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Reading Joe Abercrombie's The First Law for the first time. (Spoilers for Books 1-3)


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#1 Ded As Ned

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 10:38 AM

I'll take my posts spoiler-free please.

So I'm finally getting around to reading The First Law series... let's not get into the reasons of why it has taken me so damn long, but I'm finally there.

I wanted a thread to discuss the series as I go without subjecting myself to spoilers, and couldn't find any such thread already in existence (at least in the past few years), so I started this one.

Where I'm at: Jezel just met Major West's sister, Ardie (partdon my certain misspelling, I did this chapter on audio this morning stuck in traffic).

Thoughts thus far:

  • I became interested in this series (in a 'I want to know what happens next' kind of way) much earlier than I expected. Usually book 1's take at least a few hundred pages (or a book or two, looking at you Tad Williams) before I become interested and thirst for more. tBI took me until the end of Glokta's first chapter. Leading to...
  • Really like the pacing, which seems bloat- and needless-expositoin-free thus far.
  • I wish there was a damned map, so I could know where mentioned places are in relation to one another. This is probably by author's intent to avoid travel-time inconsistencies or some such damnable thing, but I figure eventually I'll figure out the geography in a general sense.
    • So far it seems Logen is in the north; Jezel, Glotka, and co. are in the same (capitol?) city, which is not in the north or east (iirc), which means west or south? Could be way off on that though. Something about a circle of the world.
  • Fight scenes. Are handled fairly well, but the "oomph!"s and "Aarghhh!"s seemed awkward at first, and always remind me of POW! CRASH! BANG! starbursts from comic books. But I think that's by intent (Is our good friend Joe a comic book fan?), and I actually came to like it after the initial adjustment. (People do make these guttoral noises in real life, after all).
  • Logen: seems like your typical Fighter/Barbarian class RPG character thus far. I don't mean that as a complaint... it's just that thus far he seems to be what one would expect from such a character. Although he has introduced me to the first instances of magic in the world (and mention of the Magi, apparantly the wizards-resident)
    • The fire spirit thing: carrying the spirit of fire under your tongue seems like a very useful tool when one needs to survive in the great wild with a cookpot as your only companion. As well as when you need to roast an enemy on demand.
  • Jezel is obviously ill-equipped to deal with Ardie. I snickered a lot through this chapter where they first meet. Reminds me a lot of when I first met my wife. This girl has trouble written all over her. Run away man! (although, it's probably too late, I'd place a solid bet she had him at hello ;).

That's it for now. Feel free to post as I go along (or not, I'm not sure how interesting or original my thoughts on the series will be as I go along, as most of you read this long ago)

Plus I wanted to see if I could

Spoiler


ETA: Forgot to mention Glokta. Definitely a man after my own heart and my favorite character thus far. I just really dig this guy, and presently getting to his next chapters keeps me page-turning. And the fact that he keeps showing up in Jezel's POVs is a great bonus as I read.

ETA2: CHanged thread title to indicate I'm posting spoilers as I go. I'm trying to put everything in spoiler tags, but might miss some minor things.


Edited by Ded As Ned, 28 September 2013 - 03:17 PM.


#2 Sansa_Stark

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

I got five pages into it and quit. Will get into the series later.

#3 KingInTheCave

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:26 AM

I also started this book today, listened to the first few chapters while at the gym. Too soon to say what if I'll read the whole series, but it does not look very promising. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this series has a somewhat light tone to it?

Edited by TheKingInTheCave, 29 July 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#4 Direwolves are totally sweet

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:27 AM

I immediately loved the Logen chapters as I believe almost any fan of his work did. As most people will say - in vague, non-spoiler terms - the first book is generally regarded as the 'weakest', but in my opinion is necessary to his style of developing the story. It'll get more complex soon.

The map thing will bug you, if you're a map guy as I am, throughout the series. But it's intentional. My initial idea of the geography was far, far, far different than the official maps of certain areas that came out in later books. It was healthy for me to read a book without consistently referring to maps, I suppose. Still, I love doin' that!

#5 Guy Kilmore

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:28 AM

It is an enjoyable read. Abercrombie played with some classic stereotypes and flips or explores them in interesting ways. Have fun digging into a great series of books.

#6 Guy Kilmore

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:29 AM

I also started this book today, listened to the first few chapters while at the gym. Too soon to say what if I'll read the whole series, but it does not look very promising. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this series has a somewhat light tone to it?

I would say no to the lighter tone. It gets pretty gritty.

#7 Ded As Ned

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

I also started this book today, listened to the first few chapters while at the gym. Too soon to say what if I'll read the whole series, but it does not look very promising. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this series has a somewhat light tone to it?


Yeah, I just finished chapter 8-ish, and I would disagree already. As someone else mentioned above, I find the tone to be somewhat dark, gritty, and ominous, if anything.

(ETA for spelling)

Edited by Ded As Ned, 29 July 2013 - 11:50 AM.


#8 Frank Fitzpatrick

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 12:22 PM

Keep going, they get better and better.

#9 Rhom

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:21 PM

I hesitate to write anything for fear of even quasi spoilers, so I will just say that if you are enjoying TBI this early on... you are in for a real treat as the series continues. I think I found it somewhat slow at first, but like you I couldn't wait to see Glokta again.

#10 Ded As Ned

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:36 PM

I hesitate to write anything for fear of even quasi spoilers, so I will just say that if you are enjoying TBI this early on... you are in for a real treat as the series continues. I think I found it somewhat slow at first, but like you I couldn't wait to see Glokta again.


Thanks, I've been pleasantly surprised so far. Having heard about the series for a long time now, and how everyone always says Book 1 is the weakest, I had somewhat low expectations. (Plus, my most recent reads have been aMoL, The Way of Kings, and a Tad Williams re-read, which are all wordy at a minimum). So it's quite refreshing and since I'm enjoying it already, I can't wait to see how good it gets later on.

Also on Jezel. This may be blasphemous to say, but early on he reminds me quite a bit of Adolin from The Way of Kings (albeit a slightly more alcoholic version). Probably due to the womanizing, dueling, and 'I owe everything thanks to Daddy' vibes...

#11 thecryptile

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:39 PM

I hesitate to write anything for fear of even quasi spoilers, so I will just say that if you are enjoying TBI this early on... you are in for a real treat as the series continues. I think I found it somewhat slow at first, but like you I couldn't wait to see Glokta again.

QFT- Abercrombie's work, to me at least, appears to improve with each release. TBI is probably my least favorite, while Red Country is my fav so far. With that logic in mind, I have high hopes for Half a King.

#12 KingInTheCave

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:51 PM

Yeah, I just finished chapter 8-ish, and I would disagree already. As someone else mentioned above, I find the tone to be somewhat dark, gritty, and ominous, if anything.

(ETA for spelling)


Yes, I see I misjudged it. I've read the first three chapters, and the problem I have with it so far (this might seem silly to most) is the character names. Whenever I hear Logen or Glokta I keep picturing characters from an old Final Fantasy, like this. It ruins the mood.

On a side note, I can't believe someone almost spoiled the ending to the trilogy in an unrelated thread. Thank god I looked away before it was too late.

#13 Ded As Ned

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:03 PM

Yes, I see I misjudged it. I've read the first three chapters, and the problem I have with it so far (this might seem silly to most) is the character names. Whenever I hear Logen or Glokta I keep picturing characters from an old Final Fantasy, like this. It ruins the mood.

On a side note, I can't believe someone almost spoiled the ending to the trilogy in an unrelated thread. Thank god I looked away before it was too late.


I have that problem with books sometimes, when the names remind me of another work or what have you. I don't have much of a suggestion except as I continue on I seem to get over it.

The thing that really drives me nuts is the authors who have a fondness for unpronouncable names.

#14 Rhom

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:44 PM

Whenever I hear Logen or Glokta I keep picturing characters from an old Final Fantasy, like this. It ruins the mood.


Completely off topic here... has there been an update of FFVI that I was unaware of? I know they re-worked FFIV entirely, but those pics look like in-game graphics of a more advanced level than the original.

#15 Ded As Ned

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:53 PM

Completely off topic here... has there been an update of FFVI that I was unaware of? I know they re-worked FFIV entirely, but those pics look like in-game graphics of a more advanced level than the original.


I think they did a Japanese version remake for the Game Boy Advance some years ago, which might be where the graphic came from? I'm a pretty big FF fan so I think I would've heard... but maybe TheKingIntheCave knows more

#16 Rhom

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:03 PM

I think they did a Japanese version remake for the Game Boy Advance some years ago, which might be where the graphic came from? I'm a pretty big FF fan so I think I would've heard... but maybe TheKingIntheCave knows more


Yeah, I am aware of the FF Advance version, but I didn't think it updated the graphics significantly. /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' /> However, if you really want to avoid FF references in books, better steer clear of The Gentleman Bastard series! Hell, when Scott Lynch posts around here (been a long time) his avatar is Locke from FFVI.

So anyways... yeah... Abercrombie. His books are good.

Edited by Rhom, 29 July 2013 - 04:03 PM.


#17 KingInTheCave

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:03 PM

I think they did a Japanese version remake for the Game Boy Advance some years ago, which might be where the graphic came from? I'm a pretty big FF fan so I think I would've heard... but maybe TheKingIntheCave knows more


Sorry I don't. Although I think FFVI is best when played in its original form.

The thing that really drives me nuts is the authors who have a fondness for unpronouncable names.


Couldn't agree more, I gave up on reading a book once because the main character had a name like that, I can't remember what it was though.

Yeah, I am aware of the FF Advance version, but I didn't think it updated the graphics significantly. /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' /> However, if you really want to avoid FF references in books, better steer clear of The Gentleman Bastard series! Hell, when Scott Lynch posts around here (been a long time) his avatar is Locke from FFVI.


Well, I bought The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday. I was going to start reading it today but decided to go with First Law first.

Edited by TheKingInTheCave, 29 July 2013 - 04:14 PM.


#18 Rhom

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:15 PM

Well, I bought The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday. I was going to start reading it today but decided to go with First Law first.


I read TBI and LoLL around the same time. Both fantastic but for entirely different reasons.

#19 TheDanish

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:15 PM

If you're looking for a map, the first canon iteration of the larger world appeared in the online comic here: http://www.firstlawcomic.com/page/50/ and the accompanying description here: http://www.firstlawc...canon/#comments. Hopefully the portion of the story in that frame isn't spoiler territory for you. Let's just say it's Glokta's meeting with a higher-up in his organization.

To paraphrase the blog entry: left is north, right is south, top is east, bottom is west. The center island is Midderland, the southern area is Gurkhul (actually one continent with an inland sea), Styria is in the east, the North is in the north, and Starikland is in the west. The Old Empire would be farther west (and thus beyond the bottom of the map as it is oriented in the comic).

EDIT: As for the series itself, it was the one that got me into fantasy. I found it thoroughly refreshing, even if the early writing style is amateur. I was hooked instantly. It does a tremendous job of playing with fantasy tropes.

Edited by TheDanish, 29 July 2013 - 08:20 PM.


#20 Snowborn

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:24 PM

Yeah, I am aware of the FF Advance version, but I didn't think it updated the graphics significantly. /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' /> However, if you really want to avoid FF references in books, better steer clear of The Gentleman Bastard series! Hell, when Scott Lynch posts around here (been a long time) his avatar is Locke from FFVI.

So anyways... yeah... Abercrombie. His books are good.


Locke, the awesome treasure hunter gentleman bastard thief! In my mind, Locke Lamora looks like Locke from FFVI (who is my favorite character in the game), it's nice to know that it wasn't just my imagination. /lol.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />


On topic, Abercrombie's books are dark, gritty, and all around awesome. The Blade Itself might seem a little slow, there's a lot of action towards the end though. The following books are quick-paced, and full of surprises. I liked TBI more on a second read.