Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Abercrombie, Joe (The Blade Itself)

Ah. Now I understand why people writing about this series say that it delves into very uncomfortable - bordering on inappropriate - territory, even for the fantasy genre.

Here's an example to illustrate. There is a scene in this book involving family members physically and emotionally abusing other family members. Besides the difficulty of writing about this if you're not fully aware of the psychology surrounding both victim and abuser, it's really, really difficult to read. Abercrombie has set you up to like his flawed main characters, as would any other fantasy writer, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to like this character at all any longer, no matter how Abercrombie spins it. That's pushing this to an uncomfortable place, and frankly, pushing it off the cliff (the cliff being your readers' enjoyment, the valley being when said reader throws the book in the trash bin).

Abercrombie is creating a world that is quite compelling - one that includes magic, but not so pervasive that everyone in the book believes it already. In addition, he's doing his darndest to cut across social classes, which is more difficult than it sounds in this genre. But even though this is a trilogy, if I don't get a vastly different flavor from the next book, I will be cutting bait.

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