The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie
I heard this trilogy hyped a lot on YouTube so decided to give it a go. The Blade Itself is the first book in “The First Law” trilogy written by British author, Joe Abercrombie.
This fantasy is not quite up to the “epic” or “high” fantasy that I am used to but still is an enjoyable read. The story is character driven with a host of many characters, almost all unlikable.
My favorite, Logen, is thought of as a savage and lives up to this moniker. He seems to have some magic within him, making him a dangerous fighter but with some goodness deep inside.
The First of the Magi, Bayaz is a complex character with a ton of history. I won’t go too far into him as it would spoil the story, but he is definitely a character to follow.
Of the other main characters, I truly despise Ferro and Jezel. They need a lot of growth in the rest of the series to be no more than annoying tropes. The inquisitor Glotka has more depth and is probably my second favorite character. He has the background to be bitter and makes one almost root for him to succeed, despite his torturous methods.
As for plot, it took awhile for the story to pick up speed. There are a lot of subplots surrounding the mounting war. Jezel is training for a fencing competition, although I really didn’t care much about him winning or not, and it seemed pretty obvious what the outcome would be.
The last two or three chapters really brought the action and plot together. Many of the characters paths crossed in interesting ways, and an interesting voyage is beginning. But this will have to wait for the next book.
Also, the next book should explore a late entry into the character mix: Brother Longfoot. He is a Navigator, part of a cult-like brotherhood that travels the world. He seems a bit goofy but his worldly knowledge should add interest in the next installment.
For setting, there is a definite medieval English vibe (one of the places is literally called Angland). The most interesting place was the Maker’s tower that had been sealed. The descriptions surrounding this place was well done.
One funny side note. There is a lot of cussing and violence, but the characters always shy away from referring to sexual relationships or body parts. Odd.