Reading a classic: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

I admit.

I’m late to the party.

“The Blade Itself” should have been read a long, long time ago. And I just got through reading it. As a matter of fact, I read all three Joe Abercrombie books in his First Law series within a week, devouring them, not able to put them down. It didn’t help that Joe left me on a cliffhanger each book. The books were like a passenger train I couldn’t get off.

The characters were off the charts good. Col. Glokta, the tortured torturer, should go down as one of the most notable characters in literary history. He was villain and hero. The only other character I could even think to compare him to would be Hannibal Lecter from “Silence of the Lambs.”

I won’t go into a large synopsis. You have Logen Ninefingers, or The Bloody Nine, who is half barbarian and half lost, the anti-Gandalf Bayaz and Jezal, a snot-nosed brat. They are all on separate journeys during the start of the book and the novel serves as a splendid introduction to the cast of characters.

The real action does not take place until you reach the second and third novels, however, “Before They Are Hanged” and “Last Argument of Kings.”

Abercrombie’s writing chops come mostly with how he handles his characters and gets into their mind psychologically. The reader finds themselves in a state of flux almost all of the time. You love them, you hate them. You wonder to yourself who is the good guy? Just when you think you know, you realize you don’t.

The series is about half a step from George RR Martin. If you don’t like some of the best characters being killed, stay away.

I recently started reading fantasy again after a long break away and delving into literary, crime and thrillers. Abercrombie was a good way to welcome me back to the world of imagination, taking me to a time when I read Stephen King and Tolkien. Abercrombie welcomed me back to the fantasy world with dark characters and dark humor.

I’m glad to be back.

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