Buddy read: The blade itself by Joe Abercrombie

Posted in CategoryBuddyReads
  • Nepheli 11 months ago

    Hi everyone! I just started reading "The blade itself" by Joe Abercrombie, the first book in the "First law" trilogy. Anyone interested in reading a fantasy book with a professional torturer as one of the main characters this month? I bet that's the perfect lighthearted summer read you always wanted!

  • Nina 11 months ago

    hey :) totally too busy with life to be doing a buddy-read, but I want to, so whatever. I'm in. The description of the books sounds a bit "boy-ish", but hopefully it will be fun anyway.

    When would you want to start?  

  • Nepheli 11 months ago

    Haha! Yeah, testosterone levels are a bit high, but so far it's been a very compelling read, at least for me. And this is coming from someone that thought she wouldn't like it at all! Since I've already started, you - and anyone else obviously - can pick it up any time they want... today, tommorow, next week... I'll slow down to give you time to catch up! 

  • Nina 11 months ago

    Could the "official" start date be on Monday, the 16th?

    With about 70 pages per day? It's quite a hefty book, but it could probably be manageable. Of course, if you're ahead, that's no problem at all. You'll probably have more of an insight into what's happening, but no spoilers until we're all caught up! :) 

  • Nepheli 11 months ago

    Sure, ok! But l'll be probably a bit further by then, I'm not very patient :-P. I'm not a very fast reader (especially in english books, it's not my native language), so with 70 pages per day you'll catch up fast! But no pressure, obviously! Don't read because you have to reach that count, it's not fun that way ;-)

  • Nina 11 months ago

    hey :) posting this now, since I'm unsure I'll be able to tomorrow evening. 

    I pushed myself to hopefully catch up, I'm on page 140 (of 520), up to (but not including) the King of the Northmen chapter. 

    I'm enjoying it so far. I can't say it's a particularly fast read, but so far it's kept me entertained and interested in where the plot's heading. 

    None of the characters are particularly likeable, which I'm guessing is the point?

    Logan is a walking cliche - well, of course his wife and children are all dead, that's just how things go in medieval fantasy books. But I'm enjoying it anyway? The gritty and kinda disgusting realism of his chapters is fun. I did find it weird that he doesn't seem to feel guilty for his family's death, even though his (and other village men's) choice to join the war campaign, to earn glory&honour, directly resulted in their village being left undefended. A historic re-telling manga I read actually devoted an entire arc to the story of an overly confident and gullible husband, whose absence to lead a raiding voyage was taken advantage of by other raiders, who pillaged their village, killed his son and raped and enslaved his wife. Though maybe it's just that in his current state Logan seems devoid of hope and desperate, and has already passed through all of that pesky grieving process.

    Glokta I really don't care for. And don't feel bad for at all? Apparently he's a lot of people's favourite, but I just can't see it?. Yes, he was tortured and ruined and and abandoned, and he's lost all chance of glory. So - because he feels helpless - he choses to hurt and ruin and torture other people? To hopefully feel something again? Or because he gets a thrill out of danger and death and winning? For me it's pathetic. I think I'd enjoy seeing him die (hopefully in the sequels?). I'd love to hear your thoughts. You're typically more forgiving of books, but also less likely to enjoy morally-grey characters, so I'd really love to know.   

    Also, a minor point, but it's a bit odd that there aren't any women in the book? In a cast of 50+ main&side characters (and only in the first 100 pages!), you'd think there would be more. There is currently one important female SIDE-character. In my opinion, there are absolutely narratives which work completely fine with a male-only cast (a British Royal Navy vessel in the 17th century, the Moon Landing, a male prison, etc.), but this shouldn't be one of them? It's especially odd since the author seemed to have gone to great lenghts to describe the "gritty realism" of life and suceeded in most areas? With series like Game of Thrones in comparison, this just isn't a good enough effort for me. 

    Having mentioned GoT, I had the very same reaction when reading the different POVs in both books. I would just start to really get interested in the character's journey, and suddenly there'd be a POV change, and by the time I'd get interested in that plot, the POV would change again. It was frustrating then and now. But it does keep me wanting to keep pushing forward!

    Sorry for the long reply, it ran away from me a bit  

  • Nepheli 10 months ago

    Hi! You did catch up, l'm in page 160. I agree with a lot of your points, but l think l'm enjoying it more than you (how typical for us!). It's still a slow read, though, cause there is no specific end goal. Now it's time to give my perspective on  a few of your points :-P.

    Logen is a cliche, sure, but a quite well thought-one, with enough depth for me to overlook the (honestly boring) "my family is dead" backstory and cliche parts. I like the way he is tired and hopeless for the world and himself, and his inner monologues. I guess the "not feeling guilty" has either to do with the phyche of Logen (he has seen far to many battles and people die for him to know that sometimes there's nothing you can do and just have to accept some facts or turn your anger towards the enemy. I think not feeling guilty about that just demonstrates even stronger that he is hopeless and tired and has given up on seeing something good in the world) or it will be adressed later on. And because I was expecting him to be a bad person I was almost surspised when he saved the apprentice (I was very happy in that scene, and well done to the author that made me doubt that a main character would do an altrouistic thing!). 

    I think I'm one of the people that enjoy Glokta, and believe me no one is more surprised about that than me! I find it interesting how he has quite similar phsyche to Logen (hopeless, bitter, suffered a lot etc) but he has fallen even lower and he knows it. I'm still not sure why he is a torturer, cause I don't think he enjoys it, nor that he hopes to feel better doing it. Maybe being torured himself he knows that it's "important" for the state, and he has completely lost his empathy? I have no idea, but I like being in his sick-painful-clever-bitter state of mind. I have to stop reading and think outside of the book to stop caring for him, if that makes any sense. But when I do... yikes! Why do I enjoy his perspective again?

    I also want to mention Jezal, cause he's basically the opposite of those two (or, in a way, what they once where). The light-hearted part of the book, the low-stakes and much more care-free guy. I thought l'd hate him (remind me why I picked this up again? I thought I'd hate everyone), but turns out I find him strangely relatable in the way he doesn't have a purpose and just wants to enjoy the pleasures of life and ignore hard work and his hidden lack of confidence.

    Yeah, the no-women part is odd. Nothing I can say about that.

    It sounds like you just don't enjoy multiple perspectives, then? I haven't read GoT, but in other multi-POVs I've read I was annoyed by the same thing. In this case, though, there are no big cliffhangers or abrupt cuts when the POV changes, so I don't mind it.

    Few! Too long reply as well. But I won't have a computer for a day or two so I'm allowed to do that, right? :-) 

  • Nina 10 months ago

    Heey :)  (no spoilers)

    After I got to the second part of the book, things got much more interesting. I had kinda hit a slump at about ~150pages. I still think the book should have been 100 pages shorter... there's a lot of repetition going on in Jezal's and Glokta's early chapters. 

    Overall I enjoyed it a lot ( I finished it yesterday?? What. 300 pages in a day). Though it does show that it's the authors first published book (I think?), the plot is a bit meandering, nothing really happens, it feels like a set up to the rest of the series. A review I read compared it to the first part of the LoTR up to Rivendell&the forging of the group.

    You know I love romance, but the JezalxArdee thing went on and on and on - to the point where I was insanely annoyed at it. I wanna read the next few books but if this is gonna be the endgame I might just throw the book over the balcony. On the other hand, I found the Logen-Ferro situation very fun to read. 

    Again, to feature only two female characters and have them both be brutally raped in the past - weird choice. 

    I loved the characters slowly meeting up. The crew is so different it made for a very entertaining read. And i loved Jezal being depressed by having to join. Oooh, it gave me such satisfaction. If the next book features more of their interactions, I'm here for it. 

    Glokta grew on me btw. Slowly. Sorta. If he fucking leaves Ardee behind after that ending I'm gonna flip. The bitch better not. 

    Logen & Ferro are my faves so far. 

    I'd love to know how you felt about the end of the contest! I wanted to punch myself in the face! I was enjoying it a lot at that point. And then THAT happened. 

  • Nepheli 10 months ago

    Heyyyy! Sorry for dissapearing for so long, I didn't have a computer... wow, you finished it so fast (and I too slow *cough cough!*)!

    Spoilers ahead!!

    I'm still reading, page 433, the part where Logen and Ferro are running from the eaters. I have similar things to say... after 160pgs or so I got a bit tired of it, but from the moment Logen arrived at the city my interest was renewed. Agreed, some scenes could have been removed or shortened. I loved the way everyone thought the magus was a fake, it was so fun to read! And I loved the character's interactions, Jezal's annoyance, and the part with West and Glokta... there is some hope for that cripple yet! It felt so good seeing him soften up for a while...

    Geez, Jezal was so annoying from the moment he started being serious about fensing and fell way to hard for Ardee. Before that I thought he had some well-consealed self-confidence issues, but then I realised he was just a pompus fool. I really hope this whole thing with Ardee stops.

    I like Logen a lot as well! He is a very well-rounded (and sympathetic, I'd say) character. Ferro, though, I found very annoying (and a bit boring, honestly) in the beginning, but I imagine that this will change once she stops attacking people for no reason and hissing all the time.

    I can see the Lotr comparisons, but there is a major difference, imo. In lotr, the end goal was clear all along. Here, on the other hand, the reader has no idea why this story is told, what the purpose is, if you understand what I mean. There are some hints here and there, but we learned were they're going just before they leave, and we don't even know why, or why these people where chosen. I guess I'll find out by the end of the book, though.

    The Contest's end, huh? I think I just sighed. One more thing to feed that guy's ego. I want to see the look on his face when he learns the truth. I want to see him fall off his high horse. I found the whole thing, though, a bit... unneccesary? It didn't really add much to the story.

    I guess having all the females raped could be the author's way of pointing out how horrible that is or his way of being feminist? Or not, I'm just speculating. Maybe his motives weren't that good.

  • Nina 10 months ago

    welcome back :)

    sorry, this is the second time I'm writing this (my phone went dumb on me, and it took me two days to notice nothing had been posted at all UGH)

    I think we pretty much agree on everything... There's not much more to say, at least from my side. The feel of the book was very much a set-up for a larger plot. I think I've mentioned this before, but I did feel like the book should have given the reader more, for all its lenght. I do think I will continue with the sequel soon, and I'll let you know if the poorly handled romance gets any better with time. 

    For the female characters, I don't feel the author had any ill-intent, just that, with it being his firt novel, he might have gotten a bit caught up with making the setting truly grimdark and didn't really think it through how it might come across. Im hopeful it gets better with the sequels. His two later stand-alone novels are especially praised.. maybe we should have started with one of them instead LOL. 

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