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The Blade Itself: The First Law, Book One [Paperback]

Joe Abercrombie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good debut Feb. 16 2007
By Patrick St-Denis TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Joe Abercrombie's debut is making some noise all over the internet. Understandably, little more was needed to pique my curiosity! I wish to thank Joe for sending me signed copies of both The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged when I could not get through with his publicist.

The Blade Itself is a throwback to what used to dominate the genre during the 80s before doorstopper fantasy epics took over. As such, it is reminiscent of David Eddings and Raymond E. Feist in their heydays. What does that mean, exactly? Well, The Blade Itself is a character-driven tale that is not comprised of countless storylines. The First Law is a trilogy, so the author has no choice but to keep this story under tight rein. There is also a certain sense of adventure throughout, something that was popularized by the sword and sorcery sub-genre during the 80s.

There is a lot to like about Joe Abercrombie's debut. As a throwback fantasy novel, I found it refreshing. It's nice to see the" a The Blade Itself will please some fans, it will fall short with other readers.

As he stated in a recent interview, Joe Abercrombie doesn't attach that much importance to worldbuilding. He prefers to let the readers discover his universe and its inhabitants through the eyes of his characters. Don't expect a level of details similiar to what you'd find in a Jordan, Erikson, Martin, or Bakker book. Still, the author provides enough background info to keep things interesting.

Characters always make or break a book/series. And nowhere is it more evident than in a self-described character-driven novel. The characterizations found in The Blade Itself are at times very good, but some also leave a little to be desired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at an old genre Feb. 16 2007
Format:Paperback
Fabulous book.

The fantasy genre is glutted with tons and tons of the "same ol' same ol'". That is why it is so refreshing to come across a unique voice with a new slant on things.

This book is filled with dark humour, unique characters and was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is the kind of book that makes you take note of the author and keeps your eyes open for more of their writing.

I am a big fan of characters and characterization, and there are plenty of those here. In particular the inquisitor Sand dan Glokta and the barbarian Logen Ninefingers ("the Bloody Nine") are delightful, and there are lots more greats in addition to those two. The barbarian archetype has always been one of my faves, and Logen is fantastic. Imagine a barbarian who's really quite sick of being one. Logen Ninefingers and Naiur ur Skiotha fromt the 'Prince of Nothing' series are two of my top recent additions to 'barbarian lore'.

In any case, this book is well worth your time if you enjoy the genre and would like to read something a little different and fresh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Fantasy Novel July 16 2006
Format:Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I read the blurb from the back and nearly turned away after reading only half of the summary. But something made me open it up and try the first few pages--and I was hooked. It starts with an action scene--like most fantasy novels--and it is described so well. It is realistic without splattering gore in your face. I can't think of any other author who treads that line so well as Joe Abercrombie does in The Blade Itself.

I didn't find this a funny book, overall. It's not a comedy at all. But there are several moments where I did laugh out loud as I read some clever description or a reaction of one of the characters. In fact I think I found more to smile at in this book than most other novels that are specifically tagged as being funny or humourous. The humour here isn't forced. I didn't feel like the author was trying to be funny. It was more like the humour you might find in casual conversation with a friend.

This book moves along at a good pace. It is one of those books where you want to keep reading to find out what happens, but, unlike many other page-turners, things actually happen in this one! I hate books that promise action or resolution just over the next page, just another page, one more page, and before you know it you've read half the book and still nothing's happened. This is definitely not a one-trick pony of a book. Each character is well developed and the plots intertwine naturally.

What this book doesn't contain are tired old writing techniques. Well, it's not perfect, but it's as close as I've come across in 15 years. Anyway, there are no stereotypical cliched fantasy characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cutting Edge June 10 2006
Format:Paperback
This is a very well done fantasy novel. The characters are various and interesting, displaying a fascinating mixture of noble ideals and human weaknesses. They struggle at times to reach their ideals and give in at other times to their weaknesses, so that you are always wondering which part of them will win out in the end. What side will they choose? Will they become a villain or a hero to us? Will they change sides? Quite apart from the society where they live, where the villains can be the heroes and vice versa. These characters are a cut above the simplistic, one-dimensional characters that populate lesser writings.

Joe Abercrombie has created a complex world with several different types of societies, from the barbarians at the gate to the more civilized, and engages us with all of them. The discovery of the motives of many different groups moves the plot along nicely, and we get a good sense of the interplay between the influence the individual has on their own destiny and the destiny imposed on them by outside forces.

An excellent romp through a world of both sword and sorcery. I look forward to the next one in this series, and recommend The Blade Itself to all. I love the quote as well: "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence" -- Homer
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, a must read.
Fantastic book and characters, this rivals a game of thrones and even surpasses it since the series is already done.
Published 5 months ago by jon
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite my cup of tea
I read this on recommendation by Rick Riordan, one of my favourite young adult writers. I listened to it partly in audiobook and then gave up and read it on Kindle. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Evelynne Robertson
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, though obviously the work of a first-time author
Abercrombie has created an interesting world with its own identity and politics, but the writing style and presentation of characters and events leaves something to be... Read more
Published 15 months ago by WH Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars This book needs more love!
I find a lot of fantasy books suffer either from a lack of engaging story or (more often) a lack of characters that the reader actually cares about. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Tace
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Adventure
This author is not a new Tolkien, or Jordan, or anyone else. Abercrombie has taken a few twisted characters, and turned them into a mostly coherent story. Read more
Published on July 17 2010 by Brian Ashe
5.0 out of 5 stars Sick, twisted, and utterly brilliant!
Before I start, this book not for everyone. Fans of books from GRR Martin will absolutely love this one. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2009 by A. Seth
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good fantasy novel
I find it hard to chose a fantasy novel now days based on reviews on this site as most comments are generally left by readers that are (too) enthusiastic about the book they have... Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2009 by S. Lavigne
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable beginning
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... Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2009 by I. Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Phantasy Realism
Abercrombie continues a still relatively new approach to fantasy writing that adds satirical realism to plots and character interaction. Read more
Published on July 21 2009 by Norm
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blade Itself...a great new fantasy writer has arrived
A true breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre!

This is one of those rare books that is truly hard to put down. Read more
Published on June 26 2008 by R. Nicholson
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