Undeniably one of the most developed and insightful new fantasy series
“Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in counUndeniably one of the most developed and insightful new fantasy series
“Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father,” ponders Gloucester in Shakespeare’s King Lear. Such a thought essentially captures the world of Joe Abercrombie’s first published novel, The First Law: The Blade Itself.
Beginning with “The End,” and, in the words of Starburst’s review, “a beginning that is literally a cliffhanger,” Abercrombie’s first novel in The First Law trilogy, The Blade Itself, stays true to the fast-paced, intricate style that has become popular in modern fantasy and uses dark humor to lead readers on a fast-paced journey through a novel that reads like anything but an author’s debut novel.
Focusing on characters most notable for their flaws, The Blade Itself takes readers on a fascinating journey through a land filled with turbulent countries, brewing wars, treasonous politics, and, in the midst of it all, a wizard from the distant past.
Abercrombie’s writing follows the political arenas of several countries, from the people of the North who have been brought together for the first time under the ruthless King Bethod to Gurkham, which has come under the control of a violent new king bent on further conquests. Between them rests the Union, once the powerful kingdom brought together by the wizard Bayaz, now rife with infighting and greed.
The Union controlled by select nobles on the closed council, while power continues to seep out into the growing merchant class as the lines between commoners and nobles blur. Meanwhile, guilds and nobles plot against one another while the King’s Inquisition attempts to root out treachery using any means necessary. And both Gurkham and the North have their eyes set on the borders of the Union.
Through it all, Abercrombie follows the adventures of a small group of characters with distinct personalities, whose voices become recognizable early in the tale:
Glokta, the crippled soldier-turned-torturer, determined to solve the treasonous mysteries of his country; Captain Jezal, a selfish young noble who is about to play a far greater role than he desired, preferring cards, drinks, and a life of leisure; Logen the fierce Northman, known as the Bloody-Nine, possessed of ruthlessness, compassion, deadliness, and cleverness in equal measure, following Bayaz for no reason outside a desire to not have to make decisions and Bayaz.
Bayaz is First of the Magi, a powerful Magus of ancient times. He might be insane, he might be brilliant, and he might turn the world upside down. The ancient forces that he fought in the legendary past to create modern society are rising up once more to conquer the circle of the world.
Drawing an assortment of figures together, from the infamous Bloody-Nine to the lazy nobleman Captain Jezal, Bayaz begins an undertaking that brings the mythical back into the Union, threatens the laws of his order, and just might destroy the world.
While Abercrombie clearly draws on classic fantasy and its archetypes, his characters have unique voices and differ from the norms enough to keep readers interested. With a world that is clearly developed beyond the story's adventure, his First Law trilogy is well worth reading.
A dark comedy, a political pondering, and a journey filled with fights and triumphs, Abercrombie brings a vibrant world to the public that will appeal to a vast range of readers whether they are looking for philosophy, psychology, adventure, or comedy with a dash of romance thrown in. ...more
**spoiler alert** Booklist describes God's Demon as "a fascinating novel that will ring true to anyone who has ever hoped for forgiveness." As reviews**spoiler alert** Booklist describes God's Demon as "a fascinating novel that will ring true to anyone who has ever hoped for forgiveness." As reviews go, this certainly gets to the heart of the thematic material in Barlowe's novel.
As a professional illustrator, he creates an evocative visual world far different form our own. With scenes ranging from the disturbingly gruesome to the startlingly beautiful, the novel is a study in contrast and mirrors the shades of grey that fill our own world.
From the beginning to the end, readers are faced with the juxtaposition of well-developed characters who range across social classes, sides in the war, and even species. Following the rebellion of the fallen seraph Sargatanas, the novel takes its audience on the fascinating visual and emotional journey of the demon major seeking redemption, his followers, and his enemies.
The tale centers around the importance of hope, the chance of redemption, and the choice to pursue one's beliefs in the face of ostensibly insurmountable odds. At the end, readers are left with unanswered questions and a finale that both elates and saddens, filled with both victory and defeat, and characters whose ends remain mysterious, unanswered questions, leaving the reader with both the joy of a hero achieving his dream and the cathartic experience of the tragic hero whose decisions and traits lead to his downfall....more