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Last Argument of Kings (First Law 3) (Bk. 3) (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Joe Abercrombie

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2,048613,255 (4.18)63
Member:enikra
Title:Last Argument of Kings (First Law 3) (Bk. 3)
Authors:Joe Abercrombie
Info:Gollancz (2009), Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie (2008)

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
So satisfying. "No one gets what they deserve." Would love to read a graphic novel of Ferro claiming her vengeance in the South. ( )
  dandelionroots | Aug 26, 2015 |
Wow. No happy ending here. I was expecting one because as far as I know this was the last book of the series. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe a sequel series? Or it could be that Abrocrombie just wants to keep the story realistic and unfair. I feel bad for these characters. And the first of the Magi? I guess I kind of expected that, but still, it was kind of a shock. Usually the great wizards are the good guys. This one is something else. Beware. Good epic fantasy though. I’m looking forward to more of Abercrombie’s work. ( )
  Kassilem | Aug 10, 2015 |
"Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best….Power is only given to those prepared to lower themselves to pick it up" – Ragnar Lothbrook.

Joe has a real talent for disappointing a reader in a way that lures them deeper and deeper into the world he has created as opposed to cutting them off and it's a skill he wields it as well as the Bloody Nine does a sharp edged weapon. We should know better by the third book but you cannot help but get your hopes up as character after character tries to be better than what they have previously been, often finding only disappointment and turmoil when they either achieve their goals or find them torn from them at the very last second. The amount of times I found myself saying “Oh no...just no” is countless and all the more meaningful for the fact that the “Oh YES” moments I could count on one hand. This is a very dark and unfulfilling landscape, punctuated by rare moments of brightness that you cannot help but be elevated by in in the hope it will lead to a lovely wrapped up moment of complete fulfilment. I held that desperate hope that every sacrifice made would turn out to be worthy and actually mean something but sacrifices don’t always mean something and more often the not the difference between one man going into the mud and another was just time and place.

I read the First Law series in just under a month and I have to say that it reads so fantastically well as one complete book that I have to imagine it is better done this way than in three individual instalments. I know many readers would not have had this choice but the whole thing read like such a rollercoaster that I’d have hated to had a year between volumes. Blade Itself felt like an entirely upward climb, the first leg to get to the top, a small dip to deceive you and then a resumption of things building up and up. It did not have the conclusion I wanted but as I was able to jump straight into the next book that did not matter so much. Before they are Hanged starts with a continuation of the ascension with the tension and stakes growing ever higher and than about a third of the way through we hit the first massive downhill and things just go ape shit with twists, turns, corkscrews and moments of weightlessness that thrust us into the middle of Book three. By now we should be down low but for some unfathomable reason we are higher than we ever were and we realise the rush down to the ground is just beginning. The Last Argument of Kings and the way Joe tied up all his threads was a truly impressive feat.

I cared most for the Northmen and so the moments of horror were plentiful as they brutally despatched their enemies, their friends and most sadly each other. Having read Heroes a few years ago, Dogman, Threetrees, Black Dow, Grim and Thunderhead all felt so familiar I at first thought they would all make it. I wish this was the case but Joe does not pull any punches and lets us feel little in the way of straightforward joy. It’s strange that those that say so little can feel like the cruellest loss and leave the biggest hole when they are no longer able to even bear witness.

I genuinely enjoyed the paths of Jezel and Ferro, and by enjoyed I mean I only felt sorry for them for about 90% of the time. Bayaz is a prick I never liked, but, you have to be realistic. Glotka is somehow a hero and a criminal and one of the most divisive characters I have ever encountered. Logan is a testament to the fact the still waters run deep and his journey is the most fleshed out and the most desperate and I simply loved the way his story wound up.

The first book in the series was a 5 star read for me but I have no doubt Joe’s writing improved throughout the series so I wish I could give it a higher recommendation. If you get the chance to have all three books in front of you at once do so. I’ll be taking a break and opening myself up to something a bit lighter before tackling Best Served Cold.

Half the World, the second book in the Shattered Sea series, recently released and you can find my review for it and others at www.areadingmachine.com ( )
  areadingmachine | Jul 6, 2015 |
In general I liked this series and enjoyed this book. Unfortunately, this last book was a little flat. Events went pretty much as you would expect at the end of book two, though the scale of devastation was a bit higher than was really necessary. There is one surprise twist early in the book, but the rest is fairly predictable. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, I still enjoy the characters and the writing, I just felt it could have been a better book. I do think its a worthwhile and somewhat 'new' feeling book. ( )
  Karlstar | Jan 26, 2015 |
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie is the final volume of his First Law Trilogy and this was a excellent ending to this adventurous, bloodthirsty, and extremely riveting story. All the various storylines are merged and resolved bringing both moments of immense satisfaction and a few exclamations of surprise. Of course when I say resolved, I don’t mean that everything has been neatly tied up with a pretty bow. This is not the kind of story that ends neatly or even necessarily happily.

First and foremost the characters that people these books are some of the most sharply drawn, and uniquely original ones that I have read about. The author digs beneath the surface and gives his characters a balance and purpose behind their deeds. The reader comes to know the evil, twisted Glokta, but also gets to see the inside of the man, what formed him, what causes him to act and why. Far from being repulsed by his dark deeds, we understand and at times even root for him. Every character springs from the page, fully formed, well rounded and complete. From the main character of Logen Ninefingers, to secondary ones like Ardee West, each one complete, original and multi-sided.

The answers as to who lives and who dies, who is the ultimate winner and who is pulling all the strings are revealed in this breathtaking, bloody tale of action and intrigue. Last Argument of Kings is an excellently crafted, deeply plotted conclusion to this epic fantasy trilogy. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
The author's "voice" feel and read smooth. The world building and character development is masterful. The character development is so good that they feel like old friends at this point. And then the ending broke my heart! It is "not really" a “happily-ever-after” (HEA). Those characters that the author is so good at creating? Some of them did not have a HEA. But on the other side of the coin, maybe I got so heartbroken because the author is so good at weaving the story that I felt it deeply. Gotta give the author a lot of kudos for that! It gives you pause to wonder though if some of the “good guys” might not really be good and some of the “bad guys” might not really be bad. The whole trilogy is just a long sad tale where I couldn't find much of a meaning to the heros' struggles. Is it even a fight of good versus evil? So at the end of it, what were all their struggles for? All their trials? All their hardships? For what? The answers to those questions were not very satisfying to me as a reader. I also find the writing style using multiple threads to be slow going, annoying and feels discordant to read. So despite the masterful author’s “voice”, I don’t think I would be buying anymore work by this author.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Abercrombieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Preuss, AlexanderCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.—Paul Gauguin
Last Argument of Kings—Inscribed on his cannons by Louis XIV
Does the devil know he is a devil?—Elizabeth Madox Roberts
Dedication
For the Four Readers

You know who you are
First words
Superior Glokta stood in the hall, and waited. He stretched his twisted neck out to one side and then to the other, hearing the familiar clicks, feeling the familiar cords of pain stretching out through the tangled muscles between his shoulder-blades. Why do I do it, when it always hurts me? Why must we test the pain? Tongue the ulcer, rub the blister, pick the scab?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575084162, Paperback)

The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him ' but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It's past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It's a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it. While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law ...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:00 -0400)

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The King of the Union lies on his deathbed, the peasants revolt, and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is about to fall across the heart of the Union. Only the First of the Magi can save the world, but there are risks.… (more)

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