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The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4531551,100 (4.05)150
  1. 224
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (MyriadBooks, Navarone, martlet)
  2. 30
    The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (ghilbrae)
  3. 20
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (KittyFiend)
  4. 21
    Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (majkia)
    majkia: an equally dark landscape with complex characters
  5. 10
    Ships from the West by Paul Kearney (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Both of these series feature great characterization, good writing, and a bare-knuckle, realistic approach to fantasy, as opposed to much of the high fantasy work out there.
  6. 11
    Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker (Sedorner)
    Sedorner: While The Engineer Trilogy is nowhere near as bloody as The First Law trilogy, it's just as dark, deep and "realistic".

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English (143)  German (5)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (155)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
This was simply an amazing book, made even more so by the reading in the Audible version by Steven Pacey. His ability to change voice for each character was fascinating, and really added to the presentation of the entire story. I had no problem differentiating between the main characters, and the supporting characters, as well. It was amazing to hear him switch between all of the accents necessary for the characters and where they were from. While this is set in a fantasy world, depending upon the character, I heard at least Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Cockney, "proper" British, Russian, Indian, as well as male and female voicing, among the accents used in the story. Even if you've already read the book, I'd highly recommend getting the Audible version.

The story itself was very good, and right out of the gate captures the reader's attention. The author is very adept at switching scenes, switching emotions, and switching storylines, and in such a way that the reader doesn't get lost. The characters are very well-developed, and each has his/her own personality and viewpoints. I especially like the interaction between Inquisitor Glokta and Major West near the end of the book: it revealed quite a bit about both.

The other thing I liked about this book was the development. It wasn't simply a story of a disparate group of individuals/races coming together to defeat a common foe. Instead, the story developed over the course of many, many scene changes, with characters coming and going, interacting with each other in many different ways. Really so much more than the simple fantasy quest-type of book.

As expected, this ended on a cliff-hanger, well, really a double-cliff-hanger. Looking forward to the next book! ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
An outstanding debut novel and start to a trilogy. Abercrombie does a wonderful job of introducing all of the complex characters and manages to make them all fascinating in their own right, although every reader may favor some more than others. In my case, I am particularly captivated by both Logan, the practical barbarian that is haunted with regret, and Glotka, the crippled torturer and inquisitor.

Abercrombie is also very effective at introducing the reader to his world, without much tedious exposition, which is a welcome change from a lot of other epic-fantasy. He also clearly illustrates what is at stake and carefully sets the events in motion that one assumes will drive the course of the story in the next two books.

I do have one complaint, and that is that occasionally Abercrombie starts a chapter without clearly telling you which character's point of view the narrative is being told through, which can be a bit confusing. Usually, you can tell just from the voice of text, which is quite an accomplishment on the author's part, but occasionally I would encounter a chapter and it would take me half a page to orient myself, which is the only reason I'm knocking off one star.

I can easily seeing this book joining the likes of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles as one of my favorite epic fantasy series produced recently, and I can't wait to start on the next book in The First Law series. ( )
  andrlik | Apr 24, 2018 |
The Blade Itself never really managed to grip me. I only cared for Glokta. I wasn't interested in any of the other characters and wasn't sure what the plot tried to do...I'm almost worried to admit that yes, I was bored.

I've been told that this is a difficult/unfortunate start to an otherwise amazing series and I must say I am tempted to read the remaining books. Maybe, if I like them, I'll try this one again afterwards, just to see how it holds up once I've seen the entire story unfold.

Perhaps it was simply the wrong moment for me to pick this book up. I know an awful lot of people who usually enjoy the same books as I do, gush about this one. ( )
  Vinjii | Mar 27, 2018 |

Brutal, bloody, and unexpected.

This book ratchets up the intensity slowly but surely. I was surprised at how quickly the ending came about and smacked me in the face. So much so that I'm glad I have the rest of the trilogy on hand. ( )
  tjavierb | Jan 26, 2018 |
Great book! Highly Recommended. Took a chance on this book based solely on the fact that it had an average rating above four stars and hope you do to. The book has a lot of action in it that is fast passed and do not remember any real dull moments. There is world building going on but because of the great characters you do not have to wait half way through for things to get interesting. I also was surprized at the number of times I was having a good laugh. ( )
  capetowncanada | Nov 30, 2017 |
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"The blade itself incites to deeds of violence" - Homer
For the Four Readers

You know who you are
First words
Logen plunged through the trees, bare feet slipping and sliding on the wet earth, the slush, the wet pine needles, breath rasping in his chest, blood thumping in his head. He stumbled and sprawled onto his side, nearly cut his chest open with his own axe, lay there panting, peering through the shadowy forest.
‘Has it ever occurred to you, Master Ninefingers, that a sword is different from other weapons? Axes and maces and so forth are lethal enough: but they hang on the belt like dumb brutes.' He ran an eye over the hilt, plain cold metal scored with faint grooves for a good grip, glinting in the torchlight. 'But a sword ... a sword has a voice.'


'Sheathed it has little to say, to be sure, but you need only put your hand on the hilt and it begins to whisper in your enemy's ear.' He wrapped his fingers tightly round the grip. 'A gentle warning. A word of caution: Do you hear it?'

Logen nodded slowly. 'Now,' murmured Bayaz, 'compare it to the sword half drawn.' A foot length of metal hissed out of the sheath, a single silver letter shining near the hilt. The blade itself was dull, but its edge had a cold and frosty glint. 'It speaks louder, does it not? It hisses a dire threat. It makes a deadly promise. Do you hear it?'

Logen nodded again, his 'eye fastened on that glittering edge. ‘Now compare it to the sword full drawn.' Bayaz whipped the long blade from its sheath with a faint ringing sound, brought it up so that the point hovered inches from Logen's face. 'It shouts now, does it not? It screams defiance! It bellows a challenge! Do you hear it?’
'Mmm,' said Logen; leaning back and staring slightly cross-eyed at the shining point of the' sword.

Bayaz let it drop and slid it gently back into its scabbard, something to Logen's relief. 'Yes, a sword has a voice. Axes and maces and so forth are lethal enough, but a sword is a subtle weapon, and suited to a subtle man. …’ p. 144

Men don’t fence for their King, or for their families, of for the exercise either … They fence for the recognition, for the glory. They fence for their own advancement. They fence for themselves. p. 174
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159102594X, Paperback)

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian - leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood. Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Longen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian.

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