REVIEW: The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie Before They Are Hanged - Joe Abercrombie Last Argument of Kings - Joe Abercrombie

The First Law is a three book series: The Blade Itself; Before They Are Hanged; Last ARgument of Kings. I read these a year back, so I'm not aware enough of the finer details to review them individually. Not that such a thing is needed as the quality of the books is consistent. What you get in the first book, you get in all of them.


The prose is clean and simple, no page long descriptions (which I loathe) and the story is interesting and complete ignores standard plot conventions, which is a huge plus.

Less of a plus are the characters.The main characters get their own PoV chapters, and they are memorable and distinct, but they are often pulled along with the plot rather then driving it.


Now, considering how the books end this makes some sense, but it does make some of the twists in the book feel either jarring or predictable. This gives the story's otherwise excellent plotting a blemish. I definitely enjoyed the destroying of genre expectations, but in some places I got the feeling the author went too far just to make that next twist work and broke the flow as a result.


The books fail the Bechdel test as well, which I found somewhat dubious for such a recent work.


Final verdict:

I liked these! Despite some minor annoyances it's always refreshing to read something you can't predict from the first book onwards. If you are looking for a fresh fantasy story that deviates from the standard tropes and a low-magic and gritty world; this is the series for you.


Furthermore, I heard that the author's standalone books are much smoother with regard to jarring plot twists, so I will certainly try to read some of them in the future.