The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie Another author in the tradition of Glen Cook & Steven Erikson: There is no Good nor Evil, just people, and even the most heinous Dark Lord had a mother.

Of course, the danger in such a book is that you wind up with utterly unlikable characters and no one to root for. Afterall, you may not have liked Aragorn but you knew that his side was Good; it happens that I've liked most of the characters in Erikson's work but I couldn't condone many of their actions. It's my 2nd gripe with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series: They're either whiny little creeps or just plain dull witted. It'd be a relief for the evil guys to win. (My first gripe is that I'm not sure the world would be better off if the "good guys" won but that goes back to my 2nd gripe that I don't like anyone. Actually, I did like Moiraine but she gets "whacked" in the 2nd or 3rd book, as I recall.)

But back to this tome: Despite the bleak and cynical tone of the book, I did like most of the characters, particularly that of Logen Ninefingers, the "barbarian." Liked them enough so that I'm motivated to find some used copies of the 2nd and 3rd books rather than wait (perhaps forever) for my local libraries to buy copies.