Do you recommend the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie? (no spoilers)

I am considering adding this trilogy to my reading queue, but would like some opinions on this series first.

Does the trilogy complete the story? I like completed works, like the original Mistborn trilogy and so forth. I am not looking to start something that may drag on a few decades before it is done. I read the first three Game of Thrones book around 2001-2002 and have learned to be very wary since then.

I generally like fantasy, if that helps.

Yes, absolutely yes. He’s the best fantasy writer at the moment. Also strongly recommend the stand alone books that follow the trilogy.

Yes, It’s an extremely good. Be warned, it is pitch black, and subverts a lot of fantasy tropes in unexpected ways. Do not read if you want a typical heroic fantasy saga.

I’m up for anything fresh and interesting.

Does the initial trilogy end the main story it is telling?

Yes. But you shouldn’t stop there.

I’ll also wholeheartedly throw my support behind it, definitely one of my favorite series. The First Law trilogy tells a great story itself, but I actually liked the followups Best Served Cold and The Heroes more (Red Country a bit less). As for being pitch black, while it’s not the darkest I’ve read, it’s definitely squarely in that end of the spectrum. Lots of violence, and one of the main characters of the trilogy is an inquisitor/torturer, if that tells you anything.

Man I love red country the best out of all of them. The palpable feeling of regret every single character shows is just perfect.

Personally…not really. The worldbuilding didn’t grab me, the writing was Perfectly Serviceable, and the “gritty” or “deconstructive” elements felt (to me) more like an author going “tee-hee, look how naughty I’m being! I’m so rebellious!”

You know that action scene where the victor (villain or antihero, could be either) punches a guy till he’s down, then keeps punching, and his victim’s face starts to deform, and then the sound effects become squelchy and blood starts splattering everywhere, and he just keeps punching?

That’s what Abernathy does to fantasy tropes.

Other folks satirize them, parody them, show a loving exasperation with them. Abernathy? He beats the shit out of them, and it gets downright uncomfortable.

But he’s very good at it, so if you can put up with that sort of ultraviolence to fantasy cliches (oh yeah, and to nearly every character), I recommend him.

Of the four I’ve read in that world, Red Country is my favorite as well. Nine Fingers is just about perfectly used there.

Yes 100% yes

The POV character you get introduced to in the very first chapter is an evil torturer. But the more you read him, the more you see he has layers, and is far more complex than first presented. So yeah, it’s a great series.

After I finish the Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, this is going to be next. I’m excited!

I grabbed these randomly from the library shelf, more or less, and was surprised by how much I liked them. Yes, they overuse some fantasy tropes, but Abercrombie also does them very well. Definite recommendation from me.


OK, so I did not read any of these right away, but I did just finish the first one and am about 24% through the second one.

My thoughts on The Blade Itself:

Yep, it was pretty good. I wouldn’t go too nuts with praise. I may seem insane to some of you, but I honestly found it to not really have that much happening compared to what I expected. I like the characters, but did not find the story driving much. I would say that this is what happened in the first book.

  1. Glokta tortured people and found out a major conspiracy with the Mercers(and that it involves a bank). In the end, sent to another town to investigate their disappeared torturer. My favorite character, though.

  2. Nine-fingers meets up with a magician’s apprentice and eventually the first magus himself, a person thought to be legendary. They to go the main town, enter a tower that proves the first magus is who he says he is, pick up the girl and head for the edge of the world. Oh, and he can hulk out when in a fight.

  3. Jazel trains and wins a competition for fencing. He falls in love with a girl. Ends up going to the edge of the world with Nine-fingers and the first magus.

It sounds like a lot, but it was a pretty long book and some of this felt spread out.

I am not attacking this book at all. It was actually really good. I listened to the audio and the narrator is one of the best I’ve heard. He does incredible voices and I was amazed how I knew immediately who was talking before the narration had mentioned it. He’s great.

Anyway, I am continuing onto the second one obviously. I will probably go right through to the third as well.

Thanks for the recommendation. If I enjoy this trilogy, I’ll probably come back to the stand alone book as well at some point.

The trilogy is basically one long story, book one is act one. That is one reason why I think the stand alone books are better, among others. Still they are all very much worth reading or listening to.

It felt like the opening/exposition to a longer work. I will be continuing.

I was kind of confused by the part where they entered the Tower in the city. What exactly did they see in there? I get that they came out at the top without having ever climbed steps and that they also came out in 30 minutes of passed time despite it taking hours. I seemed to have zoned out or something when it described what they actually saw inside. What was it?

It’s been quite a while but i mostly remember Bayaz telling them to stay away from everything and follow him closely. The only specific item I remember was a weapon with an edge on this side and an edge on “the other side”.They didn’t go in looking for anything specific, just as a way to prove that Bayaz was who he said he was.

I have to agree with this. I love fantasy, and I hated The First Law, hated it more than just about any series I can think of. What other people see as subversiveness, I read as contempt for the fantasy genre and its audience. Sure, it’s dark, but underneath the darkness is… nothing. Just empty nihilism and mockery.

My advice? Read Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire trilogy instead. It’s darker than anything Abercrombie ever wrote - brutal, at times - but there a real thoughtfulness to it, even something of a moral center. It’s better written, too.

You have me interested!

That’s The Prince of Thorns and sequels, right?