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The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The First Law (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,3031831,389 (4.05)159
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers. Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed... ...especially when Bayaz gets involved. 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 Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult...… (more)
  1. 244
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (MyriadBooks, Navarone, martlet)
  2. 50
    The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (ghilbrae)
  3. 40
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (KittyFiend)
  4. 31
    Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (majkia)
    majkia: an equally dark landscape with complex characters
  5. 10
    Diplomat of Uram by Richard R. Matthews (Emily_Hartman)
  6. 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.
  7. 21
    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".
  8. 00
    The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham (Scottneumann)

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» See also 159 mentions

English (170)  German (5)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (182)
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
A lovely story about friendship, both old and new.

Steven Pacey on audiobook is probably the most spot-on casting ever. His narration is perfect. Story is gritty and engaging, definitely setting up for the series. Cannot wait to dig in further. ( )
  Cabiel | Jul 31, 2020 |
Joe Abercrombie creates his characters so rich and full.His fight scenes are dark and gritty.This first book is a lot of posturing,getting the right people to the right places.It was really an enjoyable read for me and I'm to start the second book tonight. ( )
  chalton | Jul 14, 2020 |
I was surprised to find myself leaning toward four stars rather than three considering this book is a 500-page prologue. But it really is a hell of a prologue. And the final fight featuring Logen and Ferro is simply incredible. ( )
  wearyhobo | Jun 22, 2020 |
Superb characters, great action scenes, good world building...

Some interesting plots (not all), pacing was not great, and the ending was not nearly as satisfying as it could had been.

The blade itself does its job of getting you to know the world and its characters. It shows you a world where magic still exists but is not widely believed in. It presents a nation with a complex history that will most likely play a huge role in the trilogy. But it takes way too much time to deliver.

By the end you’re left wondering what was the end goal other than introducing the reader to the world and characters. This book was setup, something that should had been reserved for a sequel preparing for a grand conclusion... it wouldn’t had hurt to have a real arc coming to completion in this first book. ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
This is one of those rare books that I picked up because of the cover--I just couldn't resist--and although it took me some time to get to it, I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the second in the series.

Abercrombie's grimdark style is probably too dark for some readers, but I found it a really refreshing change of pace. The focus on in-depth characterization and unflinchingly honest flaws in those characters made for a read that engaged me almost immediately, and though I wondered where it was going in the beginning and felt it to be a little unfocused, I ended up fully engaged and wanting more. The flaw in the book is, without doubt, a prioritization of characterization over plot, and there were moments where I wished that that ratio were a bit more in balance, but Abercrombie achieved a lot with this novel, bringing together some of the realest characters I've seen in fantasy, and against a fully realized world.

I'd absolutely recommend it. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abercrombie, Joeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borchardt, KirstenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García Bercero, BorjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruth, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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