed by the long series of run-on sentences. Having to drudge through several commas in a single sentence made for a frustrating reading experience. At times most of a paragraph would be a single sentence. While this seems like a small thing I often found myself stopping to re-read a sentence and having to decode what was just said. Also, when I come across paragraphs that go into deep descriptions of people or places I tend to skim/skip over them. I just don't find someone's "brutish jawline and sandy hair with a little curl at the end by his nose" to be interesting enough for an entire paragraph. With this book, however, I wasn't able to skip over these paragraphs. More often than not an entire paragraph would be mostly description just to have the last sentence be an event that, if skipped over, left me confused as to what just happened. If this type of writing style doesn't bother you then you'll enjoy the book a lot more than I did. In fact, you may love the book. As I said some of the characters were pretty interesting and the plot(what little of it showed) had enough mystery to make me want to keep reading. I'll probably read a synopsis to find out what happened to the characters. I just don't feel like dragging myself through another book with this writing style.
Arrat More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Been reading fantasty for over 30 yrs & this rocks. Finally a book that you don't know what is gonna happend. No more good vs evil, what you think is evil might be good & the good turns out to be a little evil, depends on whose side your on. Gritty & bloody this is a welcome change from fantasty books while good have become predictable. Only reason I didn't give the book a 5 was because I don't think we really need to have that much cursing. Looks forward to reading more of his work!
Melhay More than 1 year ago
The beginning of the book was easy yet a little hard for me. There is a lot of background work done here on the characters and the status of the world. You are introduced to all the characters in their elements, places, and world before they are introduced to each other. It can get a little confusing, but if you can keep it all separate it is worth it. One of the best parts here is having your characters separate and seeing their views on what they know or see, then seeing them actually meet and how the knowledge of that one character could help the other they just meet-if shared. Seeing how they get into the conversations to share the information or even when they don't share the information because they don't know who they have been in contact with or what they are involved in. Through out the book you really get a feel of how unstable the three Empires are and the contempt they feel for each other. There are the Northmen, the Union and Angland, and the Gurkish. The Northmen and Gurkish seem to have leaders that are very ruthless and blood thirsty to take over as much land they can and rule all they take. The Union is stuck in the middle of both these places, yet doesn't seem to be as barbaric as the other two with killing. Angland is the place, in the North but is part of the Union, in which the Union sends all their guilty parties of treason agains the crown or toward the government (and in this time it could be a small thing or a large doing that could land you here - even working with or looking at the wrong person could hurt you). They have shared borders all these years?!? If you ask me I don't know how... Just when you think you have all the characters details down a few more are added. All these people from the different areas of the world are pulled together to save their worlds from a bigger threat than the Northernmen or Glukish navy or Unions soldiers. What is this greater thing to be defeated by these specially selected few? That answer seems to be only known by the First of the Magi, Bayaz, and his brothers. There seems to be a magic that surrounds each character in their own way. Yet the characters don't seem to be aware to the fact they have something special about them. These characters don't even realize the enemies they make and the bigger enemies they upset. In this book the story only begins, the adventure only starts. I am sorry to add here that you will have to read the next book to see where they go after this story. What about the war? Who is this greater threat? I too have to now go get the second book in this trilogy. I have questions and can not let them go unanswered. There is just too much scheming and bribing and underlying meanings in things said or not said that I just have to keep going with the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it as well.
mcummings More than 1 year ago
Abercrombie doesn't dip into exposition too often, doesn't bother with volumes on the little details - no, you slip into Nine Fingers' world and off you go. A fun fantasy that leaves you content and wanting more - how often does that happen??
Vaylo More than 1 year ago
The Blade Itself, and the other 2 books in this series, are the best books I have come by since George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. This book is superbly written and strikingly original. It definitely takes your average run of the mill fantasy plot and throws it on it's head. The characters are extremely strong and very human. The action is fierce and gritty, and the storyline kept me up all hours of the night. I am now a Joe Abercrombie fan for life.
ThePinkFloyd More than 1 year ago
The cover hooked me on this book (I loved the way it felt), but soon after reading I fell in love with it. The characters are wonderful, and each one has their good and their bad--there're no clear cut heroes in this book. The story was pretty good, though I would've liked more direction, though towards the end it corrects that mistake. The dialogue is quick and witty, though it took a little while to get used to the author's voice. All in all I loved it and couldn't put it down, and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Highly enagaging and entertaining fantasy novel. Well written, full of interesting characters, and moving at a quick pace throughout - this book is a 'must read' for fans of the fantasy genre!
Anonymous 7 days ago
solid book
Anonymous 22 days ago
About a million times better than Game of Thrones
Anonymous 9 months ago
Peter Donnelly More than 1 year ago
The Blade Itself is the first book of the First Law Trilogy, which is an epic supernatural fantasy adventure. It can’t be helped to compare the trilogy to the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series in its depth of detail, its rollcall of wonderful characters, hidden plots and agendas, and fantasy dimensions. The world of Joe Abercrombie it told in superb vivid detail with expansive landscapes where multiple cultures and nations are warring and untrustworthy of the other but there is the darker menace growing in strength and intent on domination. The plot is a rollercoaster of action with characters that are wonderfully drawn. The character layers are developed throughout the book and they are individually capable, dangerously incompetent, and never sure whether they will stand out as unlikely heroes or unseen traitors. The Blade Itself focuses on the history that has led the nations and characters to this place, at this time, and with these ambitions. The storyline delivers through multiple threads each with their own set of characters and challenges. The narration doesn’t shy away from the brutality of conflict and torture but I wouldn’t say gratuitously. Battles must be fought and Logan Ninefingers will be at the heart of it. Answers must be sought, alliances must be formed, and traitors must be found. Glokta the inquisitor will hunt the traitors and those that constitute a risk. Bayaz the First of the Magi knows what’s at stake and must stop it, he is powerful but even he cannot do this on his own. A breath-taking story of wonderful characters, that I highly recommend. I can’t understand why there isn’t a TV or film adaptation of this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a lot of fun. The author has a deadpan sense of humor very similar to mine, so I definitely enjoyed this. The best part of this book is the characters. They are very fully developed and very interesting. Each chapter is told from a different character's point of view and it's possible to tell who's point of view it is just from the writing style. There's lots of action and the setting is very interesting. However, this book feels like it is written entirely as an introduction to another book. Absolutely nothing is resolved and it leaves us on a cliffhanger for each and every main character. This is the first book in a trilogy. If you want to know what's going to happen next, the second book is set to be released in March and the third book probably hasn't been written yet. If you enjoy reading an adventure with a bit of fantasy mixed in, I definitely recommend this, as long as you can get over the fact that this book will leave you hanging.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Logen Ninefingers is a war-battered barbarian whose only real goal is to stay alive. Jezal dan Luther, however, is a young nobleman and officer in the army, whose days consist of drinking, gambling, and training for the all-important fencing contest. Inquisitor Sand dan Glokta was once like Jezal, but war and torture have left him crippled, broken, and bitter, and his occupation as torturer for the Union's Inquisition leaves little room for the niceities of court life. These three men may seem very different, but their lives are about to be thrown together. For their kingdom is on the brink of war, a war which has attracted the attention of Bayaz, a cheerfully brash but powerful old man who may or may not be the First of the Magi.Review: I'd heard from a number of sources, both on the internet and in real life, that this series was great, a fantastic new voice in high fantasy in the same vein as Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss, and that I was absolutely going to love it. I was so sure I was going to love it that I actually bought all three books in the series right off the bat. And, unfortunately, and disappointinly.... not so much. The story is certainly ambitious in its scope, with multiple well-drawn POV narrators, and the world that Abercrombie creates certainly does have potential. My problem was that, for the life of me, I just could not get into the story. As good as the characterization might have been, I never really cared about the characters, and so never got particularly invested in what happened to them. I'd pick this book up, meaning to read for half an hour before bed, and get three paragraphs in and decide I'd rather be sleeping. The story never really grabbed me until about a hundred pages from the end, and I'm sorry, but 440 pages in is not where you want your best hook.A large part of the reason why this book was such a struggle for me was almost certainly the writing style. Abercrombie spends a lot of time focusing on elements that didn't seem that important to the overall plot, while skimming past descriptions and information that would have been useful to have. (Like, for instance, for a book about wars and territories and politics, it really needed but was sorely lacking a map.) Combine that with a seeming inability to properly use commas (seriously, what happened to his editor? I'm not talking about stylistic usage, either, but necessary grammatical commas.), and you've got a writing style that is clearly aiming for "gritty" but winds up landing on "unpolished". The Blade Itself is the first part of The First Law trilogy, which was originally supposed to be published as one novel (but at 1500+ pages, it's clear to see why it was divided). The result is that this book reads like an extended introduction to the characters and to the world, which may have accounted for how slow I found it in parts. And, while the pace may pick up and the storylines may get more interesting in later books, this one didn't pique my interest enough to make me want to go find out. 2.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: There are plenty of people out there who really love this series, and if you like darker high fantasy that isn't all glowy elves and sparkly magic, you might be one of them. However, it just wasn't to my taste, despite how badly I wanted to like it.
NauticalFiction99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read a pretty fair sampling of the current crop of fantasy, and began this book with relatively modest expectations. Other reviewers have done a good job discussing the plot, so I won't go there. Suffice it to say that it's fantasy.I had heard that this was not the traditional forgotten prince or stableboy with unknown magic powers type of book. True enough. Also, that the characters were darker, the language rougher, and the violence graphic. True again. But what I was unprepared for was just how good this book was. Abercrombie has written a terrific story, framed by a rich back story, and populated it with interesting characters. The book does not pretend to provide any sort of closure, it exists to set up the second two books in the trilogy. It has been a long time since I read a book as profoundly satisfying as this one. I like Lynch, Erikson, Scholes, Evans, Rothfuss, Baker, etc., but this one really seemed to me to be in a class by itself. It is not Tolkein, and, I think, actually has little desire to be Tolkein. What is is, is a tremendously engaging read. I recommend this one without hesitation.
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm always so happy when I find a really good fantasy series. The last one was George RR Martin's fire and ice series. While I wouldn't place this one quite that high, it was a rolicking enjoyable ride and I went and quickly ordered the next two books. Well written with good characters and enough twists to play with the now familiar roles and characters. We meet the tortured man who becomes a torturer, the Bloody killer who speaks to spirits and knows 'you have to be practical' but is losing that hard edge to tiredness and compassion. You meet the wizard who is both more and less than he seems. and you follow all these characters as they twist and twine. This is the first of a 3 part series and has good world building and a very accomplished feel for a debut book! A happy find and I'm sure that Joe Abercrombie will only get better... he's going to be an automatic buy for me. A.
Caragen87 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one is not easily categorized. It is fantasy-- but it reads like a historical novel about a different world. It's about war and politics and Inquisition. Magic and power happens in little side threads. SO it's not because of the occasional Zap-Boom-Pow, that you will read this series-- it's about the Inquisitor: Glokta. Unloveable, Unpleasant, Ugly, Ill-used and Vengeful. He is still the most Principled of all the players in this saga. You will be amazed at how deeply you will care how this ugly, unpleasant husk of a man picks his way between Kings, Nobles, Warriors and Mages as the world changes around him.
King_Bonez_Xx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was pretty hard to ignore THE BLADE ITSELF and the hype around this title, but I was still hesitant to start reading it. I picked it up, glanced at the title, thinking it was about a magic sword, and would put it back down. Then, one rainy Saturday afternoon, I finally decided to just give it a shot, and was done Sunday night.The book is filled with all you could want: great characters; fresh plot; excellent language; and, thankfully, a good amount of humor. I found myself laughing out loud several times during the reading of this book, but when the gears shifted and it became serious, it didn¿t feel stressed or odd.As with my favorite books, it seems, clearly synopsizing this book is very difficult. For the most part, it¿s about a bunch of people living awesome lives. This is their awesome story, written in an awesome manner. ¿Nuff said.Pacing is a big deal in books, especially the epic-fantasy-first-book-in-a-trilogy-telephone-book-sized-novel type. Luckily, Joe Abercrombie doesn¿t bog us down with useless infodumps or lengthy descriptions of clothes. And yet, the world feels very real, along with its inhabitants.Some of the things that people may not like in this book are the violence, language, and lack of a clear, A-to-Z plot. These weren¿t problems at all for me, but some readers may be turned off by this.THE BLADE ITSELF is the start to a trilogy that¿ll hopefully follow suit, and is a nonstop thrill ride. Highly recommended.
awoods187 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the book started pretty slow but then gradually picked up to be fairly interesting. It has an almost video game like feel to it, but I've enjoyed it so far. It also reminds me a bit of David Eddings writing.