Reviewlet: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

No spoilers here as, amongst other people, Zoso hasn’t had a chance to read it yet.

I’ve just finished reading the third book of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. The entire series has been an astonishingly enjoyable read from start to finish. There’s plenty to talk about and I hope to craft a more substantial discussion later on, once more people have had a chance to read it. However, if you’re looking for a new fantasy author to try, I couldn’t recommend Joe Abercrombie highly enough.

This is, however, a reviewlet, so how to describe the book without giving things away? Well, Abercrombie helps with that too (the man thinks of everything), by having one of his characters provide a small description of what the book is not:

‘I’ve been trying to get through this damn book again.’ Ardee slapped at the heavy volume lying open, face down, on a chair.
The Fall of the Master Maker,’ muttered Glokta. ‘That rubbish? All magic and valour, no? I couldn’t get through the first one.’
‘I can sympathise. I’m onto the third and it doesn’t get any easier. Too many damn wizards. I get them mixed up one with another. It’s all battles and endless bloody journeys, here to there and back again. If I so much as glimpse another map, I swear I’ll kill myself.’

In the First Law trilogy there are wizards, but not too many; there is but one traditional heroic journey, and although it is bloody, it is not endless; there is little magic, but also little valour; and there are no maps.

Joe Abercrombie has taken many of the best parts of Tokien’s work and turned it on its head, creating an audacious adult fantasy work that would be better suited to the direction of Quentin Tarantino than Peter Jackson if it was ever adapted for film (one can only hope).

As I mentioned earlier, I hope for further discussion in future posts, but for now take this as one highly recommended trilogy.