Review: The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie


Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say that he entertains.

I bought the beautiful paperbacks of this trilogy that you can see above – I love me a beautiful book cover and these have all these nice embellishments – because I’d heard Abercrombie was a logical next step after reading authors like Steven Erikson, James Barclay and Brent Weeks. And I’m glad I bought these: glad and sad, I’ll tell you why in a minute.

The First Law trilogy is made up of the following books:

  • The Blade Itself
  • Before They Are Hanged
  • Last Argument of Kings


Logen Ninefingers, a barbarian known throughout the North as The Bloody Nine, is fighting to stay alive springing an ambush by Shanka. He is told by the spirits that a Magus is looking for him and decided to go and make his acquaintance. He is tired of fighting, but unfortunately the fighting will never end. Say one thing for The Bloody Nine, say that he is unlucky.

Bayaz, First of the Magi, feels that the world is changing. Bethod, self-crowned king of the North is attacking the Union and the Gurkish are also preparing for war. He feels it’s time to go home and shake things up again. After all, does it really matter what happened thousands of years ago?

Jezal dan Luthar is a pompous nobleman, caring only about women, defeating his friends at cards and winning the fencing contest. He thinks highly of himself and lowly of others, and why shouldn’t he? Wasn’t he handsome, wasn’t he rich? If only he had more brains.

Inquisitor Glokta, first tortured and now torturer, goes about his business with glee, making sure the streets remain safe and confession properly signed. It doesn’t matter to him whether the confessions are truthful, it doesn’t matter to him who is guilty or innocent. After all, aren’t we all guilty of something?

Little did any of them know what was in their future. Well, maybe one did.


I like the series. Let’s just get that out there. I like it. I don’t love it though, but I was glad to read it and will be glad to reread it in the future. It was very entertaining and the characters were all very interesting. But I found myself mostly connecting with Logen Ninefingers (and a bit with the slave-turned-runaway Ferro, but she made it very hard) because he’s such a great and yet tragic character.

Most of the characters start out at a certain point and then have something big happen to them. They all respond very differently and that when you really get to see their true selves. This series is very much about how power corrupts and how life will always come full circle, even if it’s unintended or undeserved. In the end, people are who they are.





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