I am not a critic (and god send that I never become one), and I hate being harsh on writers, but the novel is mediocre at best. Weak plot, flat characters that are anything BUT original, no premise I could detect, and peculiarly, I couldn't (by reading the book) discover what blade the title was referring to. The book has all the typical elements and characters of the fantasy genre without any effort to dress them up or customize them.
But for some reason I went for the second part of the book!!!! ... And then the third!! No not some mysterious indiscernible reason, I know what it was. One character "Inquisitor Glokta" was so original, so brilliantly depicted, his dialogues and thoughts so intense and intriguing that all the flaws of the book can be set aside (if not forgiven). Whenever this character appears, the writing gets brilliant, and the scenes, the dialogue, and even the secondary characters get rich and enjoyable.
Inquisitor Glokta - a broken and deformed torturer - works under a loathsome head of the inquisition, drags confessions and information from prisoners. You have every cause to detest him, but you don't. Maybe because he is truthful, maybe because he has depth and he made the book worth reading, I don't know but for some reason Glokta gets your sympathy and intrigues you to follow him though his own quest. Up until the end of the third book of the trilogy. Indeed, even following him getting up a flight of stairs with his deformed and broken legs and listening to his internal ramblings is rewarding on its own.
Inquisitor Glokta alone and his thread in the plot are not enough to make the book a good book, but is enough to make it worth reading and to make you forgive the author and suspect some latent potential to write brilliant books in the future.