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Last Argument of Kings Unknown Binding – 1 Jan 2008

184 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ISBN-10: 0575077905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575077904
  • ASIN: B001TAP6VS
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,085,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

UK fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie is the author of the First Law Trilogy: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings, as well as the standalone fantasy Best Served Cold.

Joe now lives in Bath with his wife, Lou, and his daughters Grace and Eve. He still occasionally edits concerts and music festivals for TV, but spends most of his time writing edgy yet humorous fantasy novels.

Here are the First Law Trilogy in series order:

The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
The Last Argument of Kings

Standalone:

Best Served Cold

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By GOTTON TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
The Last Argument of Kings really is a difficult book to review.

On the one hand I want to give it the best review I possibly can because, just as with the previous two novels, Joe Abercrombie has produced a well written tale with brilliant characters and an unforgettable world. Throw on top of that the unbelievable number of twists thrown into this novel and I found myself loving every moment of it. Whilst a lot of those twists you will see coming a mile off, they only serve to mask all the other countless twists that will genuinely take you by surprise.

However, on the other hand this book suffers from a hugely unsatisfying ending. There was about a hundred pages to go when I started to suspect that I wouldn't be happy with how things were going to finish. The story was winding down and there were just so many unresolved story lines that I couldn't imagine them all being summed up. The sad fact is that none of them were, at least not to a finality. I finished this book wondering if this really was the end of a trilogy or if maybe it is just a middle book of a series waiting upon the next.

Continuing his trend of brutal writing that kind of hints that there will not be any happy endings for his characters, we are left feeling that no one has come out the happier for the experiences in this novel, save maybe one whom I won't name right now to saving spoiling the ending for those who haven't read it. There was a time when I would have called this kind of writing brave being as we are in a world where most tales finish with a happy ending. However in recent times there have been a large number of these gritty books that aim for a brutal realism that leaves most stories unhappy and the sad trend in them all is that there are no happy endings for anyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Martin Woodrow on 25 July 2014
Format: Paperback
After going through the whole trilogy, and enjoying most of it, I found the ending exceptionally disappointing - in fact it wasn't an ending, more like a never-ending pause. None of the characters stories are tied up and the main 'wizard' of the story who has become more Hitler-like as the story progresses, just walks away into the sunset. There really needs to be another book to tie things up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sjhigbee on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
The golden rule in any character-led story is to make said characters sympathetic so that the reader cares what will happen to them and thus engage fully with the book. Well, Joe Abercrombie trashed that one. His main protagonists are an amoral, power-mad Mage... a hard-bitten warrior whose berserker rages cause him to commit unspeakable acts of barbarity... a drunken, embittered woman who has a love affair because she can't think of anything better to do... the cowardly, arrogant fool she slept with... Oh - did I mention the scheming cripple who tortures innocent people for a living? All these characters' flaws are unflinchingly laid open to our gaze. Laced with a lot of bad language - and if you are squeamish, there are a couple of unpleasantly explicit torture scenes, as well as loads of blood and gore in the fight scenes. Personally, blood and gore doesn't do it for me.

And yet... and yet... I couldn't put the book down! Not only that, my favourite character by a long mile is Superior Glokta, the aforementioned torturer. It's a neat trick to pull off. Abercrombie's vivid prose and masterful character depiction are major reasons why this author can get away it, along with the humour threading through story - desert-dry irony that has you panting for more. The world in all its grimy vividness leaps off the page with the same relish that the Monty Python crew depicted medieval filth in 'Jabberwocky'. Having said that, while Glokta's adventures sometimes teeter on the edge of farce thanks to the wonderful internal musings on his plight, the savage undertow of violence and his constant pain keeps it from becoming too cosy.

Abercrombie's other clever trick, is that despite this being Book Three of the series, I didn't feel I needed to reread Books One and Two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Here's a quote that any fantasy author would want in their inside cover, "the best fantasy trilogy since Lord of the Rings." This is exactly what Joe Abercrombie can now put in his `First Law' trilogy; the unfortunate thing will be that the quote is from a random Amazon reviewer i.e. me. Despite my lowly status I am a keen science fiction and fantasy reader so I believe my opinion still counts and that Abercrombie has created the best set of fantasy books for years. As a threesome `The First Law' is an epic saga, but like all stories, they must come to an end. `The Last Argument of Kings' is in many ways a fitting finale as it has more action and battle sequences than the previous books combined, but it also suffers somewhat from the curse of `the end'.

As a set `The First Law' is a new high mark in low fantasy. Abercrombie's fantasy world is gritty and feels real, magic is replaced by dirt and evil. In many ways `Last Argument' reverses this trend as is the most fantastical yet; magic becomes far more prominent towards the end. The battle sections between mages and wizards etc did not sit comfortable with the 1500 pages of the series beforehand. Previously, magic was hinted at, even seen briefly, but it could always be explained as mysticism. By the end magic is very real and these sequences are amongst the most convoluted and confused in the trilogy.

Issues do not end here. Abercrombie revels in his grimy fantasy world, but the book draws some bleak conclusions. The `good' characters were never likely to prevail more than the `bad' characters, but almost everyone takes such a pounding that you can't help feeling a little deflated. Despite the downbeat nature of the book, it does not detract from how awesome Abercrombie's writing is.
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