Thursday, September 30, 2010

Exposure: Joe Abercrombie

Mr. Black
Instead of writing a formal review for his First Law trilogy, or for that matter his newest book, Best Served Cold, I'm going to tell you why Joe Abercrombie is the best thing to come to fantasy literature in a long time. Or at least tempt you to checking out some of his work.

Being an avid reader of fantasy for many years, I tend to get picky. Too many authors cover the same ground or have stereotypical characters with no depth. I know fantasy is filled with cliches and sometimes it's hard to avoid the typical "quest" format. I have no problem with the "Lord of the Rings" style narrative, as long as there is something worth reading somewhere in there. That could be clever plot devices, or as simple as character depth. The latter is what Abercrombie excels at.

In Abercrombie's fantasy world, you won't find wizards on every corner, elves, dwarves, or an in-depth explanation of how the system of magic works. What you will find is a gritty and realistic world filled with flawed characters. Hell, you may even feel sorry for the "bad guys" because even they have their own convincing motivation. That is why his writing is so compelling. Even though you can single out who the protagonists and antagonists are, Abercrombie doesn't feel the need to fill them with typical cliches. Everyone has depth to them, even the characters who die. You never feel like someone isn't give enough "screen-time" due to the fact that the author knew he would kill them off eventually anyway.

In a genre filled with long-winded, and politically-stuffed epics like the ones Martin and Jordan (RIP) produce, Abercrombie really is a welcomed addition. The reader never feels like he's trudging through unnecessary crap, but at the same time, you don't feel like you're reading some stale novelization of a D&D campaign setting.

I don't want to get into any of the plots or character, just present the reason why I think anyone who loves fantasy literature should check it out. I guarantee you'll have a good time.

For more information on Joe Abercrombie and to see when his next books are coming out, check out his at

And the best thing is he only have four books out, so you won't have to read through 12 novels just to get up to speed like a lot of fantasy series out there.

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