This wasn’t my first time reading The Blade Itself. I actually read it a little over a year ago at a time when I was blazing through a veritable library of science fiction. I was reading almost exclusively scifi because, well, I didn’t know any better. At the time, my understanding of the fantasy genre was shaped exclusively by what I’d read as a kid and the occasionally cheesy cover art that adorned the big hardcover new releases at my local bookstore. In short, if it involved magical elves, grumpy dwarves, and a quest to find “the chosen one”, I was out. Until, against my better judgment, I decided to pick up Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamorra and Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself. And my opinion of fantasy literature changed. Drastically. I was in!
This was my initial response to The Blade Itself after reading it for the first time:
“In some ways, The Blade Itself reminded me of The Lies of Locke Lamorra. They are completely different books stylistically and in terms of the stories they tell, and yet one thing they share is a wonderfully wicked sense of humor and a willingness not to take themselves too seriously. The Blade Itself also has the added bonus of offering up multiple POV’s and a nice mix of well-drawn characters. As if often the case in books of this sort – and Altman movies – there are certain characters you’ll like more than others. Captain Jezal de Luthar was my favorite, a perfectly contemptible yet charismatic rogue – although I found the inquisitor, Glotka, an incredibly rich and interesting character. I loved his development throughout. I didn’t take a shine to Logen at first, finding him fairly stock and stereotypical, until later in the book when he becomes the fish out of water, the barbarian in civilized society.
I enjoyed most of the book, losing interest when the magical elements took over two-thirds of the way through, then finding my interest renewed in the book’s climax. It will be interesting to see what Joe has planned for his characters.”
And, boy, does he have plans! But that’s a discussion for another book (namely, the second in this terrific series, Before They Are Hanged). Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed The Blade Itself, in most part thanks to Abercrombie’s characters. Sure, they’re reprehensible in some respects, and yet they all possess a humanity (one might even say vulnerability) that makes them sympathetic. They may be flawed, their actions suspect, their attitudes surprising – but they’re always interesting. And that’s why I think one of the first book’s strongest points also works against it. Abercrombie introduces and develops so many terrific characters that by the time the main push of the story gets going, the book ends and you’re left hanging. Unlike The Lies of Locke Lamorra which is a self-contained story despite being part of a longer series, Abercrombie’s First Law series follows a narrative path similar to George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. The first book is merely a piece to a greater puzzle. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it can be incredibly frustrating for the impatient among us, but it is also incredibly rewarding for fans of carefully plotted, character-driven adventure.
I liked The Blade Itself a lot. But I loved the follow-up, Before They Are Hanged, even more because that’s when the story really kicks into high gear, offering up twists and turns aplenty while turning those accepted fantasy tropes on their head. Well, hopefully, if you enjoyed reading The Blade Itself as much as I did, you won’t need any convincing.
So, what did you all think? Author Joe Abercrombie will be dropping by later in the week to field your questions and comments – so start posting!
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to blog regular Alipeeps who, I’ve been told, is going through a difficult time.
Mackenzie’s Momma writes: “Can you recommend a good restaurant in Surrey?”
Answer: Alas, I cannot. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Surrey.
Thornyrose writes: “1) What ARE they doing with that Stargate in the pictures? 2) Will we see the Atlantis expedition become more isolated from Earth? 3) Is there a chance that the secret of the Stargate program will finally be made public back on Earth?” 4) When will we get another guest appearance in the blog by Baron Destructo and/or Cookie Monster.
Answer: 1) See Dovil’s post in yesterday’s comment section. 2) With the ships at Earth’s disposal, it’s almost impossible to isolate them completely. 3) That’s possible. 4) Soon. Soon. They’re studying for their finals.
Ytimynona writes: “If a show is being cancelled, shouldn’t the network give the writers enough time to write an ending worth being remembered???”
Answer: It all depends on the timing. Some shows find out early enough and are able to script a series finale. Others shows find out too late and their fans are left hanging.
Belouchi writes: “I was wondering if can tell us or even better show us through the usual daily picture postings of the new starships that are going to be introduced in season 5.”
Answer: I posted some interior ship pics last week.
Charles Schneider writes: “ Do you think that it will be a June/July premiere.”
Answer: From what I hear, it’ll be a July premiere.
David writes: “For the 100th episode, will you be making a quick appearance like Brad Wright did in 200?”
Answer: Wasn’t planning on it unless I get to play a wraith. Or a gadmeer.
Grapesofwraith writes: “Also, looking at what we know on the episodes, most seem to be part of the larger arc. Are there any you would consider as stand alone eps?”
Answer: There are a number of standalone episodes that contain bigger arc elements (ie. The Seed, Broken Ties, Whispers, Tracker, The Queen) in addition to your one-offs (Daedalus Variations, The Shrine).
DasNdanger writes: “I can’t wait to see the new Wraith ship – I LOVE gooey, icky Wraithy stuff!! Just wish they’d show us how it’s all created…is it something that Wraith produce themselves, or something they’ve created in the lab, like test tube tech, that then grows on its own?”
Answer: Check out The Seed for the cryptic answer.
Michael writes: “I’d just like to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone at Bridge Studios for their hard work and patience last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I was there on behalf of CinemaSpy.ca and it was fantastic.”
Answer: Hey, Michael. Sorry I missed you. Apparently, the press conference went well past my bedtime. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, drop by the production offices. My office is the one with the villainous décor.
Patricia Lee writes: “I was wondering if Joe Flanigan’s character, John Sheppard, was named after that producer from the MacGuyer TV show?”
Answer: Nope, he wasn’t.
Mackenzie’s Momma writes: “I photoshopped some of the pics from the Fuel dinner into a backround and would love to share it with you(as its a joe centric one lol) should I just email you a link?”
A Honshuu writes: “What do you mean, “if there is another season”?! Are you trying to curse it?”
Answer: Every year I worked on SG-1, I assumed it would be the last – and yet, we kept getting picked up. Until the season I optimistically assumed we would be picked up – when we were cancelled.
Rhonda writes: “I was wondering how many people are in the city of Atlantis? I wonder because the lights are one in every sector of the city in the long shots. Just seems weird to me that we sent enough personnel to fill the thing. And are the using fluorescent bulbs?”
Answer: I’d say there are a good 300 people in the city. They don’t use fluorescent bulbs but do use Ancient-designed low-energy bulbs. Also, they keep the city lit up to scare away the ghosts.
Bluejay writes: “Tell us if you read it so i can pass it on.”
Answer: Read it today!
Boston 3358 writes: “Is the gate heavy?”
Answer: Would you consider 6 tons heavy? If so, then yes.
Amz writes: “I often find when I’m writing (or supposed to be writing) that it can be really really hard to get started. Then all goes well until someone (like an editor) reads a draft and gets back to me. The rest can go either way. Is that sort of how it works for you too?”
Answer: It’s very difficult to get started and to finish. Also, acts I, II, III, and the first half of IV are difficult too. The rest is a breeze.
Lis writes: “When do you typically find out if there will indeed be a next season?”
Answer: Usually in the Fall.
Achaja writes: “I just wonder if this Wraith’s feeding procedure (by hand) have got something with Jesus’s stigmatics?”
Carl Beckett writes: “…how did Ford operate the jumper to escape in The Seige part III?”
Answer: Don’t recall, but Martin had a great explanation. He’ll be at Comic Con in July. Corner him there.
Squall78 writes: “I read an article on SCI FI wire about the Season 5 cast changes. The article ended by saying that Jason Momoa hinted that he would only be interested in one more season of SGA and would want to go on to something else. Was he referring to past season 6, or will Season 5 be his last season?”
Answer: I believe he was referring to a potential season 6.
Anais33 a ecrit: “ 1)Dans cette saison 5 il y’aura des moments d’émotions entre Teyla et John? 2)De quoi avez vous êtez le plus fiére a la fin du tournage de Whispers?”
Translation: Yes, there will be some “emotional moments” between Teyla and Sheppard this year.
Enzo Aquarius writes: “Have you ever thought about coming over to Toronto for our Sci-Fi conventions?”
Answer: Score me an invite and, schedule permitting, I’d love to drop by.
AnneTeldy writes: “Isn’t that a Milky Way gate?”
Answer: It is.
Cherish4 writes: “Will we get any scenes in Season 5 of Sheppard bonding with Teyla’s baby?”
MrsB108 writes: “Will any of the core team face darkness within themselves this year?”
Answer: Broken Ties.
Erika writes: “Hi Joe is there going to be any emotional moments between Ronon and Teyla in season 5? You steered me right in BAMS’R anything at all. I also like Keller and Rodney together anything for them in season 5?”
Answer: A firm “maybe” to both.
Joebags writes: “More Keller/Ronon romance? No wonder Jason Momoa announced he wants to leave the show!”
Answer: No. He’s leaving because you hurt his feelings with your last comment. Nice going.