‘The Blade Itself’ By Joe Abercrombie

9780316387316Somewhere, I’d read a recommendation of this novel. And, it’s a pretty good fantasy novel. Just the right amount of variation from the traditional tropes, while staying within the recognizable framework. It doesn’t change the genre or break new ground (indeed, it’s a product of a post-Glen Cook fantasy world; if you don’t know who Glen Cook is, imagine a bloodier, darker Game of Thrones), but it’s well paced and enjoyable.

One interesting bit: two of the major characters are ugly. That may not sound like much, but there are a lot of handsome heroes in fantasy land. The most prominent protagonist if a torturer in his mid-thirties who was himself so tortured (while a POW) that he can’t eat solid food, walk without pain, nor pee standing up. The legendary warrior and swordsman is very deliberately not described until three quarters of the way through, when another character reacts in shock upon seeing him: he’s so scarred that his eyes and mouth seem out of whack and his nose a thing of mishealed and mangled cartilage. He’s a big, brooding, bruised, and battered boxer.

This is a trilogy and I’ll probably see if I can’t find book two at the library, but it’s not a priority.

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