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Blade Itself (First Law 1) by Joe…

Blade Itself (First Law 1) (edition 2007)

by Joe Abercrombie

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4,1321491,215 (4.06)144
Title:Blade Itself (First Law 1)
Authors:Joe Abercrombie
Info:Gollancz (2007), Edition: paperback / softback, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Recently added byWolfsrudel, xholocene, private library, TheChieftain, catlin, shaunesay, kephradyx
  1. 224
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    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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Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
Decided to quit reading this book. Abercrombie has created a very gritty world that does feel more like what a pre-industrial world at war would actually be for the suffering characters. But that bleak and dark tone isn't what I want to be reading right now. So maybe another day.
  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Le prime 300-350 sono pesanti, avevo quasi voglia di abbandonarlo ma poi migliora e diventa davvero bello. Un consiglio non abbandonatelo a metà ( anche se la tentazione viene). ( )
  Angela.Me | Jun 10, 2017 |
------two paragraphs of preamble-----

In recent years there has been a trend in heroic fantasy toward a certain realism - which, being fantasy, some people find rather odd. First it began to show the brutality of close combat in graphic terms (lead very much by writers such as the late David Gemmell), perhaps following a re-discovery of [a:Robert E. Howard|66700|Robert E. Howard|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1210954603p2/66700.jpg]'s Conan and violent 1970s and 80s movies such as the Dirty Harry films (Clint Eastwood type lone avenger characters fit rather well into fantasy settings). More recently still, this has been combined with a social realism far removed from the bucolic ideals of Tolkein and C.S. Lewis.

The problem is, much of it is truly awful. Until my mid teens I was a huge fan of fantasy literature, but began to tire of the multi-volume epics full of bad writing hung on the same plot over and over again (for reference see [a:Robert Adams|40287|Robert Adams|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-M-50x66.jpg]' Horseclans books and [a:John Norman|26771|John Norman|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1223871142p2/26771.jpg]'s actually offensive Gor Saga; and when I say "see" I don't suggest you actually read them unless you're a masochist. Of course, if you're a masochist and female John Norman would quite like to meet you). I occasionally dip back into the field in the hope of finding the old magic, sometimes with joyous discovery like [a:George R. R. Martin|346732|George R.R. Martin|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1195658637p2/346732.jpg]'s truly magnificent A Song of Ice and Fire series, but mostly regretfully (writers such as [a:Steven Erikson|31232|Steven Erikson|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1219169436p2/31232.jpg] who seem to think that swearing and violence constitute a rounded character). From what I'd heard about Joe Abercrombie I had feared that he'd fall into the latter category, but when recommended to me by a friend who (usually) steers me right my hopes were raised and, while still somewhere between the two, he is far closer to Martin.

-------actual review-------

We are introduced to a fairly standard fantasy world; a dominant empire (technologically late middle ages but in feel more like the British Empire under Victoria) beset variously by Northern barbarians and dark heathens on its borders. We are introduced also to a set of disparate characters: Logen Ninefingers, huge scarred Northern warrior who is growing tired of the constant killing; Glokta, a former fencing champion and war hero who, after being broken and mangled in an enemy's torture chambers returned to become a feared Inquisitor; Jezal, an arrogant young noble Lieutenant; Maljinn, a feral warrior woman consumed by thoughts of revenge; Bayaz, ancient if rather hale and hearty sorcerer, to name some. Through the course of this first book in the trilogy we get to know the characters and some of them join together in our traditional questing group. It actually took quite a long time for this to happen - not that the book was at all slow, but it was almost half way through the 500-odd pages when I realised that the plot had only just kicked in. This was a surprise as these books are generally plot driven, but Abercrombie had done such a good job at building the characters and world that I had been engrossed.

Okay, for characterisation we're not talking Joseph Heller here, but the characters are well drawn with fairly realistic motivations and excellent individual voices. While the narrative voice is third person, in the individual chapters it is tweaked toward that of the character who is central at that point, allowing for some of the insight and empathy that you would get from a first person view. Abercrombie also shows his skill in the superb way he manages the tone; he can move from humour to chilling horror in a couple of sentences, and his descriptions of the adrenaline, fear and brutality of close combat are excellent.

At the close of this first volume threads of plot are being exposed and the tapestry of the setting growing. A war is starting in the North, although most of the main characters are heading in the opposite direction. I don't expect quite the complexity or intrigue of A Song of Ice and Fire, but it's a more than acceptable interlude while I'm waiting.

Other superior fantasy I'd recommend:

[a:KJ Parker|240708|K.J. Parker|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-F-50x66.jpg] - Scavenger Trilogy
[a:Robin Hobb|25307|Robin Hobb|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1205023525p2/25307.jpg] - Assassin Trilogy
[a:KJ Bishop|217735|K.J. Bishop|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-F-50x66.jpg] - The Etched City
[a:China Mieville|4492628|China Mieville|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] - [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)|China Miéville|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255612085s/68494.jpg|3221410] ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
Me ha gustado bastante, en especial los capítulos con el punto de vista del inquisidor Glokta y de Logen Nuevededos.
Sin embargo, no me han gustado el tratamiento de los pocos personajes femeninos (y se echa en falta algo más en Ferro que no su trama única y principal de venganza; si se compara con el tratamiento de Espina en Medio mundo, ha habido una evolución notable). Eso sí: Abercrombie no sabe hacer escenas románticas.

En espera de cuando lea el segundo, en definitiva, porque como introducción no está mal pero el final abierto en todos los frentes es un poco triste . ( )
  Owdormer | Feb 26, 2017 |
I cannot think of any other author who is better at characterization than Joe Abercrombie. The characters in this novel, the second of his I have read, are so utterly unique, complex, and dynamic, it amazes me!
There is nothing stereotypical about this fantasy novel, and especially the characters that are being used to build this story. Abercrombie writes something completely his own here, and is building a story that is utterly compelling.
The pieces of the puzzle have only just been laid out here, in the "The Blade Itself," and I find myself eager to read the next novel in the series so I can begin to place the pieces together, hoping to see the bigger picture.
Abercrombie is easily one of the best fantasy writers I have read to date, and this series could easily be said to be one of the best in the genre, in my humble opinion.
Bloody, dark, fast paced, and also surprisingly funny. Abercrombie has a knack for dialogue and character interactions that work so well, you find yourself sucked in and believing every word.
I find him brilliant, and this fantasy novel was among my top without a doubt. ( )
  Kiddboyblue | Dec 2, 2016 |
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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)

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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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