Some call Him The Tarantino of fantasy. Joe Abercrombie reminds me of Tolkin’s bad ass cousin who provides a look at fantasy’s grittier and more realistic look at our favorite genre. This is not your grandfather’s fantasy novel with boring archetypes that everyone who reads fantasy is tired of since the days of Tolkien. The characters are unique and are a real jewel in today’s genre fiction.
Abercrombie’s Teh First Law trilogy’s first book, The Blade itself is brilliant. The Blade Itself is a great first novel by British fantasy author, Joe Abercrombie. The story is of a dark and much more realistic look at a power struggle between nations and the men who wield their nation’s steel. The book takes a look at three main point of view protagonists. The three main players in the story are Logen nine fingers. A barbarian from the north, who is known better as The Bloody Nine. he strikes fear or courage in the hearts of men, depending which side of battle you are on. He is fueled by an uncontrollable rage, which he wields to murder all who get in his way, friend or foe. He is on a path of realization after he is separated from his band of northern warriors. The second of the three is Sand Dan Glokta. He is a ex- war hero who was captured and tortured for months, until he was left a shattered fragment of the man he used to be. He is now a member of the inquisition, a not so secret organization that torturer and gains confessions from the king’s enemies. He is hilarious as he is deadly. His inner monologues are all too funny. He speaks of stairs being one of his greatest enemies and knowing the exact number of all steps in staircases around the city. The third and my least favorite character, at least at first is Jezal van Luthar. Jezal is a pretty boy, the golden child of the union. he is kept out of trouble and lives the hero life without earning it through battles or challenges. He is prepping for a battle against a great foe in a tournament. He will be humbled and gain your and everyone’s respect eventually.
The story is amazing. I could not wait to keep reading. Joe Abercrombies dialog between characters may be his greatest quality, yet he writes combat quite well. The best way to describe the First Law Trilogy would be Geaorge R.R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fires grit and realism but i enjoyed the characters much more in The Blade itself. They are neither hero nor villain. They speak of the great leveler who returns all men back to the mud, one way or another in the end. The history is not given in full just yet which hurts the story just a bit, this being a first entry and all. I really liked some of the side characters such as Bayaz they first of the magi. he is a Galdolf type. a wizard who sparingly uses his magic and uses wit more than anything.
Over all I would give Abercrombie’s fantasy first a 8/10. Im already reading book two Before they are hanged.