I just finished reading the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie and I have to say this is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time. The term grimdark has been tossed about in recent years as a subgenre of fantasy and, after reading Joe Abercrombie’s books, I now know exactly what the term means. These stories are the very definition of grim and dark. Like Martin’s Game of Thrones series you can never be sure if Mr. Abercrombie’s characters are going to make it to the end of the book, or even to the end of the next chapter. But, he doesn’t just kill off characters. Oh no. They are made to suffer, and suffer, and suffer some more. His characters and plots are never quite what you expect. Mr. Abercrombie has a great talent for turning common fantasy tropes on their head and creating something new and unusual. And, while the prose are often dark and gritty, these stories are also funny and entertaining. They are the perfect balance of levity and despair. Strong, consistent writing with well-rounded, fully dimensional characters in intriguing and usually perilous situations. I look forward to reading more of Joe Abercrombie’s books.