Review: The Blade Itself

Posted: August 1, 2009 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: Joe Abercrombie, Dark Fantasy

Welcome to another completely superior review by us guys here at Elitist Book Reviews. The chosen book this time around is THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie (Amazon).

THE BLADE ITSELF is a refreshing first novel in what we would call a dark fantasy trilogy. Abercrombie gives us a cast of characters that that have even more attitude than we do–no easy feat. Included in this cast we have a crippled torturer as a main character. Tell us, how often do we get to see a torturer as a main PoV in epic fantasy now days?


What you need to know about this book is that it is full of brutal straight-forward action. Not that there is anything wrong with highly stylized action, in other books, but it gets over-used. Abercrombie manages to lend some realism to the battles that make them refreshing (yes, that word again–deal with it), and completely enjoyable. If you are a fan of the likes of Martin, Erikson, or Lynch, THE BLADE ITSELF and its sequels, BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED (Amazon) and LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS (Amazon), should already be on your growing bookshelves.

THE BLADE ITSELF is a refreshing first novel with a cast of characters that that have even more attitude than we do.

Action-packed, dark, gritty, and not without an infusion of wit. This is THE BLADE ITSELF. In our opinion (which may as well be a fact as far as you are concerned), you should getting up from your comfy desk chair at this moment to rush to your local bookstore to buy this book. While you are there, pick up the follow-ups. Do it, do it. Or, go grab it online.

  • Recommended Age: 17+
  • Language: Quite a bit. If this offends you, then you'll be, well, offended.
  • Violence: Did you read the review? A main character is A TORTURER. Of course there is TONS of violence.
  • Sex: There is some, but not a ton in this volume. There is more in the sequels. It isn't extremely graphic, but any inclusion might be a deal-breaker to some people. It is treated largely as a joke in the brief section it appears...

Now, since this book is incredible, we feel it is important for you to go support its author, Joe Abercrombie. Go to his website, and give him a big high-five for writing great fantasy novels.

Also, some special effort went into bringing these novels to the USA from the UK (where they were originally published). Go thank the very professional, skilled, and over-all nice guy, Lou Anders over ay Pyr books.


  • bacaninho says:

    I really enjoyed The Blade Itself, and I even enjoyed the sequel, Before They Are Hanged. I am currently in the middle of the final book in the Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings, and I have found that the series has taken on a much darker tone, and not one that I have necessarily enjoyed. I am hoping that by the end of the trilogy, I will be left satisfied; however, currently, I am doubting that the spiral into darkness will be stopping any time soon. Do you have any reassurances, or should I expect the worst?

  • Amir Hamza says:

    Does the book have any sort of sexual activity, though? I mean there was some crass dialogue but as far as I remember there was no stuff of sort actually done in front of us, that was more up to the next two books. Speaking of which, do you plan on reviewing BTAH and LAOK too? And when’s the Wisdom of Crowds review coming?

    • Writer Dan says:

      I keep telling myself that I should go back and re-read his first trilogy. Especially given how frustrated I’ve been with his most recent books. I seriously remember loving those first books, and since we don’t have reviews up for them, I guess it couldn’t hurt. Just have to fit them into the schedule.

      WoC was more of the same as those in that trilogy. If you liked the previous two, you’ll probably like that one. Of course, I was seriously frustrated with the lack of motivated characters and PoV characters purposefully withholding information from the reader. Just blah. Was bummed enough with the read that I never got around to writing a review for it.

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