I belong to a very few Facebook groups; one of my favorite is Grimdark Fiction Readers and Writers. I enjoy gritty tales with morally ambiguous characters; GRR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire,of course, Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire. I write a little bit of it, myself.
Joe Abercrombie’s name is mentioned in that group so many times that I began to feel a bit remiss in not having read any of his books, so I broke open my trusty old Kindle and bought The Blade Itself.
Holy shit, can this guy write.
I loved his characters; I did start feeling a bit of female rage brewing at his all-male cast until about a third of the way into the book, when he introduced a thoroughly enjoyable female POV character. I would have liked to see more women represented, because it’s an awesome sandbox full of awesome toys and girls like to play too. But I loved his cast, each and every one of them, I hated the bad guys and I hated the good guys sometimes as well. Abercrombie is a master at presenting a diverse cast of characters, each with their own voice and story.
His worldbuilding is seamless. I’d hate to live there, but I love reading about it.
And as for his storytelling…again, holy shit. Abercrombie weaves a tale so subtly and urgently that your coffee will sit at your elbow and get cold, your phone calls will go unanswered, and you will occasionally forget to breathe.
And it only gets better.
Why are you still here? Go forth and read!