The Blade Itself is a really enjoyable debut novel. The style reminds me a lot of David Gemmel in some respects, but a bit more tongue-in-cheek and with "grittier" battle scenes.
As other reviewers have noted, the story is very character driven. Abercrombie's main characters are not only flawed, but mostly people who would be thoroughly unlikeable if you met them in real life. They include a torturer working for the Inquisition, a barbarian widely known for his brutal, bloodthirsty past, and an arrogant fop. However, each character had a bit more depth than was first apparent, and I found myself sympathizing with them.
The rest of the trilogy is even better than this book, so I recommend it for fans of the heroic fantasy genre.