Ah, more reaction to Last Argument of Kings, this time from Ariel over at The Genre Files. Now in the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that Ariel has been known to do some work for, among many other genre writers, me. In fact he designed the rather wonderful website that you are currently looking at. However, I wouldn’t want the fact that I occasionally give him money to distract you from this, his entirely honest and unbiased opinion on The First Law:
“all in all it has been one of the most incredible, twisted, inventive and above all utterly enjoyable fantasy reading experiences I’ve had in a very, very long time.”
Top stuff, my man. Next up, a really insightful look at The Blade Itself from the attractively titled Cesspit. I won’t quote from it because it’s quite long and involved – more a proper piece of criticism than a review, but suffice it to say that there are some interesting points about the pacing, the approach, the characters, the influence of theatre on the writing style, etc. etc. Alright, just one quote:
“Go buy and read it no matter of your personal tastes. This book won’t disappoint.”
Elena from Baton Rouge rated my phrase “his face was redder than a slapped arse” among her figurative language of the week, and Kay Kenyon, a much respected sci-fi/fantasy writer (of Bright of the Sky among others) and a stablemate at Pyr has also been reading The Blade Itself, and seems to like it:
“It’s always fun to discover a new, talented author, and Joe Abercrombie is certainly one of those. You should read this book for the dialogue alone, and for the nasty and appealing villain, Glokta.”
Thank you, Kay, glad you’re enjoying the books. One of these days I should get my head out of my ass and read yours, among many others. It’s just so warm and comfortable in here…
/dev/random has just finished Before They are Hanged, meanwhile. The series is definitely growing on him:
“The characters in this book jump from the page, with deeply carved characterisations, while still allowing for them to grow as the story progresses. Vanities and frailties are explored along with the meaning of strength. There is even some clever mixing in of the ugliness and stupidity of racism, neither heavy handed nor out of place.
To say that I love this book is an understatement.”
Me too, dev, I love that book. “But Joe,” I hear you cry, “we find it much more amusing when people think your books are shite! Surely someone’s been cussing you off over the last couple of weeks?” Well, as it happens, Beezer had some criticisms of The Blade Itself:
“As a reader, I should not be expected to expend copious amounts of energy trying to determine just what the book is about.”
Ah, well, you see, I thought, you know, that working it out might be part of the fun, and maybe–
“Secondly, inconsistent characters. Mr. Abercrombie is very good at writing the gritty, tough, characters. However, when the character shifts to a less sure, more naive character it becomes quite clear this is an area for improvement.”
Sorry. Sorry. I’ll get right on that, and–
“there are times when this book becomes severely bogged down and almost seems like a chore to read. I believe this is a combination of the lack of plot and inconsistent characters.”
Oh. Oh dear. Well of course I wouldn’t want–
“There are some positives with this novel.”
Woo Hoo! Crack out the champagne!
“Mr. Abercrombie does show a knack for writing a solid tale. I think once he hones his craft and is able to correct some of this deficiencies he will truly be a name to watch in the fantasy genre.”
Ah. Maybe put the champagne away. At least until I’ve honed my craft a touch.
“I would have liked a map to be included to give reference points,”
Don’t get me started.
“The few bumps that were present can easily be corrected with more practice…In the end I will give it a 3 out of 5, because I truly believe Mr. Abercrombie can do better and has a bright future.”
Get the champagne out again! Let’s saddle up those three stars and ride them bad boys off into my bright future! Yeee-Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!