A thoroughly exciting, action filled, violent read that makes you want to jump right in to the next book. “The Blade itself” is the first book in The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie that does away with the usual norms of fantasy books and throws the reader into the world without a map or an appendix. But don’t stress, you won’t be needing either of those as Abercrombie isn’t interested in ancient history lessons. Rather, he wants to get the action just as much as you and ensures there is some in almost every chapter. This is all for the best as while his pace is fast, and his scenes quick, the actual plot doesn’t cover much ground. By the end of the first book, not much has happened and yet it has been a thrilling read. The book can be surmised as Act 1 of a three act story but it is not lacking in any sense. The scenes are graphic, the characters distinct, the setting new albeit reminiscent of western fantasy books. All in all, this is a good fantasy author to feast on in-between some of the heavier epics out there.