Happy Birthday to Me

December 31st, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday dear Meeee-eeee… You get the idea.

Yes, I’m 23 today.

Raconteur, bon vivant, and pillar of the sfnal community Joe Mallozzi has finished Last Argument of Kings, and gives his opinion on the First Law over on his blog:

“Readers who have appreciated the likes of Lynch’s roguish Locke Lamorra and Martin’s amoral Jaime Lancaster and wily Tyrion are sure to connect with Abercrombie’s characters who, while certainly unsavory in some respects, are at heart human, vulnerable and, yes, despite surface impressions, very likable … You grow to love ’em over the course of Abercrombie’s vast and accomplished narrative as they face tragedies, triumphs, and more than a few surprises along the way. And the biggest of those surprises are saved for the third book, Last Argument of Kings, in which traitors are revealed, unlikely alliances struck, and a secret plot comes to shocking fruition, all amidst the backdrop of one of the most epic battles ever chronicled. A superior book in a superior series.”

Thanks, Joe, and welcome to any visitors from the land of Mallozzi. Some of you may have looked at the author photographs and thought, “hmm, a rugged and well-seasoned 23.” Fair enough, you’re right, I am in truth a fresh-faced 28 today. That’s right, I’m an adult (kind of), and I can handle negative opinions. So, in the interests of review karma, and with all the enthusiasm of a man about to snorkel through a swimming pool of shit, I feel I have to point out a slightly less complimentary comparison to George RR Martin from my latest one-star review on amazon.com:

Uninspired, Third-Rate Martin
essentially a duller version of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. Without too much effort it is probably possible to match up each character in Abercrombie’s book with one of Martin’s characters (Abercrombie’s tortured torturer Sand dan Glokta and Martin’s beloved imp, Tyrion Lannister, are only the most obvious). The setting of a British isles inspired medieval land is also generally the same, as is the vague menace in the North and a variety of other plot parallels. Usually a comparison to Martin would be glowing praise, but in this case, Abercrombie does a C or C- job of mimicry at best. The dialogue fizzles, the plot is ponderous and without twists, the villains are not particularly compelling and neither are the heroes. In fact Abercrombie, despite packing his novel with torture, blood, romance, swordplay and magic, manages to turn out a boring and completely forgettable addition to the fantasy genre.”

Aaaaargh! Get it off! It burns! It burns! I actually re-read A Game of Thrones recently for a piece I’ve done for SFX, and while I’m a great admirer of Martin’s books and would undoubtedly count him an influence, within the context of epic fantasy, I don’t actually think my stuff is that much like Martin’s. But hey, this is a democracy (amazon, that is, not my blog, which is a benificent dictatorship, obviously) and I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I wonder what he’ll make of the second book. What’s that you say? You don’t think he’ll make it to the second book?


Alright, I know what you’re thinking. How could someone in their twenties talk so mature as what I do? I confess it. I am 33 today, and I know what you’re thinking again. How do I keep so young looking? The answer is simple. Only hunch over a keyboard all day, then come home and do it all evening, then have a 1 year old kick you in the face all night. Get up and repeat.

Soon you’ll look just as young as I do.

Posted in announcements, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on December 31st, 2007.

12 comments so far

  • annie from fremantle says:

    A few paragraphs more and you’d be a youthful 80.
    Yep, some of Joe M’s minions are finding their way over here. I’ve not read one of your books (yet) but I am enjoying your blog, or blargh as I call it.

    So does it suck to have a birthday so close to Christmas and then again so close to New Year?

  • Pedro, the lucky November winner says:

    Joe, just finished reading The Last Argument of Kings.

    And it’s been an immensely pleasant joyride.

    I’ve posted a review (in spanish) on my forum http://forolavozakasha.mforos.com/1219020/6576426-the-last-argument-of-kings-joe-abercrombie/

    I’m pretty sure you’ll win next year’s “Most improved author between books 2 & 3” award.

    Happy Birthday, and thanks for the ARC

  • Anonymous says:

    Happy Birthday & Happy New Year!

    I’ve just ordered your 1st book (shame on me to be so late) and thought to check your blog. I very like how you handle the criticism. And you look like 23! for sure, hehe.


  • Happy B-day! That one star rewviewer must not have read the book. Sure, there are similiarities, but that is because you are turning tropes on their head, so of course you must actually use the tropes, at tleat to establish what you are doing.

    Have a Happy New Year!

  • Anonymous says:

    Happy birthday and happy New New Year!

  • Annie,
    I feel a youthful 80, that’s for sure. And yes, it does suck.

    Glad you enjoyed it, and cheers for the write up. From what I can tell via google translator, it was a good one.

    Thanks for the sentiments.

    Happy new year to you, my man.

  • Happy birthday, you spry young thing you.


  • Ha ha
    Cheers for the sentiment, Joe.

  • You’re only 23?! Damn. I’m 24 already and only just starting to write my novels! Tried at 18, failed miserably.

    Got to get my skates on!

    Happy (belated) birthday! Hope you had a great day.

  • Stefan,
    Alas, I was lying when I said I was 23. I’m actually 33. I started writing seriously when I was about 27, I think, so you’ve got a few years on me yet…

  • A very late happy birthday. I fail at reading blogs regularly 🙁

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