Monday, 12 November 2012

Review: Last Argument of Kings

Last Argument of Kings
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the end everyone gets what they deserve.

A shift of power has come to the Union. The King lies on his deathbed. The nobility scramble for their claim to the throne, as the peasants revolt to snatch their freedoms.

Good men are needed to set right the balance of power. If only Inquisitor Glokta could balance long enough on his crippled legs and stick to relieve himself, let alone tilt the scales in the favour of the many.

Jezal Dan Luthar understands the needs of the many – but he rathers the needs of the few. A few being namely one. Himself. Abandoning his quests for glory and betterment, he turns to love and its pursuit. Though, the pursuit of glory might have been an easier chase after all…

Logen Ninefingers is tired or running, chasing, hiding. As his father said, ‘Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it’. So it’s time to go back to the North, to do one last battle, to face his friends and enemies – and he goes with the greatest of both at his side, for the Bloody Nine goes with him.

In the end a man finds his measure. He set his own rules, and breaks them. But there is no rule more terrible to break than ‘The First Law’ itself…

Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The Last Argument of Kings’ is the finale for his ‘The First Law’ series. ‘The Last Argument of Kings’ is an ending fit for a king.

In ‘The Last Argument of Kings’, everyone gets what they deserve. Our favourite cast of miscreants is thrown to the dogs one last time, fighting for all their worth. In true Abercrombie fashion, the characters kick-bite-gnaw-and-scratch their way through the novel. As a reader, I urged them on, glorying with them in their victories (no matter how slight), and mourning in their losses. It’s an ode to a great storyteller that you want a character to win, and Abercrombie certainly knows how to keep that last triumph just out of reach.

The fight scenes up until this point have been fantastic. Now, they’re epic. Abercrombie zooms in and out of his POV characters, providing a bird’s-eye view of the battles, whilst maintaining empathy for individuals caught in the middle of it all. The line between good and evil is blurred in the mud and the blood of the battle, and we’re reminded that the battles are fought between men, each with their own decisions be they good or bad.

With so many ties strewn about the plot, Abercrombie masterfully weaves them into a masterpiece. Drawing on threads two-books old, the final twists and turns will leave the reader wanting more, even after the satisfactory close.

True to his ‘realistic’ approach, Abercrombie closes the book on several characters’ stories, whilst leaving room for further exploits with others. Though some fans and readers may find this bittersweet, I like it. I mean, just because the words stop doesn’t mean that these characters stop living, does it?

‘The Last Argument of Kings’ is one of the books where you curse yourself because you should’ve seen it coming – but you didn’t. But make sure you don’t miss out by not chancing it a read!

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