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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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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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 500 REVIEWER
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 Enjoyable beginning Aug. 10 2009
By I. Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, a must read. March 24 2014
By jon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book and characters, this rivals a game of thrones and even surpasses it since the series is already done.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book needs more love! June 12 2013
By Tace
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. This book hits the sweet spot for both :) I would encourage any fan of fantasy to give this book a chance, but especially readers like me who get a little bored of the classic fantasy formula and want to mix it up every once and a while.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sick, twisted, and utterly brilliant! Oct. 31 2009
By A. Seth
Before I start, this book not for everyone. Fans of books from GRR Martin will absolutely love this one. However, people who much rather prefer reading classical fantasy consisting of elves, wizards and orcs will not find that here. Sure there are wizards, but not in any way similar to Dumbledore.

When reading this, there was so much from it that came from the Song from Ice and Fire series. But Abercrombie developped his own style and it is distinct from many other authors. His prose is short and to the point which makes for a very easy read, and I use that term loosely because the story is quite heavy. The three characters are well thought out and heroes in different ways.

Great job for the first installment of the series.
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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
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good fantasy novel Aug. 28 2009
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 just read. References to the new 'Tolkien' or 'George R.R. Martin' will for sure sell books, but they are so overused that when I see such a reference I usually expect a trap.

To be clear, the author is NOT the next Martin and this book is NOT an instant classic. I can't say that the story and the world created by the author is innovative. The book however is very well written, the characters are well developed and the story is quite intriguing and entertaining. I recommend it as a clearly above average fantasy novel.
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