If you want more like The First Law by Joe Abercrombie then the list of suggestions we have made is just what you need.
Most of the suggestions are epic fantasy books. Dark and gritty with a fast pace. But there are some exceptions. Some of the epic fantasies are not as dark and gritty, like the Mistborn series, and others are a bit slower and larger, like The Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
We have also found a few suggestions in other mediums, TV-Shows, and anime. Some of those are of course longer out there on the similarity scale.
Murderous conspiracies, old scores ready to be settled, unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters. This is what you will get in The Blade Itself.
In this story, we follow some interesting characters. The infamous barbarian Logen Ninefingers, Captain Jezal dan Luthar, Inquisitor Glokta, and he wizard Bayaz.
Jezal is a nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness. He has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle.
Glokta, a cripple turned torturer, loves cutting treason out of the Union, one confession at a time.
Bayaz is an old man with a terrible temper. He could be the First of the Magi or he could be a spectacular fraud.
Whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.
The World has been a wasteland of ash and mist for over a thousand years. The Lord Ruler of this world, the "Sliver of Infinity", has reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror.
Every revolt against The Lord Ruler has failed miserably.
But then a terribly scarred and heart-broken half-Skaa in the depths of the Lord Ruler`s most hellish prison snapped. His name is Kelsier, and when he snapped he suddenly found himself with the powers of a Mistborn.
A Mistborn can burn all sixteen of the Allomantic metals.
Kelsier is a brilliant thief, con man, and a natural leader. He decided to turn his talents to the ultimate play.
A play with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
For this ultimate play, he recruited the underworld`s elite. The smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom capable of burning one of the Allomantic metals.
Kelsier`s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life.
Vin has the potential to become a Mistborn like Kelsier himself.
Is Mistborn good?
This is the first book in the Mistborn series. Both this book and the rest of the series is really good.
This series has detailed world-building, especially the magic system, and an interesting main character. Sanderson shines on these points. Hi is an excellent epic fantasy author.
If you like fantasy books then Mistborn should be a must-read.
Why is Mistborn recommended?
Mistborn is suitable for a slightly younger audience than The First Law, but it is still mainly written for adults.
But if you like The First Law then it's worth giving Mistborn a try. But it's not as dark and gritty.
Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself.
The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.
Until the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her.
Is Chronicles of the Black Company good?
I have only read the first book, and that is many years ago. I remember liking it, but I was no in a reading mood back then, however, I plan to take this series up again.
Why is Chronicles of the Black Company recommended?
The Black Company is gritty and dark. Its an epic fantasy with war and great characters.
If you like The First Law then you might also like The Black Company. It's worth taking a look at it.
Locke Lamora has a quick wit and a gift for thieving and he is born in the island city of Camorr.
Locke has dodged both death and slavery, but only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains. A man who is neither blind nor a priest, but a con artist of extraordinary talent.
Chains pass his skills on to his carefully selected gang of orphans. A group that is known as the Gentlemen Bastards.
Under Chains guiding hand, Locke grows to lead the Gentlemen Bastards. Together they are pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another.
But Locke is not fully his own man.
A shadowy and ambitious figure known as the Gray King is using him. The Gray King uses Lock and the Gentlemen Bastards as pawns in his play to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup threatening to destroy everyone and everything that he cares for, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own game or die trying.
Why is The Gentleman Bastard recommended?
The Gentleman Bastard is not as good as The First Law. Its also not finished.
But it's a good series that is worth reading.
A Song of Ice and Fire is set in a medieval-like fantasy world. A world where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime.
The characters in this epic story are struggling amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, in the only game that matters, the game of thrones.
In the game of thrones, you either win or you die, there is no middle ground.
Is A Song of Ice and Fire good?
This is an excellent book series.
It is sadly not finished jet. It will probably take decades before it is finished unless the author gets his finger out of his ass.
Why is A Song of Ice and Fire recommended?
A Song of Ice and Fire is longer and not finished. It also follows many more characters. But it is great.
Gardens of the Moon is the first in a long line of thick and excellent books in The Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
They are full of living characters and many plots. This series grows by also including many kingdoms, gods, wizards, and alternate universes.
Its a huge and complicated series, but under all of it, it's all about war. War, conquest, and power-struggle between empires, gods, and men. Battles and tactics make up a huge part of this series.
Is The Malazan Book of the Fallen good?
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is one of the heaviest book series to read in fantasy, but they are truly masterful.
It feels like you are right in the battle together with the characters.
If you like epic fantasy then it's definitely worth reading. But it will take lots of time, and it has lots of characters and events to keep track of.
Roshar is a world of stone and storms.
The Storm-father, an uncanny tempest of incredible power, sweep across the rocky terrain frequently. It has done so as long as anyone can remember.
The Storm-father has shaped ecology and civilization alike with its incredible power.
Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.
In The Way of Kings, the first book of The Stormlight Archive, we follow three main protagonists.
Kaladin, who traded his promising medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother. But only to be twice betrayed by his Brightlord and ends up in slavery.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin, brother of the late king, commander of one of the armies, and follower of The Way of Kings.
And Shallan, who is seeking to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinars niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure.
Is The Stormlight Archive good?
The Stormlight Archive is highly recommended.
The first book in this series is very promising. Sanderson is an excellent and productive author. This series is just like his other books. Excellent worldbuilding, top-notch magic system, and interesting characters.
If you like fantasy books, then this is a must-read.
Kingkiller Chronicle is a first-person story of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen.
From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, and to his years spent as an orphan suer rat in a crime-ridden city. Then to his daring yet successful gamble to enter a legendary school of magic. And then how he learns magic and grows to become the notorious magician he once will become.
Is Kingkiller Chronicle good?
This book starts out a little slow, but it becomes one of the better fantasy books there is.
Kingkiller Chronicle is a must-read for any fantasy book lover.
Sadly it looks like Rothfuss is starting to compete with George RR Martin on who is the slowest.
The people of Alera are bound with furies, elementals of earth, water, air, fire, and metal.
The teenager Tavi stands out from all other people in Alere, he has no furycrafting.
However, Tavi manages to get by with brains and courage, even when everyone else has the power of furies backing them.
When his homeland erupts in chaos, when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies, Tavi's simple furyles courage will turn the tides of war.
Is Codex Alera good?
Furies of Calderon is the first book of Codex Alera, a finished six-book series.
This is an excellent series, and I absolutely recommend people loving fantasy books to read it.
When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…
Is Broken Empire good?
Prince of Thorns is a great book, and Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath is a great anti-hero.
This is a must-read, as long as you are OK with anti-heroes as protagonists.
Azoth started as a guild rat living in the slum. To survive this brutal life he learned to judge people quickly and to take calculated risks.
Risks like selling his soul to the devil, Durzo Blint, the most accomplished assassin there is. Azoth did this in order to protect his friends Jaral and Doll-girl.
To be accepted by Durzo Blint, Azoth had to turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name.
Now known as Kylar Stern, Azoth must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics.
Is The Night Angel Trilogy good?
The Way of Shadows is the first book in the Night Angel Trilogy. Its an excellent series.
The hours just fly by as we live the life of Kylar Stern.
Yagami Light is a 17-year-old genius from Japan.
One day he stumbles upon a notebook with the words "Death Note" written on the front. Unbeknownst to Light, this book used to belong to a Shinigami called Ryuk.
Shinigami are Death Gods.
The first sentence in this book states that anyone whose name is written inside will die.
Light falls for his all too human curiosity, and try to write in the book. Discovering that those whom he writes into the book actually dies, Light decides to use this power to change the world.
Light will change the world in his image and become God of the New World.
Light soon meats resistance from another genius known as L. He is working against Light's beliefs and Light himself.
Is Death Note good?
Death Note is a really good anime.
This might be a good starting point if you never have watched animes before. If you have experience with animes then you probably already have watched this show.
Why is Death Note recommended?
Death Note is kind of different. It's modern, and an anime.
But if you like The First Law and think the Death Note description is interesting, then you should check it out. It's a very good anime.
In a world that humans must share with Yoma, demonic predators who feast on human intestines, we follow a young boy, Raki, who has lost everything to the Yomas. He joins up with Clare, a slightly older girl, and a Claymore.
Claymores are half human and half Yoma.
Claymores are detested by most humans, but they are necessary. They are the only force that stands between them and getting their intestines eaten.
Clare and Raki travel together around on missions set by the Claymore leaders to take care of Yoma infestations. Clare is considered an outcast by her own people for picking up a young boy and for almost losing herself to her Youma side.
Is Claymore good?
Claymore is a really good anime.
Its a brutal story about revenge, growing stronger and mentoring others. It has characters that grow and change, and best of all, it does not have battles that drag on for ages like so many shonen based anime does.
Claymore might also be interesting for people that usually do not watch anime, especially if you like strong female characters.
King Andragoras III of the Kingdom of Pars has dragged the kingdom into a war with its neighboring empire, Lusitania. Prince Arslan ventures out on the battlefield for the first time to prove his valor.
But then the King is betrayed. One of his closest advisors worked Lusitania behind his back, and now the capital is under siege.
Arslan finds himself on the run from Lusitania. He has to set out on a journey to find allies to help him take back his home.
Dexter Morgan, by day a blood spatter pattern expert for the Miami Metro police department, but by night he becomes a brutal serial killer.
Dexter, Like most serial killers, only kills people who fit a very specific profile. He follows a "moral code" taught to him by his late father Harry, he only kills violent criminals that slip between lady justice`s fingers.
Dexter is grappling with fitting into society, while at the same time, he struggles with his inability to feel emotion.
Is Dexter good?
Each season of Dexter is made up of a story that starts at episode one and ends at the season finale. But there is also good continuity between seasons.
It is strange how the writers manage to get you to root for a serial killer.
Why is Dexter recommended?
Dexter is kind of a long shot suggestion. We can't find any direct similarities, but we still think it should be a suggestion.
But it's not a suggestion for something more of the same. Its a suggestion for something different that you probably will like if you like The First Law.
Penny Dreadful follows some unique characters and some figures from classic literature. Dorian Gray, and Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are some of these characters.
We follow these characters as they go about their frightening business in the darkest corners of Victorian London. With vampires, evil spirits and immortal beasts.
Penny Dreadful is a psychological thriller filled with dark mystery and chilling suspense.
Is Penny Dreadful good?
Perfect atmosphere, dense, Gothic, surreal and unsettling. A really grim and fantastic depiction of Victorian London.
Some characters are predictable and dull, but many are unique and interesting with literate and dense dialog. And best of all, it has very few cheap jumps scares.
Penny Dreadful is absolutely worth watching. I love it.
Why is Penny Dreadful recommended?
Penny Dreadful is not set in medieval times but in Victorian London. It also focuses more on monsters.
But its an excellent dark and gritty show. You will probably like it if you like First Law and stories like it.
The Witcher follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining witchers.
Witchers are humans that are magically altered to make them better at fighting magical monsters.
Geralt is a Witcher and a solitary monster hunter. He has to traverse a world where people often are more wicked and brutal than the monsters and beast he was made to hunt.
In the midst of brutal changes on the continent, Geralt's life is forcefully changed by destiny. His fate is tightly intertwined with two other people. A powerful sorceress and a young princess with a special gift.
The Witcher is base on a series with the same name by the Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski.
An excellent game series is also based on his books.
Is The Witcher good?
The witcher is a top-notch show from Netflix.
I relay hope they keep it alive for many seasons.
Season one was a little confusing with different stories on different timelines, but as soon as I got what was happening it was ok.
Henry Cavill does an excellent job as Geralt, a perfect match. And the show has some of the better sword fighting scenes than I have ever seen on a TV show.
The Witcher is a must watch show on Netflix
Similar recommendations if you like The Blade Itself (The First Law #1):
- Mistborn (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson
- The Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company #1) by Glen Cook
- The Lies of Locke Lamora (The Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
- A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin
- Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson
- The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
- Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
- Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher
- Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence
- The Way of Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy #1) by Brent Weeks