Worth the paper
The library continues to provide us with a rotating stack of very solid fantasy hardcovers. Doorstops, the lot of them. Huge books, and heavy — just ask poor Jak, who decided to get some exercise by making the last library trek on foot, and had to lug five of the buggers home.
And then there’s this one shabby trade paperback, pages bent and battered, cover barely attached. Poor thing won’t make it through another three pairs of hands before falling utterly to shreds. The one series out of dozens thus far that didn’t rate the more expensive hardcover treatment from its publisher, which turns out to be the newcomer Pyr, rather than one of the usual suspects.
I’m sure you can guess where this is going, because we all enjoy irony here, yes? That trade paperback series is the only one thus far that I’d consider worthy of a hardcover printing.
Like GRRM’s Song of Ice and Fire, Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series eschews absolute good and evil for a cast of complex, morally grey characters. It’s fantasy-of-the-trenches, eased along by wry humor, with nary a cliché in sight.
I am at present only halfway through the second book of three, so there’s always the possibility that the author’s talents don’t extend to crafting a satisfactory conclusion … but I’d be surprised. The Blade Itself is the first book, if you’re inclined to chance it. I’ll let you know when I get to the end.