Published in 2006 , The Blade Itself was the first book in The First Law Trilogy written by now well renowned British Author Joe Abercombie . The idea behind the book by Joe was to make a book that would single handedly redefine the Fantasy Genre , I don’t know how much success he achieved with that idea for as far as the series is concerned the book was a masterpiece* .
“The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. Still, the struggle itself is worthwhile. Knowledge is the root of power, after all.”
However many a times the individual books of a series feel a bit different but when they combine they make it a thing to behold . In many sense that statement can hold true for The Blade Itself which has had some very divided and strong opinions amongst the fantasy reader community . Some Love the book and later gag over the awesomeness of the whole series and some Gag with dread and slate this book as a pile of garbage and don’t even proceed with the series to appreciate it’s beauty . So I guess I am the lucky few who come under the former category rather than the latter.
*more on what I think of the whole series itself later
It’d be hard to believe but when Abercombie published the Blade itself he was only 30 years old. An Age considered to be very young* in the epic fantasy genre and when Abercombie had the initial idea he was working as the Guy who brings coffee to Movie Editors
*See Eragon fans even young authors can write good books that aren’t YA and aren’t full of plagiarism & 💩
He later became a freelance film editor which came as a blessing in disguise as he found a lot of spare time , time which he could finally use to fulfill his wishes of a fantasy masterpiece . And so was born The Blade Itself which faced further hurdles of various publisher rejecting the book until in 2004 the book was finally published .
“Hard words are for fools and cowards.”
The book is set in a fictional world very similar to medieval – era Europe which is in midst of a war with a neighboring empire meanwhile a different set of neighbors come knocking looking for a different war . The story takes into account the life of five key characters
wildlingNorthmen -Logan Ninefingers – who’s had a dark past and a darker reputation even among the people of the civilized Union ,& who’s now looking to move on and forget the past & maybe finally live a peaceful life wizardMage – Bayaz – The most reputed Magician remembered as a myth but forgotten as a person who’s ready to set a chain of events into motion whose result will have consequences of epic magnitude While the normal public still argues with the authenticity of his claims to be the alleged mage .
- Captain Jezal Dan Luther – a most arrogant nobleborn with minor talents who thinks of nothing but himself and dreams of glory unproportioned
- Inquisitor Glokta – a former war hero , now a monstrosity in appearance, wicked in thoughts and a ruthless torturer with no friends or family .
- Faro – a foreigner who can hold her own despite being a woman and being of very ill-tempered nature
“Well. What can we do, except try to do better?”
On The surface these characters might look very stereotypical to some* but on deep dwelling the characters take you on a journey that makes you understand each and every characters motivation and sooner you find defending their actions no matter how absurd or disturbing. The authors makes a good case for each and every character in the book even the minor ones .Abercombie keeps the book high paced but for not a single instance moves away from his splendid character development.
*to those “some” i’d like to know how these are your stereotypical characters coz to me they are very different to any book fantasy or otherwise that I have ever read
While the Characters and their moral ambiguity remains the most praiseworthy thing about the book the world of First law and the setting of the Series in itself is beautifully depicted .The book is rich in action in fact there is a lot of fast paced action going all throughout the book with nearly every 2 chapters bringing forth an action scene. However such is the depiction of the said action that you rarely find yourself saturated from all the action . The plot moves in a very generous pace and there’s enough mystery to keep you wonder about the plot all throughout the book . The book however is very dark and gritty and even the moments of humor are very subtle and dark in nature and if you don’t have stomach for such stuff you may be turned off
“Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it”- Logan Ninefinger’s Father
The book has had a lot of divided opinions as time has progressed & as the book has garnered more and more fame . The thing is with Books such as A Song of Fire and Ice becoming such a mainstream reading material these days that dark and gritty work such as Abercrombie’s can turn out to be very less obscene and dark and therein lies one of the biggest criticism from many readers of the book nowadays*. While reader who have read the book before hand will introduce the book as a dark and gritty epic fantasy to someone who hasn’t read the book that someone may later find and compare the darkness with A song of fire and ice Then understandably there’s no comparision .
*And I am curious what the hell is wrong with people these days that get turned out by gore and not just any gore will do , S&M and pulling teeths of a person are now very childish to some . I mean seriously WHAT ARE Y’ALL SMOKING COZ YOU LOT ARE SICK IF YOU THINK SUCH.
Similarly one of the biggest criticism of the book that makes many a reader close the book midway is the writing style . The writing is kind of clunky and many a times dialogues come across as forced and that’s a justifiable turn off for many a reader over time. The mere mention of the sentence “Shit! He Said” can either make you giggle and show your fanboy/girl self or make you mad . The Fanboys will defend the term while the haters will hate how ugly that makes the book as a literature .
“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”
Obviously being the first book for a 30 year old guy with a dream too big the book has its own flaws , it’s definitely not a literary masterpiece , not something that people can come out and compare with likes of LOTR and I can completely understand the people who decided to not give this book a chance but just like I said before sometimes the end result are something way more to behold and can’t be judged by the beginning as far as I am concerned such is the scenario of this book. So Consider the positives and ignore the few flaws and I guarantee you will fall in love with this book