Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The First Law

I was looking for a new fantasy book/series to read, and people told me that I should take a gander at Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, the introductory book of The First Law trilogy. (Full disclosure: I was also told to read Sabriel, and I did, and it was fine, but I came away convinced that fifteen year old me would have loved it completely, but that I'm just too old and well read to find it world shaking. Sorry, Garth Nix. It's a good book, just not for who I am right now.) Abercrombie's the kind of writer who makes me slightly ill: younger than me, blisteringly good debut novel, sequels that he manages to not mess up at all (so far, I'm only on the second book). The writing is sly, funny, quick; the plotting intricate without being impossible to follow; the characters are viewed differently depending on who's seeing them--a thing so uncommon it startled me, as mostly fantasy involves monolithic characters who are the same to everyone, the badass, the mystic, the clumsy idiot, the mad killer, and that's not the case here. Well, it's kind of the case, but there's nuance in how people view each other, and I like that a lot.
A few things I wish existed but they don't. A map would be nice: I operated with an entirely incorrect world view until I searched online and found a map that may or may not be accurate but seems to better fit with what's described than my own conception of things. A little less coyness in the history of the world would be okay as well, but I get where he's coming from in that regard.
I'm already piling up the rest of Abercrombie's books to read when I finish with this one (all too soon perhaps) and I'm telling people to read them with a slightly fevered look to my eyes as I declare how good they are. I've been disappointed before with fantasy epics after falling head over heels for the early books, and maybe it'll happen again, but I've got high hopes. This is looking very good, very positive. I'm enthused, even.

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