March 10, 2020
It has been a busy week for me! My family and I recently moved, and the unpacking and general chaos of life has made it difficult to get a lot of reading in! Regardless, I wanted to provide a little update.
I am currently reading The Blade Itself, written by Joe Abercrombie, as well as Shorefall, written by Robert Jackson Bennett.
The Blade Itself
I am about 70% through The Blade Itself. This is a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for some time now because it has been so massively hyped as the book that has set the new bar for grimdark fantasy. Hype can be a dangerous thing and, in this case, I think maybe I was a bit too hyped for this book. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying this book overall, but I can’t help but be somewhat disappointed as well. The highlight of this book are the incredibly detailed characters. Each of the six protagonists are interesting, complex, driven by believable motivations, and simply fun to read. Where I find myself most disappointed, so far, is the plot.
This is a character driven story through and through, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am finding this book hard to complete because I just don’t know or care where it is going. Sure, a war is brewing between the north and south, and there’s an old and powerful magus who is kind of mysterious, but the overall story kind of feels like it is meandering about aimlessly as it gradually works its way to this war. The plot just feels sloooooow, which is why I find myself not really caring about what happens to these well-crafted characters characters, though I do find them all enjoyable and entertaining.
Entertaining is a good word for this one. There is a scene, somewhat late in the book, involving nobles fighting in an arena. The crowd of onlookers cheers and jeers because they are entertained, but none of them actually give a damn about the outcome of the matches. They just enjoy being entertained. That’s exactly how I feel when I read The Blade Itself. Sounds more harsh than I intend it to, but it is how I currently feel about it. Update incoming once I complete it. Progress score (subject to change by end of the book!) – 3.5/5.
First of all, if you haven’t read Foundryside then you need to. Shorefall picks up approximately 2-3 years after Foundryside, and it wastes no time in getting things moving. I should let you know that I received Shorefall from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Of course, this wouldn’t influence my review at all, and I would have purchased this book regardless because Foundryside was fantastic.
Shorefall is somewhat the opposite of The Blade Itself. The characters are all very well crafted, yes, but the plot is what drives this one. And it is blisteringly fast-paced. The story follows Sancia and her companions, with the focus falling primarily on Sancia and Gregor up to this point in the book. I am about 25% in right now, and am really enjoying this one. Robert Jackson Bennett has crafted probably the most interesting “magic” system I’ve ever read. I’d rather not go into the system itself because learning the system as you read the book is half the fun. I just love how complex the system is and how Bennett manages to explain it in a way that makes it feel entirely believable and real. The story still has that steampunk/heist feel, which was one of my favorite things about Foundryside, and Sancia is still awesome! My favorite thing about this Shorefall, however, is the heavier focus on Gregor. Yes, he was one of the main characters in Foundryside, but Shorefall takes a slightly more intimate look at Gregor and what makes him tick. He’s a fantastic character that I hope to learn more of as this book continues. More to come when I finish reading it! If I had to put a progress score on this, probably a 4.5/5 so far.
This wraps up the update for the week! I am hoping to have The Blade Itself read by midweek next week, and Shorefall will likely be done shortly after. I am going to try to do regular updates like this as I learn how to run a blog. This really isn’t my thing, but I am actually enjoying it quite a bit so far!
Anyways, hope everyone is having a great week! Stay posted for these two reviews! Oh, and I think my next read will be House of Earth and Blood. Anyone have thoughts on this one? Seems to be getting good reviews, and I’ve never read the author so it should be fun.