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The Blade Itself (The First Law #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  121,743 Ratings  ·  6,167 Reviews
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at ca
...more
Paperback, 531 pages
Published September 30th 2007 by Pyr (first published May 4th 2006)
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David Can't believe the negative posts I'm reading. Great gritty dark fantasy with three unique protagonists and very distinct voices for each. None of them…moreCan't believe the negative posts I'm reading. Great gritty dark fantasy with three unique protagonists and very distinct voices for each. None of them are heroes per se, but all are interesting and compelling. Good read so far, fans of A Song of Ice and Fire may like it. (less)
Avaminn F'nett It's writing style is a bit like Scott Lynch's, but not as good. It's a decent book. I don't know why people compare it to ASOIAF because they're…moreIt's writing style is a bit like Scott Lynch's, but not as good. It's a decent book. I don't know why people compare it to ASOIAF because they're nothing alike.

Scott Lynch's books are definitely the closest.(less)

Community Reviews

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mark monday
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
I’m going to do something that's a little disrespectful and start this review by talking about another fantasy series that I’ve enjoyed: A Song of Ice and Fire. That series rules. It has everything I’ve wanted in a series since Tolkien but there’s one thing to be said about it, neither good or bad, that is a big part of its impact: it is dark, very very dark. The darkness comes, as it should in all quality fiction, not necessarily from the actual bad things that happen to good people, but from t ...more
Jim
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for full-blooded fantasy
Anton Chekhov famously said that if an author mentions a gun, it had better go off at some point, a point often attributed to Raymond Chandler (who at least practiced this rule). The same goes for fantasy writers. Fantasy doesn't need to be all blood and whirling blades, but if a fantasy writer straps a broadsword to a character's side, it had better be drawn in anger, at some point.

This was one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a while, especially impressive as it's a first novel. It has
...more
James Lafayette  Tivendale
I was up until half five yesterday morning reading intensely to finish off this story. I didn't write the review then as it would have been a tired, mumbled mess with little to no eloquence and it wouldn't have included any cool sounding words. Let's see how I get on now after a good nights sleep. Prior to reading this, I had completed Abercrombie's Shattered Sea trilogy and enjoyed it a lot. Where that was classic story focused fantasy with twists aplenty, this is best described as a macabre, d ...more
Bookwraiths
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, Joe Abercrombie is a fantasy author who all my real-life friends have raved about for years and insisted that I read. From their proselyting, it seemed that my life would not be complete without sampling Lord Grimdark’s wares. So, in order to save myself from some accursed fate, I read the first two novels in Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series.

Unfortunately, grimwhine was not for me. If interested in the “why”, you ca
...more
Bookdragon Sean
Joe Abercrombie certainly knows how to write some disturbingly likable characters. In any other book the protagonists would be the bad guys. Logan Ninefingers is a brutal warrior who goes into insane blood rages where he kills anything, and everything, near him. Yet, weirdly, he is also a wise and sensitive soul. San Dan Glocka is a torturer whose heart is pure malice, yet somehow his attitude toward life boarders on the hilarious. These two are such great characters; they make the series what i ...more
Ibrahim Z
Mar 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I almost put down the book when 3 paragraphs in the first 3 pages began with some version of this line:

"Shit," he said.

But I managed to slog through because I was told this was a some genre-breaking novel that didn't rely so heavily on typical fantasy clichés and it was supposed to be really dark and gritty. Instead of gritty, it felt kind of like a teenager who swears a lot to try and sound like an adult: really forced and usually out of context. A lot of the writing in general seemed to trip o
...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
So this was one of my most anticipated reads.

Grimdark fans from all over offer up this book as one of the best in the genre, and so that understandably rocketed my expectations!

And this was not a bad book by any means.

In fact, as soon as I started I was told multiple times that I could liken the first book of The First Law series to "a giant prologue," and I think that's a really accurate way to describe it.

The book follows a handful of characters who are all entangled in some way in the dege
...more
Mpauli
"So, let's cast the characters for our novel, shall we?"
"Of course, boss, Mr. Abercrombie, sir!"
"Where is the run-of-a-mill farmboy with a great destination?"
"I'm afraid he ran of the mill, met a goblin. Now rots in a ditch."
"Oh, how unfortunate."
"Indeed, boss, indeed."
"Let's see. What about the maiden fair in need of rescue from a dragon?"
"Apparently she ate the dragon. Now she was saying something about a burning sensation in the...well...digesting area. Went to the toilet, never saw her again
...more
Carol.
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
The Blade Itself will undoubtedly become classic fantasy. I found it engrossing, and one of the best examples of the "darker" epic fantasies, with protagonists lacking in traditional heroic qualities and quests that are less than selfless. I liked the way the story was constructed, primarily following three main characters, with a fourth was added partway through the book. I was fairly certain they would intersect at some point, so part of the interest in the story is seeing how their individual ...more
Petrik
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 Stars

I started reading this because a lot of my friends recommend me if I wanted something like Song of Ice & Fire series, this is the closest one, and imo they're right. This book follows the perspective of 3 main anti-heroes, believe me, you'll root for them when you read it. Logen Ninefinger, the Schizophrenia barbarian, Sand dan Glokta, once the best swordsman turned crippled and torturer and Jezal dan Luthar, the narcissistic fencer who wanted nothing more than fame.

The book start
...more
Dan Schwent
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2013
On the run from a king he once served, barbarian Logen Ninefingers finds himself in the Union's capital, aligned with Bayaz, a legendary wizard long thought dead. Meanwhile, nobleman Captain Jezal Luthar trains for The Contest, a fencing spectacle, while lusting after Ardee West, sister of one of his comrades. Inquistor Glokta, crippled former swordsman, skulks around in the darkness, torturing the answers he seeks while searching for treason at every turn. What is Bayaz planning? Will Jezal bed ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
● Buddy read with the wannabe torturers over at BBB



DNF at 34%.

You! Yes, you there! The person who is reading this review right now! Are you one of the hilarious people who told me I was going LOVE this book? You aren't? It's your lucky day, you should try playing the lottery or something. Now. If you are one of the delirious people who did tell me I was going to LOVE this book…oh man, you are SO doomed.



I mean, what the bloody hell??!! How DARE you suicidal people lure me into this by danglin
...more
Orient
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, who likes humour, fighting, magic and badasses
Recommended to Orient by: Milda Page Runner
I can certainly say that this book is gritty. So, you start reading it and it pushes your face in mud, sweat and blood. If someone just falls somewhere or rolls down the stairs, you can be sure, it will be shown with all the glory of sticky stuff running down the face with an agonizing squirm. It reminds me of Tolkien or Sapowski in some episodes.
But this book is not just a merciless hole covered in darkness and blood. You can find a lot of fun, humor (slight or hard)and that just makes the book
...more
The Shayne-Train
I'll start this review by saying that, currently, I have 197 Goodreads friends (which is really something, as I doubt there are even 50 people in my real life that I can stand). Out of those 197 friends, 59 of them have either read this book, or have it on their to-read shelf. That's 30%. Pretty much one in three. Numbers don't lie; they can't.

So I doubt I'll be introducing the concept of Mr. Abercrombie's genius to anyone. In fact, this would be pretty much the perfect example of "preaching to
...more
Rick Riordan
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read a fantasy trilogy all the way through, back to back. Joe Abercrombie's The First Law series was too compelling not to finish in a single marathon. The first book, The Blade Itself, introduces a cast of well-developed, complex characters throw together in a world loosely based on medieval Europe. At first, it's not entirely clear what the major story line will be. It's also not clear who the good guys and bad guys are -- kind of like real life. If this sounds like A ...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
Sale Alert: Kindle Daily Deal on 16Jul18 on Amazon for $2.99

Buddy read starting 7/25/14 with Athena, Alexa, Kat Stark, Jessica, Jennifer and Eon
  ‘History is littered with dead good men.’  

Do you like morally ambiguous characters? Do you want to read something where there is no clear ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ persons, where people and their motivations are a mystery for the most part? If you love fantasies that focus on the characters a little more than the world building then this is totally for
...more
Choko
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** 4.75 ***

A buddy re-read with my friends from BB&B

Just as great as the first time around:-)
Stephen
6.0 stars (One of My All Time Favorites). Absolutely outstanding debut novel. Right along side The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss as the best debut Fantasy novels of the last few years. This book is as good as the fantasy genre gets and I can not wait to read the sequel. Finally, IMHO, Glotka is one of the most original and best developed characters in a long time. Highly recommended.

Nominee: John A. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel (2008)
...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ by: Kat Stark


Actual rating : 4.5 stars

Back when I was in college and had to read a tons of French classics, I considered my dearly fantasy books as my escape, and I used to devour them all, good or bad, whenever I had the opportunity. Sadly, what had to happen finally happened : I grew tired of them, and spent years avoiding them, until a little bastard named Jorg came along in February, and then I thought : FUCK YEAH. There are still fantasy books I can enjoy. The Blade Itself is one of them.



If I can't deny
...more
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
March 2016 Reread done and stars re-awarded. *high-fives Abercrombie


This book sucker punched me. I did not expect this level of awesomeness. I did initially give this 5 stars due to superb characters, but downgraded it after some consideration regarding the plot.
I know Lord Grimdark is a very popular author, but I had tried one of his books a few years back and did not care for it as much as this one. It was good, but that was just where it stopped for me.

This book though, hit all the right not
...more
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest


Hilariously, I read THE BLADE ITSELF alongside SUMMER OF THE UNICORN, and while both are fantasy novels, just look at those covers and guess who the targeted audience for each is. Yeah, I thought so. Now imagine THE BLADE ITSELF with a hero (let's go with Bayaz) and a heroine (Ferro?) clad in scanty clothes, miming sexual positions around a sword plunged into the middle of a scenic wood populated by deer...and Shanka.



This NEEDS to happen!



My
...more
Deborah Obida
Life—the way it
really is—is a battle not
between good and bad, but
between bad and worse.’
Joseph Brodsky


I know I would love this book when I read the synopsis,and am glad this book lived up to expectations.Never have I seen grey characters portrayed perfectly, the characters are so amiable that its easy to overlook their morals. The book is also original, well written battle scenes, cultures, good dose of romance, diversity etc.

World building and Writing
I always appreciate a good world build
...more
Jon
Feb 16, 2009 added it
Recommended to Jon by: Patrick Rothfuss
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
1 1/2

I had avoided this book for awhile, despite all the good things I'd heard about it, primarily because I was afraid that the "gritty realism" proclaimed about in the book amounted to "bleak and disheartening". I read for entertainment, and I don't read to be depressed about the darker parts of human nature, because I'm quite familiar with them already, quite frankly, and so I saw this book and thought "not for me".

But, still, when you see a book recommended by, seemingly, everyone, time and
...more
Nimrod Daniel
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It’s been a long time that I’m anticipating to start reading Abercrobie’s books, because they sound very appealing to me. To my surprise I didn’t find it dark nor grim as I thought, there’s lots of good humor and the atmosphere is relatively “calm” without any imminent cataclysm, or a world in the brink of total destruction. The world changes, but it looks like that it would take some time until we’ll witness dramatic changes in the world. As I see it, it’s more *light* fantasy than dark fantasy ...more
Siobhan
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The whole book was great, but the last 7 chapters were f*cking GOLD!!
If all grimdark is this funny I need more of it in my life.
I laughed, I cried, I shit my pants... What more could you ask for??
Lema
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This is definitely one of those awesome non-typical fantasy novel, there's no knight in shining armor, there's no maniacally laughing villain, there's no battle of good against evil, and I honestly still have no idea what the hell is going on!

description
Some art from the series comic adaptation

Even though this book read more like a giant prologue than an actual installment of its own, I loved it to pieces.. Yes, it was slow at times, yes you feel like nothing much has happened overall, but damn it if those
...more
Jokoloyo
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TLDR part, before review:
I recommend to read First Law from Book 1 (The Blade Itself) to Book 3 (Last Argument of Kings) as soon as possible. There are details from Book 1 that still relevant until the end of Book 3. And it is basically one book in three volumes. I perceived some reviewers that only read the first book only rated lower ratings, because the story at the end of Book 1 is not finished.

Now, the review...

I praise this low-fantasy series, because the unusual POV characters. Most of th
...more
Eric Allen
Oct 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read this book. I really did. I got over halfway through, but I just can't go any further. It's too damn boring and pointless. I hate every character in it. I'm not interested in what's going on in the slightest. I keep making excuses not to read any more of it. A good story is about interesting people doing interesting things. And this one lacked both of those things. I should never have to force myself to keep reading, I should be excited and compelled to read by what's going on and ...more
Evgeny
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Evgeny by: Artemas
Shelves: fantasy
Northern barbarian Logen Ninefingers tries to stay alive in the wilderness while being pursued by his enemies. When he receives a message that a powerful wizards looks for him, he decides to take a job even without having a clue what the said job is about.

In the southern capital of the Union (this is the name of a kingdom) a crippled inquisitor Glokta does his job - a little too enthusiastically. He used to be a dashing military officer, but several years being a prisoner of war made him practic
...more
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13,574 followers
Joe Abercrombie was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He moved into television production before taking up a career as a freelance film editor. During a break between jobs he began writing The Blade Itself in 2002, completing it in 2004. It was published by Gollancz in 2006 and was followed by two other books in The First Law Trilogy ...more
More about Joe Abercrombie

Other books in the series

The First Law (3 books)
  • Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)
  • Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3)

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“Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.” 594 likes
“Has it ever occured to you, Master Ninefingers, that a sword is different from other weapons? Axes and maces and so forth are lethal enough, but they hang on the belt like dumb brutes. But a sword...a sword has a voice.
Sheathed it has little to say, to be sure, but you need only put your hand on the hilt and it begins to whisper in your enemy's ear. A gentle word. A word of caution. Do you hear it?
Now, compare it to the sword half drawn. It speaks louder, does it not? It hisses a dire threat. It makes a deadly promise. Do you hear it?
Now compare it to the sword full drawn. It shouts now, does it not? It screams defiance! It bellows a challenge! Do you hear it?”
330 likes
More quotes…