Friday, 6 August 2010

Listen:// The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie

Published By: Orion Publishing
Buy From:

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.
Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.
And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die hard . . .
. . . especially when Bayaz gets involved. An old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult . . .
Striking debut novel with all the cynicism, realism and punch the fantasy genre has been missing. Read by Steven Pacey.

Been away for a bit but I did have a chance to listen to some more audio. Joe Abercrombie is one of those authors I've been meaning to catch up with but just haven't got around to. I have actually read this book but I never managed to catch the rest of the series or his newer books so I thought I'd start again at the beginning with the newly released audio.

There's probably not much more I can add to the reviews of the actual book, it was and is an impressive debut fantasy novel. If you like your fantasy gritty and full of flawed characters you'll probably like this. It's largely character driven and the characters are all your typical fantasy fare, with heroes, wizards, apprentices and so on yet the darkly humorous, noirish telling means it never slips over into the ridiculous epic fantasy parody that lazier examples of the genre have become.

As for the audio book, well, say one thing about Steven Pacey, say he's a bloody good narrator. The reader can make or break an audiobook and Steven Pacey does and outstanding job on this, creating clear voices and accents for each of the characters and switching between them with apparent ease without any of them being overdone.

One issue common in audiobooks is narration that doesn't tie up with the actual text, so the narrator will read a character line in a plain voice followed by "he hissed" or "he shouted angrily" and it'll be completely wrong and clearly nobody cares enough to edit it. Thankfully here through editing, careful reading or whatever means the delivery ties up really well with the text and took me by surprise in a couple of places. Pacey's lisping delivery of the almost toothless Glokta in particular is excellent and really suits the part, he's my favourite and possibly most flawed character and Pacey's delivery really suits some of those wonderfully sarcastic lines. There's much humour to be had from the book and throughout, Pacey's delivery and timing is excellent with a couple of real laugh out loud moments.

All in all highly recommended, I have the next one lined up for listening right after I get through the thirty something hours of Justin Cronin's The Passage....more on that one soon,