The First Law Trilogy/ Stand Alone Novels

Recently Read: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings, Best Served Cold, The Heroes, Red Country

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Genre: Fiction/Dark Fantasy/Fantasy

The First Law Trilogy 

These novels were my introduction to Joe Abercrombie, but I have long been a fan of dark fantasy. Joe Abercrombie has a very honest storytelling ability that makes his novels both applicable and intriguing. Abercrombie sprinkles in some the darkest, gallows humour which I felt made the books even more enjoyable. (I have been told by others they did not appreciate the humour; I think it depends entirely on how bleak and dark your own sense of humour is. – My humour is exceptionally dark, so I did enjoy it.) Abercrombie does not tell lies to make his protagonist seem like light to a darkened world; rather, he paints is very human characters as humans; with flaws, strengths, darkness, and light all mixed together. He also bitterly reflects that people do not often change, even in extraordinary circumstances. (I think this may be a little pessimistic but it seems to work in this trilogy.) I enjoyed reading Abercrombie and getting an insight into his characters, there are times I still hear some of Logen’s sayings running through my head, inspiring in his own, simple way.

Best Served Cold, The Heroes, & Red Country

I enjoyed these novels more than the trilogy, perhaps because they focused more on the Northernmen, who I liked the most. Some of the best-written battle scenes and the most clever writing techniques for a battle that I have encountered are in these novels. I recommend them for that reason alone. Again, Abercrombie’s bleak humour fills in the trying moments in the series and the character development makes you wonder if these characters are based on real people.

When I finished these six novels, I felt a loss. I was done with a very long commitment and the companionship of some very well-known friends had come to an end. I enjoyed this series and felt that as a dark fantasy, this one should be ranked higher than ASOIAF because it doesn’t get too loaded down by the desire to kill every character you form a bond with… but, on a more serious note, it is is grim, dark, and rough without the senseless macabre often achieved by authors in this genre.

I still feel a loss that there are no more novels in this world, but feel reassured when a trip to the store today revealed there are more Abercrombie series and novels still to be read.

-A Bookish Girl

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