Monday, October 27, 2014

Fantasy Reading List: The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

It's been a while since I've written a post. I got busy doing other things, and the blog ended up being forgotten (as usual). Right now, I'm reading Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, so I thought I'd give a brief review of his First Law trilogy.

Abercrombie is an absolute favorite of many fantasy readers, especially those who prefer their fantasy more on the grimdark side. I'm not as much into the grimdark, but I can still appreciate an author who does that style of fantasy well. And Abercrombie does it very well.

This trilogy is a must-read if you're looking for antiheroes. You could argue that every viewpoint character in the thing fits as an antihero. I found that I liked some of the characters more than others: Logen Ninefingers, for example. Glokta, on the other hand, didn't do it for me. I know a lot of people love the character, but I didn't. In fact, Logen was the only character I really connected with throughout the series. The others had their moments, but they weren't my favorites.

However, if you're more into antiheroes, you'll probably find yourself liking more of the characters than I did. I still liked the story in spite of my dislike for some of the characters. I should note, however, that I didn't care as much for the first book as I did for books two and three. The first book felt like it was there to setup the rest of the story, rather than being a complete story on its own merits.

I know I'm pointing out a lot of negatives here, but it is a good series, just not one that's always suited to my tastes. There's plenty of action, which Abercrombie describes very well. He's one of the best I've seen at depicting battles, both large and small. He's also the best I've seen in fantasy at incorporating character voice in a third-person narrative. His characterization is superb in general (even if I didn't like some of them). He also has a way of cleverly subverting many of the most common fantasy tropes.

In general, if you're a fan of darker, grittier fantasy in a brutal world filled with antiheroes, this will be a great read for you. If you're tired of seeing farmboys chasing dark lords across generic fantasy landscapes, this might be the series you're looking for.

Personally, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away because it's not to my tastes.

Rating: 7.5/10

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