It seems that there are two types of people in this world, those that love Joe Abercrombie’s fantastic, spectacular, bet-you-can’t guess-what-side-I fall-on novel The Blade Itself and those who find it meh. It is a bit of a violent mess, so steer clear of it if you don’t like your fantasy dark. However, if you don’t mind dipping your toes in the red tinted waters of magic and sword battles, this first book in the trilogy could be the book for you. It is extremely impressive as a first novel, and reminds me somewhat of the Game of Thrones Series without your favourite characters getting axed every other chapter.
So, what is it that sets this apart from other fantasy books? First off, the characters are fresh and well rounded, and since they all pretty much come with baggage it makes the distinctions between who the good guys and the bad guys are a wee bit blurry. I really love this, because it gives the characters a kind of depth that you don’t always see. It also might make you like characters that you really didn’t think you would first off, which keeps things interesting.
“The blade itself incites to deeds of violence”~Homer
The other thing that I loved about this book is the cynical humour that gets thrown in. It comes as a bit of a shock in the middle of a serious scene and I caught myself chuckling on more than one occasion. I love that this is the case from a fantasy book that isn’t focused on being humorous. It’s smart, sassy and sometimes vulgar, but the humour that creeps in is always spot on.
“The books are good, really good. They pulled me in. Well-developed world. Unique, compelling characters. I like them so much that when I got to the end of the second book and found out the third book wasn’t going to be out in the US for another three months, I experienced a fit of rage, then a fit of depression, then I ate some lunch and had a bit of a lay down.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind
Finally, I just love stories that are told in a kind of conversational voice. Stephen King always had this for me, slipping into his storytelling was like putting on your favourite fuzzy slippers, well, fuzzy slippers with big teeth, but I digress. Abercrombie has this too, where the action and dialogue just flow seamlessly together so that I can’t help but follow. It’s almost less of a book experience and more of a movie. Speaking of movies, I reeeeeeally hope that one day someone makes it into one. It’d be epic. As it stands it did make it to being adapted to a graphic novel and also has translations into Spanish, German, Dutch, French and Russian.
But don’t just take it on my say so. Read this book! And then talk to me!
Happy trails. 🙂