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Author Topic: Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy  (Read 2325 times)
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Crux
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« on: July 17, 2010, 11:51:38 PM »

I haven't seen anywhere near enough love for Joe Abercromie and his First Law trilogy on these boards, and having just finished the third book last night after yet another "stayed up too late reading" binge, I have to say it is downright excellent. I would compare him to GRR Martin in terms of the ambiguous nature of the characters, except for two things:
1) He actually finishes his books
2) He's a better writer (obviously in my opinion).

To call the world 'gritty' or 'dark' really doesn't do it justice. I cannot think of a single character in the entire trilogy whom I would call downright 'good'. Even those you think are good often turn out to be only mostly good.. or in many cases somewhat good. The plots are complex without being difficult to follow, the characters are just downright excellent, and the writing is outstanding. Highly, highly recommended!
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 12:55:14 AM »

I fully agree with you.  Anybody who hasn't read these needs to rush to the store now. An absolutely fantastic trilogy and the 4th book (related, but not part of the original trillogy) is also fantastic.
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 12:57:39 AM »

Yup. Loved all 4. I felt the finale of the trilogy (Book 3) was awesome, and the last 100+ pages was a rush of unexpected awesome.

Like them more than Song of Ice and Fire.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 01:25:36 AM »

I disagree about him being better than GRR Martin, but they are fantastic books and he is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. If you liked those, be sure to check out Scott Lynch's "Lies of Locke Lamora" which has the same sort of tone.

After growing up on high fantasy novels like Tolkien, the D&D/Dragonlance stuff, etc. I have really been enjoying the new wave of young fantasy authors that are doing this kind of gritty "realistic" fantasy. (I suppose if you want to nitpick, Robert E. Howard was doing it long before any of them, but you get my point).

I just finished Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy which is also excellent.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2010, 01:45:55 AM »

I liked it but didn't love it. It was expertly written but I felt he was trying to jam his "life sucks" theme a little too much. Yes, it might be realistic or gritty, but happy things are also realistic and I don't think anything happy happened in any of the books (the first 3 at least).

My other main issue is that while the characters were masterfully written and fleshed out, none of them had any real redeeming qualities about them so I didn't really care if (ok, when) they died or something else bad happened to them.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 02:42:59 AM »

I've got all three sitting in my massive To Be Read pile, guess I need to move them closer to the top.  icon_wink
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 06:16:06 PM »

I just saw these books pop up on my recommended reading list on Amazon.  did you guys know he's got a new book out in the same world called The Heroes?  it literally came out last week.  of course I'm just buying the first book in the trilogy so I won't be reading the latest yet.
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 07:58:09 PM »

I just finished the first book, and was absolutely blown away.  This is easily the best fantasy series since Song of Ice & Fire, and even surpasses it in many ways.  Awesome characters, an incredible gritty world, and a story with tons of twists, turns, and politics.  Oh, and nobody writes battle scenes better than Abercrombie.  Seriously, this is an absolute "must read" if you like even remotely enjoy the fantasy genre.  Picked up the second book last night, and am having to force myself not to start it right now (saving it for the flight to Hawaii in a couple weeks).
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2011, 08:03:24 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on February 12, 2011, 07:58:09 PM

Picked up the second book last night, and am having to force myself not to start it right now (saving it for the flight to Hawaii in a couple weeks).

there's always book three or the two books that follow it  icon_wink
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2011, 12:53:35 AM »

I like the series but I don't love it.  Very good characters (Abercrombie's strongest suit IMO) though he gets a bit too fond of repeating the same turns of phrase over and over ("Say One Thing....").  I didn't care for his plotting much though- I know that most people feel Before They Were Hanged was stronger than the first book but IMO it was weaker and large parts unnecessary.

Haven't read Best Served Cold and Heroes yet but hope to do so this year. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 03:24:39 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on February 13, 2011, 12:53:35 AM

I like the series but I don't love it.  Very good characters (Abercrombie's strongest suit IMO) though he gets a bit too fond of repeating the same turns of phrase over and over ("Say One Thing....").  I didn't care for his plotting much though- I know that most people feel Before They Were Hanged was stronger than the first book but IMO it was weaker and large parts unnecessary.

Haven't read Best Served Cold and Heroes yet but hope to do so this year. 

I'm in the same boat. I enjoyed the series but I didn't love it. I thought the characters were strong, the battle scenes were great, and the pacing was good after the first half of the first book. I thought the plot and the world was pretty average. I also thought the ending was pretty disappointing. I think the book may have also been a bit too dark for my tastes. I like a little bit of hope and optimism in my gritty fantasy and there's pretty much none of that in the series.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2011, 03:37:33 AM »

"Best Served Cold" has been my favorite book of his so far.  Just as dark as the main series, but I liked the characters more than "The First Law" crew, the humor was stronger and the plot was tighter.   I think Abercrombie is just a better writer now than when he started the trilogy and he was hardly a slouch to begin with.  

Picked up "The Heroes" last week and can't wait to get started on it.  
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2011, 07:02:23 AM »

Quote from: kadnod on February 13, 2011, 03:37:33 AM

"Best Served Cold" has been my favorite book of his so far.  Just as dark as the main series, but I liked the characters more than "The First Law" crew, the humor was stronger and the plot was tighter.   I think Abercrombie is just a better writer now than when he started the trilogy and he was hardly a slouch to begin with.  

Picked up "The Heroes" last week and can't wait to get started on it.  

I'm a few chapters into 'The Heroes" and am enjoying it.
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 08:57:11 AM »

Quote from: Koz on July 18, 2010, 01:45:55 AM

It was expertly written but I felt he was trying to jam his "life sucks" theme a little too much. Yes, it might be realistic or gritty, but happy things are also realistic and I don't think anything happy happened in any of the books (the first 3 at least).

That's how I felt about the first book.  I managed to read it to the end (I rarely finish a book I don't like at all) but I didn't give a shit about the characters and have absolutely no desire to read the rest of the series.  Unlike Yellowking, I don't like the current trend of gritty, realistic fantasy at all.  I don't mind some realism - while I'm a big fan of the Dragonlance books they are kind of over the top - but unrelentingly dark and gritty is really off-putting to me.
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 09:21:43 AM »

oh, I looove these books - the Inquisitor is one of my favorite characters ever, and his reasons for being what he was makes very good sense.

Its probably right that the grittiness and dark tone is not for everyone, but personally, I love it. Especially the later books, where you also see some of the other previous minor characters, as main characters suddenly.

need a re-read now!
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2011, 02:29:03 PM »

The Heroes is excellent and serves as a worthy "epilogue" over the original trilogy. Most of the surviving characters are around in some way, and Abercrombies writing is improving. Happily, he's able to balance more characters (upon rereading, the first law trilogy got a little flat), and the battle scenes are just as good.

Only disappointing thing (sorta) is it still follows the arc of most of his other books, which left me wanting something flushed out in that plotline (see Spoilers).

Overall though, 9.0/10

Spoiler for Hiden:
It's getting kinda old that every characters journey through politics, war, etc always ends up somehow fostered by Bayaz or the Prophet. Their war is always on the periphery influencing everything, so I've gotten to the point where I want that to be explored, and not seeing events that are all part of a grand design.



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« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2011, 03:11:22 PM »

Having read everything up to and including Best Served Cold, I've cooled on Abercrombie a bit. I think Best Served Cold was a better book than his previous works without a doubt. And I love the grittiness of his world. However I do like *some* measure of hope in the books I read. A little optimism, a chance at an even somewhat happy ending. They are fantastic, well written books. But I don't know that I enjoy reading them as much as I should for all of that.
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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM »

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2011, 04:10:46 PM »

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?

buy from Amazon?
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2011, 08:06:00 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on February 13, 2011, 04:10:46 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?

buy from Amazon?

Amazon's eBooks are in their own proprietary format, they don't offer ePub.
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2011, 08:55:42 PM »

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 08:06:00 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on February 13, 2011, 04:10:46 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?

buy from Amazon?

Amazon's eBooks are in their own proprietary format, they don't offer ePub.

then convert them?
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2011, 02:42:05 PM »

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on February 13, 2011, 08:55:42 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 08:06:00 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on February 13, 2011, 04:10:46 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?

buy from Amazon?

Amazon's eBooks are in their own proprietary format, they don't offer ePub.

then convert them?

Big thumbs up for Calibre.
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« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2011, 03:18:40 PM »

Quote from: Jag on February 14, 2011, 02:42:05 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on February 13, 2011, 08:55:42 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 08:06:00 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on February 13, 2011, 04:10:46 PM

Quote from: JayDee on February 13, 2011, 03:38:34 PM

WTF, kobobooks.com has the first book in the series but not the other two? What am I supposed to do now?

buy from Amazon?

Amazon's eBooks are in their own proprietary format, they don't offer ePub.

then convert them?

Big thumbs up for Calibre.

This.
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2011, 06:26:15 PM »

Finished Before They Were Hanged yesterday.  This series is "holy fuck" levels of awesome.  Haven't been glued to a series like this since, well, SOIAF.

Starting Book 3 today...
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2011, 09:10:45 PM »

Currently reading Heroes. Kind of weird how some old characters are prominently featured while other big characters are barely mentioned except in passing.
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2011, 03:31:38 AM »

After some of the comments here I picked up the first book in the First Law series looking for something that would grab me as much as the first Song of Ice and Fire books did.  So far I have to say I'm pretty disappointed.  I'm probably only half way through this one, but I don't find this nearly as interesting or having the depth and characters from GRR Martin's books.
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2011, 06:13:05 PM »

grabbed the Kindle sample off of Amazon for the first book in the series and the formatting is driving me crazy.  after every paragraph is separated by two blank lines:

paragraph


next paragraph


next paragraph
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2011, 08:43:24 PM »

Yeah, I got the Kindle version and it is like that through the whole thing.  It sucks for sure.
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« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2011, 09:00:08 PM »

bought a cheap edition of Game of thrones book 1 and 2, and the text was horribly small and blurry... I hate when people do that- first time I ever saw a low quality book, so I understand how annoying it is.

The books are great though - love the characters and the world - especially the inquisitor..he's one cool dude!
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« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2011, 09:03:34 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on March 07, 2011, 09:00:08 PM

bought a cheap edition of Game of thrones book 1 and 2, and the text was horribly small and blurry... I hate when people do that- first time I ever saw a low quality book, so I understand how annoying it is.

The books are great though - love the characters and the world - especially the inquisitor..he's one cool dude!
If you're talking about the Kindle editions supposedly the versions being released on the 22nd are better transfers.

Back on topic:  I think I may have to go to the bookstore and see if I can find a <shudder> paper copy <shudder> to see if it's better.
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2011, 02:28:02 PM »

Wrapped up Last Argument of Kings last night, and thought it was a fitting end to an absolutely incredible series.  Thought it did a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends.  True to the series' tone, there were very few happy endings*, but we got to see a few flashes of sunlight through the clouds.  There were some great surprises (a certain king and certain former prisoner spring to mind), and I absolutely loved the way some of the characters were developed (especially Bayaz and Jezel).  In the end, First Law didn't quite overtake SOIAF, but has knocked everything else on my "favorite fantasy books" down a peg.  I'd highly, highly recommend it.

Picking up Best Served Cold this afternoon...can't wait to spend some more time in this world.

*I especially thought
Spoiler for Hiden:
West
deserved better.  Poor guy.  frown
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2013, 06:14:49 AM »

I started reading the firstbook in the series, but now the second book is out of stock on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Any idea of why the print copy is suddenly scarce?
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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2013, 06:28:27 AM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 12, 2011, 02:28:02 PM

Wrapped up Last Argument of Kings last night, and thought it was a fitting end to an absolutely incredible series.  Thought it did a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends.  True to the series' tone, there were very few happy endings*, but we got to see a few flashes of sunlight through the clouds.  There were some great surprises (a certain king and certain former prisoner spring to mind), and I absolutely loved the way some of the characters were developed (especially Bayaz and Jezel).  In the end, First Law didn't quite overtake SOIAF, but has knocked everything else on my "favorite fantasy books" down a peg.  I'd highly, highly recommend it.

Picking up Best Served Cold this afternoon...can't wait to spend some more time in this world.

*I especially thought
Spoiler for Hiden:
West
deserved better.  Poor guy.  frown

Aye, the fates of some of the people in this series is just heartbreaking. That said, what a great series! I constantly root for the evil, tooth-pulling inquisitor for some weird reason.
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2013, 09:39:43 AM »

I finished this series a couple of months ago and yes it was pretty amazing all the way through.  I'll probably re-read it some time in the future.
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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2013, 03:32:51 PM »

Struggling with finding something to read.

Buying book 1 now!
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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2013, 03:38:07 PM »

Quote from: ATB on June 13, 2013, 03:32:51 PM

Struggling with finding something to read.

Buying book 1 now!

You are in for a treat, sir! Enjoy!
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« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2013, 09:57:34 PM »

I have to say I loved the first book in this series, but the second one was weak for me.  I haven't been compelled to do the third yet.
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« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2013, 10:57:16 PM »

I've read most of the books - the initial trilogy, Red Country, Best Served Cold, the Heroes. Many of the characters from the trilogy make cameos in later books and they are well done. It is probably best to pace yourself though. I read the trilogy all in a row and was a somewhat burned out by the end. I read the next three mixed in with other books and enjoyed them better that way. After the trilogy, I liked Best Served Cold the best.
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« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2013, 06:11:59 AM »

The Heroes was very, very cool - I love how character driven his books are. Red Country did not impress me unfortunately.
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« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2013, 02:26:56 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on June 14, 2013, 06:11:59 AM

The Heroes was very, very cool - I love how character driven his books are. Red Country did not impress me unfortunately.

The Heroes has one of my favorite fight scenes of all time, switching POV as the characters are killed off during a massive battle.  It's absolutely brilliant.

Abercrombie describes the brutality of medieval warfare better than any author I've read.
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