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on 28 October 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed these books, could hardly put them down at one point. Barely noticed it was a trilogy, one book just flowed into another, without the normal reintroduction to the plot that you normally get with multi part novels. I loved all the characters, found the story enthralling, fast paced and action packed, and the writing style suited me perfectly (detailed, but not over descriptive). Then I got to the final chapters, and it all fell apart. The main themes suddenly end with very little explanation or detail, plot holes are hurriedly filled with out of place 'twists', and the character stories finish at best implausibably, or more often with no conclusion at all. I can't tell if the author was planning more books so leaving his options open, or simply reached the publishers word count and wrapped things up ASAP. Either way it left me feeling disappointed and cheated, and turned a 5 star epic into a 3-4 star decent effort. What a shame
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on 28 February 2016
The characters in this book are all complex and flawed. I can't honestly say that I actually liked any of them for long. Some of them seemed to be reasonable, far from perfect, then they would do something which really surprised me. Others were just unpleasant from the start and remained that way throughout. Occasionally one of the nasty characters would do something that appeared to be kind but usually there was an ulterior motive. If you like a book with a hero you may struggle with this one but the political intrigue and magical undertones keep the pages turning and the reader wondering where the next betrayal will come from. The main characters change as the story develops and they begin to see what type of world they are really living in. The only one to remain unchanged is Bayaz, the master manipulator.
A word of warning though, it is really gory in places so if you don't have the stomach for it this isn't for you.
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on 29 September 2015
I am just picking up the wealth of literature called fantasy. I've just read all of robin hobb, looked through reviews and they said the first law trilogy was a goodie. They were not wrong, the whole thing, world and characters. The great thing about being at a loose end reading wise is that fantasy fills the gap, from stagnant fiction to detective stories, fantasy encompasses it all. Thankyou Joe for writing so well, with intrigue and people in it to boot. Where as two of your charachters remained trapped in a building. My thirst for reading and that' i need to know the end but i don't want it to finish' state of mind is a welcome change from my past reading pursuits. Hallelujah for any well written fantasy book, though i did feel a bit sorry for west. I have found peace in peoples wild yet compelling imaginations. Keep up the writing Joe the worlds a better place for it, well mine at least :-) Ferro is still out there somewhere it makes me smile just at the thought. I'm now on the earth sea quartet, all marvellous!!
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on 23 June 2016
Joe Abercrombie's books set in the world of the First Law Trilogy are awesome. So much good about them. Get this one, and then get the other collection with The Heroes in, and settle down for around 128 hours' of complete absorption. You will chuckle at Glokta's cynical humour. You will cry at what becomes of other characters. Nobody is necessarily a Good Guy or a Bad Guy in this - they're all just a cast of dozens of deep & complex characters with their own back-stories. trying to do their best. Abercrombie's stories are all character-driven, and his characters are Very Well-Written.
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on 2 January 2014
In the previous two instalments, whilst I liked the books a great deal, there seemed to be little overarching direction to the series, particularly in the non-event that was the end of book two. So in the back of my mind was the niggling fear that this would come to a dissatisfying end. I'd LIKE to be able to report that luckily, thankfully, LAOK gives us a gut-punching, epic, splendidly cliche-defying end to this refreshingly contrary take on the fantasy epic. But that is (literally) not the whole story. Events of great import are dealt with dramatically, but just when you think the series is going to conclude on a real high it all goes slightly wrong.

As the story continues beyond the climax, there is inevitably huge expectation. For surely the only reason to continue in this fashion is to tie-up character arcs, to give meaning to the whole adventure? Its annoying but, without giving away spoilers, each concluding chapter is deeply dissatisfying. You have become so involved with these characters over the course of three books that you just want to know their final destination. Every ending, to every character arc - whilst in a sense true to the story - feels like it breaks the covenant between author and reader. We expected more than this, dammit! The characters entirely dictate the story's direction, with a stubborn refusal to allow a guiding hand to shape the narrative into something more affecting. I've never experienced an author who is so utterly ruthlessness in his treatment of his characters before, a trait which is both wonderful and terrible. In those post-script chapters, when you WANT a little comforting cliche, Joe Abercrombie chooses to confound expectations in his usual manner with something less prosaic. Its a quality of his writing I loved in the preceding books but...well, lets just say character led narratives inevitably defy a neat finale.

So, a depressing ending (to my tastes, anyway) but a great trilogy despite the flaws. The journey was worth it overall. The characters are richly observed and have a relentless, visceral reality to them. As for the plot there is simply no way to predict its twists and turns, but you can guarantee it'll be a bruising ride. A final word on Glokta: such a mericless, cold-hearted, tortured creation really shouldn't be so fun to spend time with, yet with everyones-favourite-inquisitor every bitter quip has enormous appeal; a truly special creation.
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on 13 January 2016
Great trilogy, fell in love with every character and it was nice that there was no defined protagonists and antagonists, each had redeeming and awful qualities!
Was hard to finish the books, only because I didn't want them to end! Will be rereading this again for sure. 100% recommend.
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on 26 June 2016
I rate this book so highly because of its defying of the norm. Having tried to write 'realistic' original fantasy myself I can only be impressed with the flow and characters of a book like this. The plots, the characters and the unashamed grittiness are really refreshing. On the other hand be warned lots of swearing, Gore and other dirt so don't read it if you don't want that in your books. Every character flawed not a single character wasted. Good job Joe I guess that's substitute still alive... you've got to be realistic after all.
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on 16 February 2015
Abercrombie has become my favourite author. The first Law is the best fantasy series I have read. (That Includes GoT and LoTR)

The characters are just amazing, I really cared about each one of them, especially Glokta.

Many reviews seem unhappy there was no Disney happy ending, but I think I like that.
(SPOILER) I wonder what happened to Salt in that room, I wonder if Logan ever found Ferro (assuming he survived), how long can Glokta (My favorite) remain Arch Lector with so many enemies.

I'm relived there are more Abercombie books for me to move onto, I'm not looking forward to running out.
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on 14 July 2015
I really think that with all the fantasy books and series out there, giving any one if them five stars is already a pretty serious statement. More than five would indeed be something special, and if I could, I would give this series at least eight stars. First, there's the writing style. It's clear, crisp, and modern with the occasional bit of dialect thrown in for flavor. All the foreshadowing is a bit much, but it seems like at least some of it will be fulfilled in the second trilogy. Warning: minor spoilers: If the promise of a large Magi-influenced plot is fulfilled, then there's a star for excellent plotting as well. The insistence on humor in the darkest of scenes makes five, and I must say that the black comedy aspect is very well done indeed. Six stars goes for the detailed and three-dimensional character development, including, of course, the beautiful and rich cultural differences between the various peoples in the Circle of the World. This aspect is continued in the second trilogy as well, taking the reader to places on the map only mentioned in the first three books. I think seven stars would be for the world itself, which is comprehensively developed, if not yet fully understand and explored. And finally, eight is for the mystery. That's right. Mystery. I find that fantasy series often explain too much about how magic and all things supernatural work or how they can about. As a reader: I don't want to know. Well, actually, of course I do, but it often ruins the book when the author makes the reader privy to too much. No such problem here. Three-dimensionak characters, a plot full of twists and revenge-turns that would make George R. R. Martin proud, and the humor of a Guy Ritchie movie. This series is a must have, must read, must get sequel. Really, buy it and enjoy!!
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on 18 December 2013
I had just finished the Game of Thrones series and the Wheel of time series and was looking to get my teeth into a smaller but still meaty series. A number of my friends recommended this and I thought it was worth a go.
I'm really enjoying the story, I've got into the characters all of whom are very different, hateful, lovable and laughable at most times, it's really well written and although I admit it took me a little bit to get going with the story I am now hooked.
Really enjoyable - heartily recommend it.
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