Last Argument of Kings Book Review

Title: Last Argument of Kings
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2008
Pages: 603
Goodreads Rating: 4.27
Rating: 8/10

“You have got to be realistic about these things.”

In Last Argument of Kings, we finish up the grimdark trilogy with Jezal, Glokta, Logan, Ferro, and Bayaz. The dangerous journey to the edge of the world is complete and the time to fight against the Northerns and the Gurkish is upon them. Who will survive until the very end? Who knows… because Abercrombie pulls no punches. 

Pros:

Great plot twists
Last Argument of Kings had some truly amazing plot twists – probably the best in the trilogy. Some I could see coming and others completely caught me off guard. From backstabbing to political intrigue, this book is sure to provide some jaw-dropping moments. I go into more detail for one in particular in the next section. 

Mysterious enemy that keeps you guessing 
One of my favorite parts in a book (when it is well done) is when there’s a mysterious enemy that uses a messenger to deliver their demands. This enemy in Last Argument of Kings had me guessing the entire time at who it was and what was driving him or her. The mystery is solved by the end of the book and let’s just say… I didn’t see it coming! 

Full of fantasy tropes – grimdark style 
You’ll find plenty of fantasy tropes in The First Law trilogy… and all of them are very well done. Listing them all out gives too much away… but some of the safe ones to share include the quest, a wise mentor, a powerful artifact, and the waiting ancient evil. Yet they all have a nice twist to them because of Abercrombie’s grimdark approach.  

Cons:

Lack of happy endings
I suppose I should have been more prepared for this ending considering that The First Law trilogy is a grimdark fantasy series. There were no happy endings. Well… except for perhaps one character. Knowing that Glokta is a physically broken man and that there’s no miraculous healing for that level of trauma, he certainly ends up in a better situation than how he starts off. Without spoiling anything, Glokta’s part reminds me of the saying, “love the one you’re with”. 

Incomplete Ending… with a cliffhanger
At the end of the book, some parts of the story didn’t get resolved, were not addressed or were left wide open. It feels like there should be a 4th book or novella to fully complete the storyline. For example, Glokta dealt with an existential question throughout the entire trilogy and by the end of the story, he still doesn’t appear to be able to answer the question that he keeps asking himself. On top of the incomplete ending, Abercrombie ends the story with a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger at the end of the 3rd book in a trilogy… not my favorite way to finish a series. 

Overall… 

The First Law trilogy was absolutely phenomenal! My personal favorite was the second book, Before They Are Hanged. The characters, storyline, battles, political intrigue, and magic were all extremely well done. If you are a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, you should check out this trilogy. 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

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