Adult · Joe Abercrombie · The First Law Trilogy

The Blade Itself (First Law Trilogy #1) by Joe Abercrombie


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 Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, 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 ( 


bladeThrough Goodreads I have had this recommend to me multiple times, but never took the time to thoroughly look it over until now. I can happily say I am glad I did.


I think I was over 100 pages into the book and still had no idea what the plot of the book actually was. I haven’t ever read a book in which characters are the main focus for such a long period of time and the plot isn’t revealed right away. Eventually, you start to uncover information that provides bits and pieces to the plot.

The main focus of this book follows four characters with a fifth added halfway through the book. We learn a lot about each of the characters; who they are, what they do, etc., and really get a feel for their personality. I really enjoyed this style of writing and throughougly enjoyed each character’s POV. I also loved the mystery behind the plot and figuring out what was going on and how all these characters were connected.

The book moves at a great pace and I never found myself bored with any of the character’s stories. However, there were a couple that I favored more than others. I’m sure everyone will have a couple of characters in which they can’t wait to read their chapter.

When starting the book be prepared to read the next in the series as this is not a stand alone book, but only setting up for the next two novels.


This largest part of this book is its characters who all have distinct personalities and are rather well developed for a first novel.

The main POV character is Jezal dan Luther, a captain in the Union army who is preparing for a prestigious fencing tournament. He really isn’t that likable of a character because he is arrogant, selfish, whiny, and would rather be drinking and gambling than preparing for his tournament. While reading his chapters I was actually surprised how much work he had to do in order to be ready for the tournament. It was unbelievable that it required that amount of training. Of course, Jezal complained about it the entire time and was pretty much wondering the same thing.

Glokta was once a famous solider in the Union army as well as fencing champion in the tournament Luther is preparing for. In a battle with the Gurkish he was captured and tortured leaving him a cripple, unable to fight any longer. So it is ironic that he becomes a torturer himself for the Union’s Inquisition. He is an interesting character to say the least. Glokta complains throughout the entire book how much he hates his crippled body (and stairs 🙂 ). He also seems to hate himself for what he does though we see no compassion from him. Rather he appears to enjoy what he does.

Logen Ninefingers is a barbarian from the North who has a knack for surviving fights/battles even when the odds are against him. Later in the book we uncover something interesting about him and how he is able to survive. He is famous throughout the land as a notorious fighter and killer, but when we see him he is trying to become a better man. I thought his chapters were pretty interesting, especially once he makes it to the city because he has never seen one before and is truly amazed. It is also hilarious because he doesn’t understand some of the things more civilized people use including toilets and sleeping indoors. He is wanted by the First of the Magi, Bayaz, for unknown reasons and despite not knowing Logen agrees to accompany him.

Appearing half way through the book is Ferro, our female POV character, who wants nothing but to kill everyone in order to get vengeance on those who held her as a slave. She is a strong female character and is one of the most violent of characters; however, she is very single minded at this point. All she wants is her vengeance. She ends up meeting a magi in the service of Bayaz who convinces her that she must go with him to meet Bayaz.

Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is my favorite character in the series so far. He is mysterious, intriguing, and very powerful. His intentions regarding the other characters is unclear and I am very interested in finding out what his plans are. As far as we know he is taking them to the Old Empire in search for an evil relic. Exactly what the characters’ roles are in this search remains unknown.


I loved the writing of the book even the italicized parts in which we learn the characters’ thoughts. There may have been a bit too much of that, but I enjoyed it nonetheless; it didn’t bother me once I got used to it.

Overall Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book and loved that it was different than what I am used to reading. I adore books that focus on the characters, but still have an intriguing plot. I highly recommend giving this book a try if you want something different to read and enjoy novels that tend to focus on characters. You wont be disappointed!

My rating: 5/5 stars!

View this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Check out these other reviews from fellow bloggers!

Useless Book Club                                    Life As A Digital Salad

Leona’s Blog of Shadows                         MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE


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2 thoughts on “The Blade Itself (First Law Trilogy #1) by Joe Abercrombie

  1. The plot – or lack of – really bother me about this book. Absolutely fantastic character! But even once this book was done, I still had no idea where there story was going. And now that I have finished this series, I look back on my thoughts for this book and the second and laugh XD

  2. Great review and thanks for the shout-out! I will read the rest of them once I get a couple of reviews out of the way, can’t wait to read books 2 and 3 in fact. Glokta is such an amazingly complex character, one of my all time favorites already.


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