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Last Argument of Kings (First Law: Book Three) Paperback – September 23, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
The sword & sorcery trilogy that began with The Blade Itself (2007) and Before They Are Hanged (2008) comes to a violent, sardonic and brilliant conclusion. The shaky Union, menaced simultaneously by rampaging Northmen and by Gurkish invaders from the south, now must contend with intrigue and treachery in its capital, Adua. Summoned to play parts in a devastating confrontation between magical forces, conscience-ridden berserker Logen Ninefingers and honest, weary Union commander Colonel West come down from the north to meet painfully self-aware torturer Glokta, revenge-obsessed female warrior Ferro, pliable young adventurer Jezal and scheming, unscrupulous mage Bayaz. All these people are believable, especially as they dabble in grimly convincing magic and struggle to hear their consciences through the roar of carnage and betrayal. Abercrombie is a fresh new talent, presenting a dark view of life with wit and zest, and readers will mourn the end of this vivid story arc. (Sept.)
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"Abercrombie is a fresh new talent, presenting a dark view of life with wit and zest, and readers will mourn the end of this vivid story arc."
"You should always end with the best... Last Argument of Kings is the textbook example of this theory in practice. The third in Joe Abercrombie’s debut fantasy series, The First Law, reveals everything a finale should: conveys some answers, ties together the loose ends from various plot strands, knocks over pieces painstakingly set up in the preceding stories, and in the aftermath delivers the character development that surprises as well as delights. This series was always a swords-and-sorcery sequence that rejected the overwrought Tolkienesque myth building in favor of wry dialogue and tough, interweaving plotlines. Although it’s never a comedy, the author’s tongue lurks inside his cheek as he re-energizes the fantasy staples. "
Top customer reviews
The rising action begins about a third of the way through and never really tapers off. Battles, duels and remarkable events eventually wrap up, but dramatic tension persists until the very last page. Regardless of how you feel about the characters and the specific endings they achieve, there can be no arguing that each character arc is suitably finished. Not all survive. Some are rewarded. Some are punished. Others merely go on. What made the book so eminently enjoyable was the fact that it didn't end with the last big battle or combat sequence. Instead, a non-trivial portion of the book is spent detailing the aftermath of the world-changing events (arguably considered the 'climax' of the main story). This post-mortem examination of the world and it's impact on the remaining characters was entirely welcome and most refreshing.
TLDR: Normally, a 600+ page book would take me 10 or 12 days to read. I finished this one in 4. Two thumbs up, all day long.
“First it is done to us, then we do it to others, then we order it done. Such is the way of things.”
“Banks,” grunted Marovia. “They are made of air. They spin money out of guesses, and lies, and promises. Secrets are their currency, even more than gold.”
“I did a good thing, and so, of course, there is a price to be paid.”
“It can be a fearsome weapon, patience. One that few men ever learn to use.”
“Cleverness is no guarantee of sensible behavior.”
Do not read this book at night if you want to go to sleep.
I was so taken by the whole series and the author that I went out and bought his first book in the "World of the First Law" series called "Best Served Cold". And I paid $10 for it. I never do that. Only the daily kindle deals. But this guy, Abercrombie is incredible.
I have not read battle scenes that are in this book since I was reading Bernard Conrwell's The Saxon Tales Series.
I have devoured this series in the span of a few weeks and loved just about every bit of it. The character development is masterful. Scenes are crisp and well paced. Abercrombie gives us characters we care about, root for, and connect with.
Dat ending tho.
As many other reviews have pointed out, the ending was lacking. Not lacking in action (there was plenty of that). Not lacking in great writing and vivid scenes. But lacking in closure. And let me tell you: I didn't realize how important closure was and the ending of series until I was confronted with its absence.
It means quite a bit. So much in fact, that the lack of a suitable ending taints the view of the ENTIRE series. Read the other reviews -- this sentiment seems commonplace. The reader needs a complete and clear understanding of just how the characters he/she grew to love over the course of the pages turned out. The reader doesn't need: "This person walked off into the darkness." "This person fell off a cliff."
The reader wants: "This star-crossed couple found each other against all odds, settled down, and raised a family by the beach.". Something we can rest our minds on. A closed circle. Completeness. It doesn't necessarily have to be happy, just complete. If the author wants to bring these characters into the spotlight again, well -- it shouldn't be too hard. (Especially for this author in particular.)
I recommend the series without reservation. It's the best fantasy you will have read in a long time. Just go into it eyes open knowing that you won't get a clear resolution for some of your favorite characters.