Iain Daly's Reviews > The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
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's review
Sep 04, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in September, 2012

I have just finished reading The Blade Itself for the second time (enjoyed it first time but wanted to leave for a while before revisiting and making sure that first impressions did really count). It did not disappoint. First impressions were dark, bloody, well paced, cynical and dry with a welcoming touch of humanity.

Second time around these themes still resonated but it was the humanity and humour that really came to the fore. I also began to appreciate the extent to which books like The Blade Itself have reinvigorated the fantasy genre. Abercrombie, Martin et al have recognised that the open canvas of the fantasy landscape allows for a more liberated approach in describing and exploring the extremes of personality, behaviour and emotional response that drives any storytelling narrative.

The downside to this freedom is the potential for clumsiness. Lowlights - Bayaz (an ancient, cynical and recalcitrant wizard) and Jezal dan Luthar (arrogant and dashing officer). Highlights - Collem West (officer with social inferiority issues), Sand dan Glotka (cripple, torturer, humanist), Logen Ninefingers (barbarian and reluctant philosopher) and the relationship between Luthar and West's sister, Ardee.

Overall, a thoroughly good read. Enjoyable and thought provoking without reading like an exercise in literary reinvention. Highly recommended.

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