The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

 4.26  ·   Rating details ·  74,076 Ratings  ·  2,888 Reviews
The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie download or read it online for free here
The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings
by Joe Abercrombie
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...
This story is a trilogy, so if you haven't read one, this are the links to the other books:


Because, even after the first two volumes, every character will STILL surprise you. Because Glokta is the best fantasy character I've found since Tyrion Lannister. Because Logen is a mushroom-cloud-laying motherfucker. Because you should've seen it coming but you didn't. You really didn't.

Because even "gritty" fantasy writers are usually afraid to go this far against expectations. Because you will laugh. You will get angry. Because you will hate the ending. Because the ending is perfect. Because the last surprise is on the last page.

Because every combat sequence is spot on. Because every character's actions are spot on. (Despite the fact that we sometimes don't need quite as much explanation as we get.) Because we need more fantasy authors willing to give people like Terry Brooks, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman and Robert Jordan a really good wedgie. (Giving dead people wedgies might be in bad taste, but it's occasionally necessary.)

Because worlds with swords and sorcerers are boring when they're perfect. Because people are boring when they're perfect. Because perfect things are boring. Because this series is totally not boring. Because in some ways Abercrombie's series works better than A Song of Ice and Fire (in some ways, just some, not all of them, please put down those rocks).

Because it's time to read something entirely made out of awesome. Because this is it. Because. Just because.

"Say one thing for Last Argument of Kings, say it's dark fantasy at its best" Logen's father said. After finishing the book and the trilogy, I decided to give this book a rating of 5 stars. Why? well, as Logen Ninefingers always said "you have to be realistic about these things."

Last Argument of Kings is the conclusion to the First Law Trilogy and it completely delivered on all aspect of great quality dark fantasy. It provides a fitting ending to the trilogy, it's dark, funny, bloody, oh yes it's really bloody, intense and packed with fast paced actions. Out of 670 pages around 300 pages are filled with war, death, and Abercrombie wrote it in a way that we, the reader feels we are truly in the middle of all the chaos and mayhem with all the characters. Actions scenes, torture scenes are all vivid although sometimes there is way too much details into some unnecessary stuff imo. However, it doesn't change the fact that Abercrombie really pay attention to details and gave one heck of a fine trilogy into the literature world.

Joe Abercrombie will now be included into one my favorite author lists along with Brandon Sanderson, and at the same time along with Mistborn trilogy, these trilogy are going to my favorite shelves. Any fans of dark fantasy and Song of Ice & Fire series will definitely have a blast with this series like I am. Thank you for reading my reviews and thoughts on this book!

Side note:
-Obviously this book is not for kids, "you have to be realistic about this" unless you want your kids to be a torturer or some kid who goes rampage on their lego and screamed he is the Bloody-Nine.
-The Bloody-Nine is probably one of the most badass characters I've ever had the chance to encounter in fiction worlds. (Not literally of course, otherwise.. you know, I'll be dead.)
-"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” - Ramsay Bolton

The end of this series is a cleverly crude mirroring of it’s opening, and it’s just so damn hilarious. I’m saying no more regarding that, but Abercrombie never fails to make me laugh. Logan Nine-fingers is such a great character; he really is one of the strongest aspects of this series.

His wise courage allowed him to defeat the impossible. Only he would have survived such an ordeal. Abercrombie sure knows how to write an excellent battle sequence, but the one on one combat at the end of the book a whole new level of gripping. It was tense. It was exciting. And it felt like it could have gone either way. Every stroke of the sword was vital. One wrong move and it was over. The odds were against Logan; he faced a terrible foe, but Logan is a survivor. He has been through so much in his life, and he will continue to face his enemies until he falls. He is unshakable.

His proficiency for killing grants him a new beginning by the end. He is in a position where he could go anywhere and be anyone. It will be interesting to see how far the character goes in the future. Now I’ve of course read Red Country but I want to see Logan after that. I hope one day that we finally get to see his end, whatever that may be. I think we need to because at the moment Logan’s story is far from over. An origin story would also be quite good. We know the basics of where he came from, but to read about it all would be great.

Strong endings all round

Now I’ve just been babbling about Logan so far, though he is not the only great character in this series. Sand dan Glokta stands amongst my favourite characters in all fantasy fiction. He is on par with Tyrion Lannister in his wit, cynicism and intelligence. He is the unsung hero. He is the cripple; the man twisted with rage and despair, but he also pulls through it and continues to serve his country despite his many personal daemons. He finally gets his due, one deserved and one justified.

As I said with Logan, I would love to see a reprisal of this character. His newest novels (The Shattered Sea trilogy) whist in themselves quite good, simply are not on par with his first trilogy. The tone isn’t the same. The story is no where near as good. So I think a return to this world is in order.

The last book in Abercrombie’s dark fantasy trilogy. Done. Dusted.

It’s going to be a while before I’ve properly assimilated everything that happened over the course of the series. It’s quite something, and it’s well worth your time if you enjoy genre fiction.

Last Argument of Kings – thoughts

Strange and painful events seemed to follow in his wake like stray dogs barking behind the butcher’s wagon.

Like I mentioned in one of my earlier reviews, it isn’t clear whether this wants to be (dark) heroic or (dark) high fantasy. It does contain elements of both; It’s very, very violent and bloody at times, but it also has moments of hush and awe. As expected, the action sequences are spectacularly impressive, especially any featuring Logen Ninefingers, or more particularly, The Bloody Nine.

[He] stood still and caught his breath, the sword hanging down by his side, the grip cold and wet in his clenched fist. He’d never been much of a one for moving until it was time.
“Best tell me your name, while you still got breath in you. I like to know who I’ve killed.”

I’d be hard pressed to select just one word to describe Abercrombie’s writing, but something that did spring to mind was “immediate”. There is an intimacy and urgency to the prose that pulls the reader in, kicking and screaming, for better or worse, until everything is played out. At almost 700 pages in pretty small print this is no light read, and yet it’s over before you know it.

The characterisation in this story and in this entry in particular, is extraordinary beyond my ability to describe. The POV characters are fairly ambiguous for the most part and you’re never quite sure just who is going to carry the day as the biggest bastard, or beloved, of the series. I think, though, that I’m not alone in being partial to master Ninefingers, who is easily one of the most bad-ass and provocative anti-heroes to grace (if you could call it that) the pages of a book.

It meant nothing to [the Bloody Nine] who men were, or what they had done. He was the Great Leveller, and all men were equal before him. His only care was to turn the living into the dead, and it was past time for the good work to begin.

A word of honour has to go to Inquisitor Glokta, whose inner musings are a delight and whose story is rife with intrigue and delivers the most surprises.

It always amazes me, how swiftly problems can be solved, once you start cutting things off people.

As with the previous books, there is a lot going on, mostly concerned with warfare. Siege, battle, bloodbath, siege: wash, rinse, repeat. Despite that, it remains a fascinating story that manages not to be overshadowed by the mayhem. The (extended) ending is likely the portion that readers will quibble over the most, but it’s a fantastic achievement all in all. Great stuff all round.

In a recent review of a different book I made a comment regarding the use of (crude) expletives during certain, um, scenes of intimacy. The same thing happens here, but it didn’t seem so out of place at all. This either makes me the biggest hypocrite in the universe, or this is just that good a book.

You have to be realistic about these things. 

"Book 3, the final one! We're almost there!"
"Yes, Sir, Mr.Abercrombie."
"So, let's see. We casted characters already and invented plots. What needs to be done now."
"Perhaps an ending?"
"Really? Aren't you enjoying my fabulous characters?"
"Of course, but you know, a good story needs an ending."
"Did Robert Jordan knew that? Does Martin think so?"
"Well, I'm not sure..."
"And they sold way more books than I did."
"Hm, this is true. But weren't you going somewhere with the story?"
"You're right, but maybe that's not the point of a story."
"Really? I'm confused."
"There is a lot of rothfuss lately on the internet about stories within stories about storytelling without telling a story."
"And people like that?"
"Apparently a huge kvothient of the peer group does. Maybe I should write something like that."
"A little late for that now, ain't it, boos?
"Well, what else is successful?"
"Star Wars, boss."
"That's an idea, finishing a trilogy and then living on it, creating tons of follow-up stuff and Merchandising. Maybe we even get Natalie Portman to play a role in a crappy prequel."
"Natalie Portman is mentioned quite often in book reviews lately, isn't she, boos?"
"Makes you suspicious, doesn't it?"
"So, we're still in need of an ending. Was way easier with the brginning."
"That's it!"
"What's it, Sir, Mr. Abercrombie?"
"We don't need an ending, we need a beginning."

And thus the third book in Abercrombie's First Law trilogy ends with an epilogue chapter called "The beginning".

This book lived up to its predecessors from end to beginning and has a few surprises for the reader.

As always, the characters are well executed and outshine the other elements of Abercrombie's writing.
So, if you're a reader for whom characters are the most important part of a book, you can easily add a 5th star to the rating.

All in all the series is a fun ride that cleverly plays with a lot of fantasy tropes and likes to turn them on their heads.

If I wanted to be really picky, I could tell you that the world-building lacked a bit for my taste and that I personally had preferred it to have a few better developed antagonists from the Ghurkish side, but that's not really what the book wants to be good at.

So, I would highly recommend it to everyone, who's not afraid of a bleak world and cruel events.
I'm definately delving back into the First Law universe with the three standalones, but most likely not right away.

"Mr. Abercrombie, sir?"
"About these Northmen..."
"What about them?"
"There's more of them now. Here's a little girl with a huge hammer..."
"Well...I'll think of something."

This is the conclusion of a grimdark fantasy trilogy. At this point practically everything I can say about the plot will be full of spoilers, so the most generic description will have to do. A war is raging in the north between Union and united barbarians. Another war is about to start in the south: people led by powerful and practically indestructible flesh-eaters quietly prepare to conquer Union - unless the northern barbarians do it first. Everything seems to be lost, but some powerful people still have some cards to play (very weak ones I might add).

This is the book to which I can finally give 5 stars without any doubt. The writing quality is still top-notch, the characters remain interesting and some of the weak ones from previous books finally developed into real 3-dimensional ones. There were enough plot twists in the book to keep me interested in reading throughout the whole book and I did not see quite a few of them coming. The power play behind the scene is revealed at last with some very much unexpected shadow puppet musters.

Speaking about the whole trilogy: is it worth reading? The answer is definite yes with some minor reservations. This is a grimdark fantasy, have no doubts about it. For the most part it successfully avoids being too bloody and macabre, but do not expect it to be shiny happy read: it is not. There are plenty of gruesome moments in there: consider the fact that one of the main characters is an Inquisitor whose job is exactly what you would expect from one and who happens to be very efficient at what he does - it is impossible to avoid very dark moments.

The first book really takes its time to set up the board and the game pieces - while it is not boring at all, much more excitement starts from the second one onward. You will also get much better understanding of the whole picture after the first book.

My final recommendation: definitely read the trilogy, but beware of its dark nature; if dark fantasy is not what you like, avoid it even if this is one of the best examples of this particular sub-genre. The writing quality is excellent, the characters and their development are very good, and some of one-liners are outstanding.

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