An interesting spread of opinions appearing over the last few days. Dreamwatch online had this to say about The Blade Itself:
“The real joy of the book, though, is the writing style, which is fast-paced, deeply sarcastic, spitefully witty and well observed. The dialogue is razor sharp, the author is comfortable changing voices depending on viewpoint and there is very little to find fault with.”
And then this about Before They are Hanged:
“The story is by turns darkly humorous and incredibly well observed. The sheer number of brilliantly drawn characters is a joy to read and Abercrombie once again proves he is deft at changing voice as he changes point of view.”
Everyone loves me, right? Well, er, not entirely. No less an organ than Publisher’s Weekly voiced their opinion on The Blade Itself thusly:
“British newcomer Abercrombie fills his muddled sword-and-sorcery series opener with black humor and reluctant heroes … The workmanlike plot, marred by repetitive writing and an excess of torture and pain, is given over to introducing the mostly unlikable characters, only to send them off on separate paths in preparation for the next volume’s adventures.”
Aaaaargh, my eyes! My valuable eyes! I mean it could be worse. Only the other day I saw a review in which watching a certain television show was likened to wading through thigh-high excrement. But I’d say it’s about the worst review I’ve had. Can this really be the same book about which various staff of Waterstone’s say:
“Enter the rip-roaring world of an imagined medieval nightmare and cringe at the cruelty, marvel at the descriptions and laugh heartily at the silly jokes.”
“This is fantastic! Not over the top, it is perfect for someone wanting to try something different as well as a hardened Sci Fi fan. Definitley 5 out of 5.”
Not to mention:
“Words can barely describe how much I love this book, probably the best debut I’ve ever read! Put simply, it’s a cracking read! Take it!”
Believe it or not, yes. If you think about it for five seconds, of course, it stands to reason that different people like different things. One man’s meat is another man’s poison and blah, blah, blah. But there’s a difference between blithely saying it and actually seeing it, stabbing you in the face in merciless black and white.
“Why don’t they like me?” I blubber, my tiny hands beating piteously at my keyboard. “Why? Why? Why? How can the same characters be both brilliantly drawn and mostly unlikeable? What is the nice man at Dreamwatch missing? How could the good people at Waterstone’s have got it so wrong?” There are no answers. It’s all subjective, and we all know it, yet somehow, as an author, the bad opinions never quite stop feeling like a red-hot coal down the pants.
“But Joe!” I hear you cry, “what are we to think? Who’s right? Publisher’s Weekly or … everyone else?”
You want my opinion? Buy The Blade Itself. Then you can be the judge.