What I’ve Read: The First Law Trilogy

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This is my first book review since I have launched this website. All of the reviews moving forward will be only my opinions on the story as well as a brief overview (spoiler-free of course), so don’t hate me if you disagree with me

I just finished the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and instead of writing them individually, I wanted to put them all together and the reason for that is because each book bleeds into the next without a true conclusion.

Brief Summary:

Told through multiple POVs, the story revolves around a kingdom that is beset by war on multiple fronts and it is up to a group of rag-tag heroes to stop it. From all walks of life, there is the barbarian, the wizard, the young pup, the apprentice, the soldier, the cripple and the crazy one (think Breakfast Club meets Sesame Street). Each of these characters is drawn into the battle for the kingdom, whether they want to be or not. The wizard is ancient and has the means to stop the war and conscripts many of the POVs in help finding it, while the others face overwhelming odds and strange alliances. It all boils down to who has the bigger magic.

In truth, the plot is straightforward for some characters (the journey and return) and the fight against their fellow man. There is a lot of political maneuvering and discussion since the king dies and he has no living heir. There is a detailed description of a fencing tournament for the young pup which takes up majority of the first book. The second book is mostly about the journey to find said magic as well as the war now being started. The final book ends the conflict, but continues well after the fact to set up the new king/regime.

The Good:

I liked Mr. Abercrombie’s writing style. It is quickly paced and easy to read, pretty much read all three books in two weeks. The characters are not typical stereotypes as he has a cripple anti-hero that is gripping. Glotka was a very interesting character study on how war can affect a person that is not always seen as heroic.

The peoples and places were well thought and detailed. It made for interesting character decisions, mostly in terms of the non-typical heroes. Logen Ninefingers and Ferro were complete opposites, but that was due to their detailed backstories and life journeys. They aren’t the typical heroes we always see in fantasy as they both have very deep flaws. Their romance wasn’t long and drawn out and they didn’t end up together in the end, so that was refreshing.

The action and battle scenes were well done and engaging. Logen’s berserk into the Bloody Nine was awesome and terrifying to read because you never knew what would happen. But the scenes were not long for the sake of having action, but were well-paced and to the point.

The Bad:

The lack of true climaxes in the books are a let down. Feels almost like going on this long car ride only to realize we went in a giant circle. The characters don’t really grow along the journey, especially Jezal (who, by the way was a terribly annoying character).

The same can be said about Glotka’s plot in the second book (or the entire second volume). He goes somewhere, has some things happen to him and then goes back home. It wasn’t all that necessary.

The twists were fairly easy to spot and it left a lot to be desired on the wizard’s backstory.

Rating:

2.5 out of 5

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