The First Law

by Joe Abercrombie

3.11 avg rating
Book 10 of 255 in the Best Fantasy Series
1459 votes 12 comments
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 cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood. Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.

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Anonymous | 2014-04-11 01:31:03
Best fantasy series after The Song of Ice and Fire.
Anonymous | 2015-04-03 02:36:39
Logan what a great character. Could not put these books down. Read them and thank me later.
Anonymous | 2015-05-25 09:11:01
Great series. Dark and violent and...funny. Not something I'd let my kids read, but I could not stop.
3rd best? Really....? | 2015-06-03 10:12:16
Not sure how this made it to 3rd best. Not a well written series. No closure on the main arc of the series is maddening. I feel like i wasted my tume with this series.
Anonymous | 2015-06-12 05:33:07
very good and well written . wish it would see an immediate movie adaption .
Anonymous | 2015-06-22 07:23:42
Very predicable series with extremely one sided characters. It was an ok read but I pretty much knew where he was going with the entire series before I was finished with the first book. I expected so much more after all the good review I read.
Anonymous | 2015-09-07 10:29:56
Interesting world with interesting characters but after book three things felt a little anti-climactic. Also, none of the plot lines for any of those interesting characters seemed well resolved.
Anonymous | 2015-09-12 03:11:20
Half rate writing attempting to forge a Stephen Douglas/George r.r. Martin-esque sense of moral grayness; however, the attempt reaches into hyperbole by entirely changing the characterization of the main characters in the third book. Additionally, an interesting magic structure is thrown to the wayside after the first book and nuances of the world are left undeveloped. The brash contradictory nature of the characters strikes the reading as novel, and that is because other authors actually try to make a logically progressive plot. This series had potential, but book three made me legitimately angry by the time I had finished it.
Anonymous | 2015-10-26 05:36:55
I definitely enjoyed this series, but I wouldn't put it this high on the list. Ninefingers is one of my favorite characters in all of fantasy.
Thomas | 2016-05-13 02:59:24
I was excited to read this series when it started showing up on so many top fantasy lists. I must say I was very disappointed. Too much hype I suspect. It wasn't awful, but it's not special or particularly good. Malazan is my number 1. Followed by Robin Hobb(just all of it, it's great), then kingkiller it's really special. WoT has a special place in my heart, then ASoIaF-which isn't completely fair to that series but it's what Martin gets making me wait 6 long years for a meh book 5.
Anonymous | 2016-06-28 06:02:37
I wasn't a big fan of the series. The writing was pretty good and I really did like the world-building; this particular universe has a very interesting historical background and the story had pretty interesting political plot points and a pretty great plot twist about one of the main characters' identities, but what really brought the series down for me was the underdeveloped and unlikable characters. I haven't read the series in a while, so I don't quite remember any of the characters' names (which kind of proves how forgettable they were to me), so bear with me. The barbarian character I liked, but he really didn't do anything the series but fight, so his role was not really essential -- literally any fighting character could have taken his place, which left me disappointed. The girl from the warring country in the south is just a bitter woman who doesn't trust anyone and who never changes in the end and, like the barbarian, doesn't serve a lot of purpose other than to fight. The wizard was a good character at first, until I realized everything he did was for unexplained selfish reasons, and the main character is a spoiled teenager / young adult who claims to have changed during his long journey in the second book but whose actions say otherwise. To sum up all of the characters: their all a bunch of shallow bitter a**holes that hardly have any redeeming qualities. Honestly, I may be a bit biased because I now compare everything to George R.R. Martin’s books (they’re my favorite), but in this case I have good cause. When you read A Song of Ice and Fire, you can’t help but love the characters as they grow and change as the story progresses. I have to admit I used to hate Jaime Lannister, but now I think he is a great character, because of how he changed for the better. Even some of the relatively minor characters in ASOIAF are great; Davos Seaworth and even Varys are two of my favorite characters. But in the First Law Trilogy, I just don’t care about the characters from start to finish, the characters are uninteresting as it is, they have no redeeming or likeable qualities and they never change for the better. And don’t get me started about the heroes’ quest. The entire second book is pointless. The first book is about developing the character’s and building the world, as the wizard recruits his chosen few to go to the edge of the world to find some mystical stone that can end the wars in the north and south and I enjoyed it well enough, but after travelling an entire continent and spending the entire second book on this journey… the stone isn’t there. The end. The heroes’ all go back to the capital, but as it turns out, the wizard finds that the stone was in the capital all along! Overall I though the series was… bleh. But I did like the writing and world building so I may pick up one of Abercrombie’s later novels, eventually. On a side note, the Best Served cold link is linked to the wrong book. In case a site admin reads this…
Anonymous | 2018-08-03 08:27:28
no way in the 3rd best, predictable story, unresolved plot at the end, last book is pointless. Just weak alltogether
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