The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

What a fantastic trilogy this is! It literally has everything, from a little bit of romance and sex, to torture, death, and war. Running alongside that, there is also the political element, with a little magic thrown into the mix as well.

The story follows several key characters, in much the same way as A Song of Ice and Fire does. However, unlike George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie doesn’t seem to have such a brutal disregard for the people he has invented…at least, I really hope he hasn’t based them on real people!

First up is Logen Ninefingers, AKA The Bloody-Nine. He has a habit of getting into fights, so much so that he has a personal feud with Bethod, the king of the North men. He is deadly with a blade, and just about anything he lays his hands on can be used to kill people. However, he has a softer, more thoughtful side which comes as a complete contrast.

His fellow North men in this book are The Dogman, Threetrees, Black Dow, Tul Thunderhead, and Harding Grim.Together, they are the hardest bunch of men you can ever meet. Happy to kill, yet wanting, for the most part, to stick to common decency. The sight of some people being killed for no reason is enough to anger them into action.

Moving South, we get to Adua, where we meet Jezel dan Lothar. A promising military career awaits him as he first enters into a tournament which he hopes to win. He is very much full of the glory of war without ever having been in a battle, and actually looks forward to the opportunity to show his talents.

Collum West is a common man who has managed to rise within the ranks of the army and now sits in a position of a little power. He still likes to drink and play card games with the likes of Jezel, but is constantly aware that he is not of the same class as some of the other officers. He is also plagued, in his opinion, by his sister, Ardee. She is a bit carefree, especially when it comes to flirting with brave young men. Her relationship with her brother is fractious at best.

In the far south, we come across one more character of importance. Ferro is a wild woman, a former slave who has escaped and is seeking vengenge, even if it means her life, against the Gurkish, a brutal race of men ruled over by an emperor of great wealth and power.

The Magi come into this trilogy in quite a big way, lead by Bayaz . I never completely trusted him throughout this series, but he is an interesting character. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but watch out for him!

My favourite character by far was Sand dan Glokta, the crippled former soldier who became an Inquisitor. His job is torturing people for information and confessions so he can help in his little way to keep the kingdom safe. He himself is tortured by the pain left him from his unfortunate past. His sense of humour is incredible and I found myself looking forward to the parts of the books where we were riding in his mind.

The plot I will admit is not seamless. I made the mistake of leaving a gap of a few months between reading the first and second books, and this did give me a few problems when it came to remembering who was who and why they were where they were. However, this is not a major problem and I quickly found myself up-to-date with everything. The plot of the second and third books rolled together brilliantly and I found myself desperate to know what would happen next, so much so that I kept reading long into the night, especially on book 3.

If you like Game of Thrones and Farseer, you will love this sensational trilogy. I loved every little thing about it, and I hope you will too!

Star rating: 5 from 5 - simply perfection!

The Blade Itself: 5 from 5
Before They Are Hanged: 5 from 5
Last Argument of Kings: 5 from 5