The Blade Itself, Part 3

355 wc

Originally posted on my writing blog which was active from 2010 to 2018.

I’m sure you’ve been wondering what I’m reading. After The Cavern of Black Ice I wanted to read something a little less heavy, so I went back to Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself. Previously I wrote such scintillating endorsements as “it’s not growing on me” and “I got bored.”

Well, the book *did* eventually grow on me. In the second half, I was glad to be reading it. The author did some very interesting things with the narrative voice. Normally, books tend to have a single voice throughout, but Abercrombie was able to change the narrative voice depending on the POV character. For example, the chapters from The Dogman used very down-home, earthy style, like you might hear from a southerner. Whereas the chapters from Jezel, a cultured city-dweller, used more grammatically-correct language. Only the chapters from Glokta had self-dialog, the italicized talking-to-oneself kind of text. I found those things interesting, at least from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

I thought the characters were very well-defined, and they each had amusing personalities, although I found them just a bit comic bookish. That is, sort of larger-than-life or over-the-top, like comic book heroes. I probably should not admit this, but Sand dan Glokta reminded me quite a lot of Soltan Gris from L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth books (yeah, I read it, you wanna fight about it?) - he’s basically a really bad guy with a hilarious sense of humor. Actually, I found myself chuckling quite a lot through the entire book.

It’s a good thing that the characters were interesting, because the plot was *not* compelling. In fact, I’m not sure I can even describe the plot. A Magi inexplicably returns, the north inexplicably declares war on the south, and in the middle of it all there is a fencing tournament. It’s one of those character-driven books where everyone seems to be doing their own thing and “getting ready” to do something epic, like the whole book is one big long prologue.

Readers beware: There is no resolution at the end of the book. You will have to read the next one (I think it’s a trilogy).

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