Sword and sorcery fantasy has taken rather a dramatic shift in recent years. No longer is it the rag-tag rabble of heroes tasked with saving the world. Now it’s the dark and gritty storyline filled with shady grey characters. Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself is littered with some of the more memorable characters you will ever see.
Jezal dan Luthar as the dashing yet arrogant fencing master, lavishly dressed and a part of the Union’s nobility. I had always pictured him as a dandy that could handle a sword.
Logen Ninefingers is a bloodthirsty killer with a likeable good side. A barbarian with a true Jekyl and Hyde persona.
Sand dan Glokta is the crippled Practical in the Inquisition. Somewhat an antagonist without him being on the enemy’s side.
Of course there is the wise wizard, Bayaz, who has seemingly been around since the beginning of time.
This has all the right ingredients for an epic story.
Although it felt like parts of the book were overwritten, (sometimes long tags and too much description disrupted the flow of action and dialogue), the gritty realism of Abercrombie’s world left me hungering for more. I can’t wait to read book 2.