|Submitted by PapaJ |
(Oct 11, 2007)
The first thing to note that, although definitely a fantasy novel, the magic/fantastical elements of the universe that Abercrombie creates is (at least in this first novel of the series) is fairly subtle, something like what you would find in George R.R. Martin's earlier books. The second is that, unlike Martin for example, it is not a massively long book filled with broad detailed description of the universe beyond what is absolutely necessary. The result is that the author is confined to creating a story built on character depth and sophisticated yet moving plot rather than sweeping imagination alone.
The net result is a book that is tight, character driven and with characters that are 'believable' and ones that I could identify with easily, yet complex and mysterious. The universe feels expansive yet is without the fluff of detail that bogs down many fantasy novels. It is perhaps it's greatest strength that it has the feel of an epic without the tomb like qualities. Also, it is a lot of fun. There are some great chuckles every now and then thrown in via particular characters and events. This is balanced with well written action scenes and 'drama' elements where character depth is created as well. All round well balanced, tight, quality fantasy fiction.