The Blade ItselfJanuary 14, 2014
This is one of the finest exhibit of a fantasy novel. The plot is intriguing, the character is well designed, the dialogue is witty, and the most important one, the struggle is believable. Too many books in the market already are insulting our common sense and better judgement.
This novel also has gritty and dark element, a genre popularized by the over-famous A Song of Ice and Fire series. Even though it is not as complicated and heart breaking (yet) as ASOIF, I still find the plot very interesting and well paced.
The beginning is quite modest, actually, introducing three main characters in their daily lives, as barbarian, soldier and inquisitor (in our world’s term: interrogator). From those three, I like the inquisitor best. A crippled, caused by torture when he was captured during war, with wit and attitude. I remind me of our beloved Tyrion Lannister of ASOIF. Well, I always have soft spot for broken things, to quote Tyrion himself.
The author is using three different style of writing to differentiate three different character. The inquisitor, Glokta, has a lot of inner thought, written is italic, mocking others in his mind. The Barbarian, Logen Ninefingers, is a tortured soul. Quite philosophical, lots of thinking, but more reflective instead of mocking, which is a contrast to Glokta. And the last one, Jezal dan Luthar, a carefree character. Not to much a thinker, but a man of action. Green compared to the first two. The changing of style between three of them is refreshing, like you seeing the same picture, but from three different point of view, which makes this book really rich.
The last 100 pages, after the Contest, are a bit dragging. I feel that the writer is loosing steam, going from 4th and 5th gear, to 3rd gear. But I think it is inevitable. You cannot go on 5th gear all the way. The other weak spot is the last main character, Ferro, a runaway slave girl. The background story on her side is not enough to interest me. But most of the time, I have nothing to complain. A solid 4 STARS.
Note: the usage of “dan” for name of nobility confused me the first time. In my mother tongue, “dan” means “and”. So when I read Sand dan Glokta, hey, are we talking about ONE person or TWO persons here? Only later I realized that the word is “dan” not “and”.