What They are Saying Feb '09

February 10th, 2009

Some ongoing responses to / and discussion of / the US cover to-do, including a positive response from the aptly named BRUTAL WOMEN who, I have a sneaking feeling, may appreciate the content of the book as well…

With nearly fifty comments on my own post on the subject, it’s clear that, as far as getting attention for your forthcoming book, controversy over US cover art is second only to getting hit over the head with a length of poor-quality pine. Moving swiftly on.

It’s been a while since I surveyed any reviews of my own work from around the internet. I hear it’s bad form to respond to your critics, you see. An author would have to be a complete IDIOT to do such a thing. So let’s begin with an interesting review of Last Argument of Kings, from Ken at Neth Space:

“Abercrombie embraces the cliche of fantasy, spins it around, turns it upside down, and covers it in stinky, dark, sardonic wit … In the Last Argument of Kings Abercrombie offers up more of the same from the previous two books and then adds some more with an ending that is simply brilliant … This series has overwhelmed many and under-whelmed more than few – but it something that fans of epic fantasy simply must read for themselves.”

Chalk up a win to the forces of righteousness. Overall I think it’s fair to say he liked the first book a lot, felt the second was not bad but disappointing, then liked the third a lot again. I’m kind of strangely pleased by the spread of opinions the First Law books produce. My own feeling was always that they got steadily better, and I’d say overall most readers who get past the first book seem to broadly agree, but I’ve seen pretty much every variety of opinion expressed. I’ve seen people who liked the first, second, or third books the most (as well as some who just didn’t like the whole approach, of course). The ending in particular leaves some disappointed/befuddled/swearing they will never read anything by me again, but many others love it. Who loves it, you ask? Well, how about Joe Sherry?

“This is where Abercrombie excels, in creating characters the reader can care enough about that when Abercrombie brings the pain and the nasty, the reader can’t help but be fully engaged. Make no mistake, Abercrombie brings the pain and the nasty. Abercrombie excels at pain and nasty and Last Argument of Kings is chock full of pain and nasty. This is Abercrombie’s wheelhouse … The deal is, this is a damn fine book and one of the best conclusions to a trilogy I have had the pleasure to read.”

Mmmm. I love the smell of wheelhouse in the morning. Smells like … victory. I actually recently experienced what must be a key moment in the development of any author – I was sent the first post-graduate dissertation by an English student focusing on my work. You think I’m joking, don’t you? Joe, I can hear you saying, stop! Stop! My sides are splitting! Your stuff is disposable genre fantasy trash, who could possibly take an interest in serious academic analysis of your semi-literate sword-obsessed scrawlings?

But I’m not joking. It came from a very polite student at Arhus University, Denmark, and focuses on the affirmation of meaning versus non-significance, analysing the key differences between the approaches of the First Law and classic epic fantasy using Bakhtin’s theory of chronotopes sprinkled with a little existentialist philosophy.

That’s right. Shelve me with the literature, motherf*ckers, because not even I understand how high-brow I am. What with that and the Junot Diaz quote, it’s high time I got some frakkin’ RESPECT around here! RESPECT! IT COSTS NOTHING!

Before I forget, for those of you who, like me, can’t get enough of the sound of my voice, there’s a little interview with me up at Fantasy Book Review. Read it and weep.


Posted in interviews, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on February 10th, 2009.

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