Review: Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3) by Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

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 deathbed, 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…

Review

“It can be a terrible curse for a man to get everything he ever dreamed of. If the shining prizes turn out somehow to be empty baubles, he is left without even his dreams for comfort.”

Wow, now that is what I am talking about! The Last Argument of Kings takes the character and plot development of The Blade Itself and the political intrigue and tense action of Before They Are Hanged and blends them into a finale that brings The First Law trilogy to a riveting and satisfying conclusion.

Ever since I read the Shattered Seas trilogy around 2 years ago I have really wanted to get to this series, but it kept getting put off for one reason or another. Thankfully, I finally got it on audiobook and the narrator sucked me in with the quality and atmosphere of his narration of the story. I would like to thank Hachette Audio for the listening copy of this book. Receiving this in no way affected my review.

“Rules are for children. This is war, and in war the only crime is to lose.”

If you are looking for characters that you can root for and a tidy ending where everything is right with the world, this book may not be for you. However, if you like compelling, albeit morally gray and sometimes downright evil characters, a gritty and merciless world, and a plot with a few surprises, check it out.

I don’t want to repeat myself too much from the reviews of the previous books in this series, so I will just say simply that the character development in this book was utterly brilliant once again. Jezal and Glokta especially take the cake in terms of their arcs and personalities, but Collem West, Ferro, Logen, and Dogman all had their moments to shine. Joe Abercrombie is officially a master at crafting characters that are interesting and compelling, even if they aren’t great people.

“People would far rather be handed an easy lie than search for a difficult truth, especially if it suits their own purposes.”

I loved the prose in this book. Abercrombie’s writing style perfectly captures the gritty world of The First Law. While the writing style does have a gritty, almost blunt feel at times, it also manages to capture each POV character’s moral struggles in really interesting and creative ways. Using the inner monologues of Glokta, Logen, and Ferro and the actions and words of Jezal, Dogman, and Collem West, Abercrombie is able to help us picture and understand the unfair and harsh world that he has created.

The plot in this book is paced in a way that kept me glued to the metaphorical pages. Abercrombie strikes a wonderful balance between the action of battles and high stakes political intrigue that had me guessing at each mystery and worrying for our “heroes.”

I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been said already. If you like grimdark fantasy even a little bit, you should absolutely read this series. If you have already read this series, comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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