BOOK REVIEW: The Blade Itself (4 stars) by Joe Abercrombie

uk-orig-the-blade-itselfVerdict: A different kind of fantasy book. Knowing, earthy and home to one of the best anti-heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

I will first be honest and say that this is the second time I’ve read this book. The first time was seven years ago and, although I enjoyed it, I was enamored with Robin Hobb at the time, so I didn’t complete the trilogy it comes from – The First Law. This year, I vowed I would read the whole thing, because I figured I was doing Abercrombie an injustice by not finishing such a well written story. I was well rewarded.

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian and murderer of everything that moves, has just lost his friends – the group of rejected Northerners who fled for their life from the new King Bethod. He finds himself alone, until an apprentice called Malacus Quai comes to him and says his master, Bayaz, First of the Magi, wants to talk to him. Cue adventure.

In far off Adua, the preening Jezal dan Luthar drinks and gambles his way through life, seducing women and squandering money whilst he trains for the fencing contest that will decide and define his future. He is empty-headed, vain, and looking forward to an easy life of wine, women and wanton behaviour.

Inquisitor Glokta, on the other hand, has a mind as sharp as his instruments. A glorified torturer, he cuts his way to the truth of matters, never flinching away from his duty, repeating the atrocities that were done to him long ago in the bowels of the Emperor’s palace. Yet his latest discovery might pay unexpected dividends, leading to a conspiracy right at the heart of Adua’s government. Continue reading