Saturday, April 5, 2008

Joe Abercrombie – Last Argument of Kings (Thrinidir's Book Review)

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Foremost, this is not a double post. The review below was written by my colleague BlindMan and here you are about to read my thoughts on the book. I'm not trying to oppose him or sway you to agree with my views; all this is, is just an alternative side to the story....
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A prime example of a world full of bitter, cynical, world-weary, Machiavellian...you probably see where I’m going?
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Mr. Abercrombie managed to become the most reviewed and talked about fantasy author on the internet chat rooms, blogs, review sites and other related web-pages since his debut effort “The Blade Itself” merely two years ago. I’ll go about this review in good faith that you are already familiar with his first two book in “The First Law” trilogy or that you’ve at least heard or read about Joe Abercrombie – if not, than you can read Trin’s review of “Before They Are Hanged” (the second book of the trilogy) or my article, which I wrote in anticipation of the upcoming release of “Last Argument of Kings”. That being said let me continue with the review.
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Last Argument of Kings” is the third and final book of “The First Law” series; and what a majestic conclusion it is! The last third of the book is one of the crispiest, refreshing and mind-blowing endings I’ve been privileged to read…ever. But before the gist of this review, let me recap the story briefly (argumentably without much spoiler material).
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---Logen Ninefingers rejoins his friends in the bloody northern campaign set against Bethod – the self proclaimed King of Northmen, after the failed quest for “The Seed” he partook with Bayaz venturing into the furthest reaches of the World. Dogman, Thunderhead, Black Dow, Grim Harding and the rest of the stoic Northmen have some tough battles ahead of them and even hardest lessons to learn. The Union loses its king just before the impeding Gurkish invasion with Mamun, the first apprentice of Prophet Khalul, and his hundred Eaters at the fore. Jezal dan Luthar finds himself stretched between his affliction for Ardee West and his new acquired position. The misshapen Superior Glokta dan Sand has only his guile to keep his head from rolling of his shoulders while juggling several conflicting loyalties he finds himself trapped into. The good mentor Bayaz, First of the Magi, searches for every available means to stand against Mamun and his Eaters. Ferro’s heart remains set on vengeance and its not due to change soon. Last but not least, Major West finds himself in charge of the Union army in the North after the unfortunate demise of Lord Marshal Burr.
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This novel remains epic fantasy to its core, but what a delightfully twisted core it is. Expect the unexpected and bear this in mind – nobody turns out what he appeared to be in the beginning. There are some surprisingly torturous conversions and new revelations along the way, especially when concerning our main protagonists. Logen and the Northmen shine the brightest for the better part of the book. I have to admit that I found the happening in Adua uninteresting at times and some of the chapters concentrating on Jezal, Ferro, Bayaz and even Glokta surprisingly dull and repetitive. Glokta, my personal favorite, wearied me down with his constant and peevish whimpering which actually lost its humorous dark edge for a while. But this all changes drastically when Abercrombie starts to knot the loose threads together in a grand finale. This occurs when the gist of action moves from the North into Adua, where the final cards are played out. Glokta, I’m delighted to say, has some hidden aces up his crooked sleeve, so my irritation and fears were laid to a serene rest.
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Last Argument of Kings” is not made of diamonds, but it can have its worth measured out in solid gold. If I had a few reservations about the book well into the second half of its length the ending chapters blew them all to dust. The plot is pretty straightforward and the writing quite brash in its simplicity, but that does not detract from novels worth as it gives Abercrombie ample opportunity to polish his other qualities and he succeeds at that with flying colors. I’ll say this though, if you found “The Blade Itself” or even “Before They Are Hanged” not to your liking then stay away from this one – in essence nothing really changes, it only brings gloss to what went before.
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Mr. Abercrombie…Evil Fruitcake (our mascot) approves heartily.
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(4 out of five or a wand-length short of almost perfect - and we are talking a bout a smallish wand)
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~ ThRiNiDiR ~

3 Comments:

argon said...

I'd love to say: great review too, BUT I haven't read it! :-P
I mean, I can't. I don't want to spoil my reading. So I closed my eyes and saved it for later, haha. :-P

Yes, I'm a bit nuts, like nutscake, same league with fruitcake, haha :-P

Trin said...

is it 4 or 4,5? ;)

ThRiNiDiR said...

has been taken care of, tnx :)

 

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