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The First Law

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Kaellpae, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I just finished the trilogy and I must say, I'm very impressed.
     
  2. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    Have any of you read Joe Abercrombie's works? What did you think of them?
     
  3. Veralius

    Veralius Acolyte

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    I've read The First Law trilogy and the spin-off novel Best Served Cold. Abercrombie's writing is punchy and well-plotted but I think it's his characters that really stand out. He could (and does) create the most vulgar, self-serving monster of a character and I'll bet most readers are cheering for him by the end.

    The only thing that gets me a bit with Joe is how cynical the books are. I know that's kind of the point, especially in The First Law seeing as how it's a deconstruction, but it would be nice for a bit of a let up at times. There's only so much 'darker and edgier' a guy can take!
     
  4. BeigePalladin

    BeigePalladin Sage

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    I like his work, it's a good read, buut he's a bit like Fiest - only read one triollogy. he writes dark, cynical fiction which he does amazingly, but he has a set forumla for his work and it all feels rather samey after a while.

    Best served cold, however, is eaisly one of the best books I've ever read :)
     
  5. Meka

    Meka Scribe

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    I've read The Blade Itself and will soon be buying the second in the First Law trilogy :D I was really plesantly surprised, I love Abecrombie's writing style. His characters are some of the best I've ever come across, their feelings and attitudes drive the story and it works so well; Glokta's gotta be the most pessimistic / cynical character in fantasy. Brilliant!
     
  6. pskelding

    pskelding Troubadour

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    I love Glokta and was shocked that I found myself cheering for him in the 2nd and 3rd books! Joe's writing is great. Not only is his prose really good and his brilliant dialogue but his characters are probably my favorite outside of GRRM. I am looking forward to his new stand alone Red Country next year. The wait is killing me but at least I can reread Best Served Cold or The Heroes.
     
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I haven't heard much about Red Country. Is it in the same world? He seemed to be teasing a "western" style story, which I think he could do brilliantly. I loved The First Law Trilogy and liked what I read of Best Served Cold (unfortunately I bought the massive hardback version and didn't want to lug it around with me, so I haven't finished it.) I'm half-way reading The Heroes right now, and I don't really like it as much as the others. For some reason it just seems too scattered. I still like Abercrombie a lot though.
     
  8. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I heard it was supposed to be western, not the title though. Joe said it was in the same world. Maybe it's just in the future a bit?
     
  9. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    I absolutely devoured The First Law trilogy, and thought it was brilliant. Glokta is probably one of my favorite characters ever, because most of the time I would read the scene, get to his inner monologue, and he would say exactly what I was thinking.

    Best Served Cold I found to be equally well written, and sped through that as well.

    However, I got to Heroes and went 'Huh?' Somewhere back in the pages of threads there is my review of it, so I won't rehash the whole thing, you can look it up if you wish to. But Heroes is not of the same caliber as the other books. The writing is still excellent, but the story is lacking.
     
  10. pskelding

    pskelding Troubadour

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    I think most people's problems with The Heroes is that he put in what really happens in a battle. Battle is a lot of sitting around doing nothing and waiting for those few short minutes of sheer fighting terror. Once you know that then you realize that the book is a gritty-reality-based-fantasy-battle book and it seems easier to enjoy. There isn't as much of a story to play out in the book because it's really more of a study of the characters in the battle. Gorst's story was my favorite.

    Red Country is not a western and it's not in the future of the word because characters from First Law are returning. It's a fantasy with western elements set just after The Heroes.
     
  11. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    @pskelding All due respect, but I'm part of the military and I know a few things about combat. I'm not saying that Abercrombie's take on it is unrealistic. There is an old saw that War is hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror, and it's certainly true. My issue is that his story was pointless. It accomplished nothing; as I said in my previous review. Four days of battle and things pretty much go back to the way they were before hand.

    Characters decide to quit the life of a soldier, then go right back to it. There's no character arc for any of them. None of them grow or develop as a character. And honestly, who wants to read about the hours of boredom leading up to the moments of sheer terror? I'll give him credit for stepping outside the box, and trying something different, but Heroes falls miles short of his prior works. I'm trying to find a reviewer who agrees with me on this, yet all I can find is sheep who slavishly follow the rest of the media in being afraid to say something sucks besides the government.

    The characters from First Law were ones that people had grown to love, and he has seemingly just cast them aside except where he needed a villain in the form of Black Dow. I love his writing, and he remains one of my biggest influences in my own writing, but this is one of those instances where we're going to have to agree to disagree. You are entitled to think that Heroes is enjoyable, I'm entitled to think that it's suitable only for propping up lopsided furniture.
     
  12. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I wouldn't say it sucks, it's just Abercrombie has set a high standard for himself. So now people expect when his next book to come out for it to be awesome. But I'm only 100 pages in. I have to say, Best Served Cold didn't hold my interest much. I thought it was good.

    So maybe The Heroes isn't a complete abject failure, it's just The First Law was wall-to-wall badassery with characters who, you know, did stuff...
     
  13. pskelding

    pskelding Troubadour

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    It's good that we can agree to disagree in the forum with civility. I do agree with some of your points but I still love the Heroes mostly for Gorst and the beginning of the book.

    Yes I will totally agree the plot didn't really advance and was somewhat pointless given the events in First Law. But to me, that was the point. They fought and nothing changed. I worked with many Vietnam vets during my time in the US Gov who said the same thing about Vietnam.

    I also agree that Joe set himself up for a letdown with First Law and then going for these stand alone novels.
     
  14. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    *Makes note: Characters are more interesting when they do things* :p

    And I agree with you both that First Law coming out prior to the stand alone books makes them pale in comparison.
     
  15. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I think the idea of doing stand alone books in a shared world is a great one, honestly. I think Abercrombie completed The First Law and decided that he wanted to develop other new characters or even minor characters from The First Law. I admire the fact that he doesn't just fall back on what worked for him and is challenging his readers and himself. Problem is, that doesn't always pan out.

    And he's not writing 900 page door-stoppers either. Which is refreshing. And he's not doing a 12 book saga. Also refreshing.

    I don't think The First Law will be remembered as Abercrombie's best when all is said and done. I think he can do leagues better even, that is why The Heroes can be disappointing to most readers.

    It seems he adds a little genre "spice" to each of his books. I think this is a great idea. The Heroes is sort of a war story. Best Served Cold sort of a thriller/revenge story. And apparently Red Country is going to have western elements.

    So I'm looking forward to the romantic comedy with Glotka and the Snake of Talins. Woo hoo!
     
  16. The Din

    The Din Troubadour

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    I personally loved The Heroes. It was the first of his novels I read and got me reading his others. I agree that it was more a character study than a racing epic, though to say there were no character arcs is pretty short sighted. Abercrombie just continues the arc into a full circle, showing their desire to change, their attempts to, and the struggles connotative of such changes.
     
  17. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    To be fair, I haven't finished The Heroes, so I'd have to go back to finish it before I came to complete opinion on it. Some of the characters do seem interesting, I'd just say none of them has the spark of Logen or any of the others from the First Law.
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    So what this sentence says is that anyone who doesn't agree with you is a sheep who is afraid to say what they really think. I didn't think post-pubescent people retained that mindset.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Best Served Cold is my favorite, followed by The First Law. I liked The Heroes, though not as much as the others. Personally, I believe that the fact that you start and end in virtually the same place, except that you've got a lot more dead bodies lying around, is part of the point, so to criticize it on those grounds is to have failed to grasp that aspect of it.

    But it was not as compelling a read for me as the others.
     
  20. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    As a thirteen year veteran of both the US Marine Corps and the US Army, with four major combat operations under my belt, the most recent being in Afghanistan...I find that John Ringo best captures the feel and imagery of asymmetrical and symmetrical warfare better than anyone else in fiction.
     
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