The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie

Not one for the younger set, I'll say.

Is there a sympathetic character in the lot?  It's possible, but look what we've go to choose from.  Glokta is be a merciless, pitiless torturer, even when he knows his prisoner is innocent.  Jezal is a self-centered, womanizing party-boy (and above average fencer).  Logen Ninefingers is an unstoppable barbarian killer who wishes he never picked up a sword, but does anyway.  Not many of the other characters fare much better in the redeeming quality department.

Whatever the case, The Blade Itself and the First Law series of which it is the first part is a fun read.  All of the characters have some degree of wit to them, and if they aren't funny outright, at least they are clever.

It's hard to put together the plot of the series, though.  Know that you won't really know what;s going on at all until the whole thing wraps up.  Nothing really becomes clear until the end.  There is a war in the North, a brewing invasion somewhere to the south, and the King is sick and dying with to idiot sons posed to take the throne.  Trouble is a-brewin' in the capital, so Questions Must Be Asked.  Beyond that, I can't say much more without giving it all away.

I'll say again, though: not one for the younger set.  It's bloody, violent, and mature.  But for older teens, it's fun and compelling.
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