Fantastic. The fight scenes alone are pure awesomeness and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. It’s a little profane, but the kind of profanity that comes with realizing that life is dirty, gritty, and awful things happen all the time. Profanity serves a purpose when it’s realistic and not used for shock factor.
I’m going to go ahead and just echo the people who are saying that it’s incredible that this is Joe Abercrombie’s first published work. Page after page was like going on an Easter egg hunt– little jolts of surprises and pure joy when I got to each perfectly constructed sentence. It’s like how Lindt chocolates are visual, gustatory, and tactile balls of pleasure
To sum it up, heroes can’t be heroes all the time. We need heroes who are relatable, who’ve had to use elbow grease on something, who’ve been to prison (ok maybe just a tiny overnight stint). Abercrombie gives us a non-traditional hero in the form of Logen Ninefingers–a murderer with ethics, a code, and we root for him. Abercrombie also has a fantastic way of connecting us to unsavory characters, not with empathy, but with a dirty curiosity. Fantasy books can sometimes be heavy on the gloom, doom, and ba-da booms, but I found myself laughing out loud as I read this because it introduces tragedy as being a part of life, but not having to bog down your life.
I probably wouldn’t want to run into two of the main viewpoints- Glotka and Jezal-in a dark alley but only because one would creep me out and the other would walk around with his head so high in the air that his nose could be the cornerstone for Mt. Olympus. Glotka is such an amazing character and I’ve haven’t read a character like him before with such a disgusting realism.
It’s refreshing to see Abercrombie add a few distinct fantasy elements, but especially in the form of a non-traditional magus. I appreciated many of the scenes with Bayaz and that he didn’t walk about in robes all the time. I appreciated that mages “specialized” and that there were certain rules for magic–that one magus couldn’t be all powerful and do everything. The only thing I didn’t really connect with was Ferro the slave’s story, but I think that will be fleshed out more in the following book.
Lindt chocolate my friends, or turtles. Think turtles, and enjoy.