Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One) by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One) The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Blade Itself is a character-driven fantasy novel with vivid and exciting action scenes. Several of the point of view characters are really thrilling and one in particular left me really cold. I put the first book down and did not run out and pick up the second and third right away but I will get to them.

The back cover blurb calls it fantasy noir and I am not sure I agree with that entirely. I reckon that the noir descriptor is referring to the shades of gray morality and the lack of a Sauron in Mordor.

The way the bits of setting are communicated, with history and back-story really deftly woven in where I least expected it was well done.

The action scenes were really amazing. From the first scene with Logen Nine-Fingers dangling from a cliff with a Shanka on his back to the city-spanning brawl at the end of the book, the action and violence were amazing.

Something about Captain Jezal dan Luthar, the point of view character who did the least for me, felt one-note and flat but he was still readable and the other characters are solid and well developed.

It is the first of a trilogy and the other two books are on the shelves already. I love not having to wait. I am in.

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18 thoughts on “Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One) by Joe Abercrombie

  1. Well, I’m glad that turned out better than it looked like it was developing at first.

    The first appearance of the Bloody Nine sort of shocked me. I mean, it had always been a name, but it worked out to be so much different.

    Doug.

  2. Well, I’m glad that turned out better than it looked like it was developing at first.

    The first appearance of the Bloody Nine sort of shocked me. I mean, it had always been a name, but it worked out to be so much different.

    Doug.

  3. Well, I’m glad that turned out better than it looked like it was developing at first.

    The first appearance of the Bloody Nine sort of shocked me. I mean, it had always been a name, but it worked out to be so much different.

    Doug.

    • Seconded. Abercrombie hits his stride in the second book. I think I found it particularly interesting to watch not only the character development, but the ways in which they conspicuously do [i]not[/i] develop.

    • Seconded. Abercrombie hits his stride in the second book. I think I found it particularly interesting to watch not only the character development, but the ways in which they conspicuously do [i]not[/i] develop.

  4. Seconded. Abercrombie hits his stride in the second book. I think I found it particularly interesting to watch not only the character development, but the ways in which they conspicuously do [i]not[/i] develop.

  5. The action scenes are where Abercrombie shines. He’s one of the few I would trust to write some Conan stuff (though I’d prefer he stick with his own work — I’d rather let Conan lie as a bunch of cool old stories).

    Fantasy noir is a silly name for it. It’s real traditional fantasy in that it’s got all the stereotypes. But then it plays with them through all three books. Maybe “noir” is just what the copywriter could think of?

  6. The action scenes are where Abercrombie shines. He’s one of the few I would trust to write some Conan stuff (though I’d prefer he stick with his own work — I’d rather let Conan lie as a bunch of cool old stories).

    Fantasy noir is a silly name for it. It’s real traditional fantasy in that it’s got all the stereotypes. But then it plays with them through all three books. Maybe “noir” is just what the copywriter could think of?

  7. The action scenes are where Abercrombie shines. He’s one of the few I would trust to write some Conan stuff (though I’d prefer he stick with his own work — I’d rather let Conan lie as a bunch of cool old stories).

    Fantasy noir is a silly name for it. It’s real traditional fantasy in that it’s got all the stereotypes. But then it plays with them through all three books. Maybe “noir” is just what the copywriter could think of?

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