The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself
The First Law, book 1
by Joe Abercrombie

Logen Ninefingers, Inquisitor Glokta, and Captain Jezal dan Luthar’s lives are each affected by the return of the First of the Magi, Bayaz.

I have some mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I enjoyed the writing, the setting, and the cast of characters. On the other hand, I spent almost the entire book waiting for the pieces to fall into place and an actual plot to appear. I did enjoy this, and I am planning to read the second book, but it certainly reads as the introduction to whatever is coming next. It’s the group backstory of how everyone came to be together.

I liked Logen and Bayaz, but I don’t think they seemed like the center of the story, which is what I expected going into this book. They both have a large part in the plot and are compelling on their own, but I wish I had felt a stronger connection to them, particularly Logen. Jezal was interesting in a different way, arrogant and providing some smaller scale worldbuilding moments. Glokta read as the true center of the story in my opinion. His part felt the most active and complete.

The story meanders around for quite a while, introducing new main characters and perspectives halfway through the book. Although I liked these new characters, I found it difficult to become invested in them when I was still figuring out how everyone else was connected. There is some action, a touch of romance, and a lot of bits laid out for us one by one that gradually add up to the connections between all the characters and the main plot. More of a slow-burn than I thought, but plenty of great elements.

While not as bold and action-packed as I had expected, I enjoyed the first book in this series and I’m excited for things to (hopefully) pick up even more in the second one.