My original idea was to do three separate reviews for the trilogy, looking at each book separately.
However, I found myself unable to stop after The Blade Itself; I had kind of suspected that this would be the case by the end of Chapter 1, to be honest. I had opened TBI without any expectations or pre-conceived ideas about what to expect and man, Joe’s gritty and hopelessly addictive style was a revelation, as was the seemingly effortless way that he deals with the various threads and points of view, keeping them tight and lean.
The story evolves as it progresses, building a cast of characters that are sympathetic, likeable and complex, without ever threatening to bog things down with excruciating lumps of exposition. The trilogy covers little over a year in the life of the characters, and crams in two different wars, a (almost) heroic quest to the Edge of the World, murder, intrigue, betrayal, ungainly sex, cannibals, feuding mages from the dawn of civilisation and the occasional exploding henchman.
Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he can write!
Some people might feel the trilogy is a bit light on the world building side of things, but any perceived shortcomings in this respect are more than compensated for by the fluid storytelling and irresistible pace. It’s a thoroughly entertaining body of work and deserves a prominent place on anyone’s bookshelf.
As this is one of our Summer Reads List books I have to give it 9 / 10 stars as it is just that blindingy good a read.