Guest Post Review: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercombie (Reviewed by Jevon Knight)

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Jevon Knights is a sci-fi/fantasy writer and blogger who wants to entertain with amazing stories and enlighten with great content. He posts science fiction fantasy topics on his blog, Knights Writes, and invites you to download his collection of short stories “the Knights Scroll” for free.

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 Last Argument of Kings (The First Law book 3) Review

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The war with Angland is not going well for the Union. With soldiers, Shanka, and Fenris the Feared, King Bethod has shown just how powerful his army truly is. But the Bloody-Nine just might be great enough to turn things around. Back in Adua, the Closed Council believes they are safe from the Gurkish by a vast open sea. They will soon learn that their biggest concern is, not electing a new King but, to protect the city and their very lives.

The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie concludes the First Law triology with tons of action and intriguing characters, but leaves you still yearning for answers to basic plot questions.

The Story and World

Glokta is back home in Adua, having failed in his attempt to secure the city of Dagoska in Gurkhul. He’s not worried about a Gurkish invasion. No one is. After all, the Gurkish are not sailors. They do not have the means to cross the sea.

Instead, he sets out to his new task assigned by Superior Sult: rigging the election. With the King dead, along with his two sons, there are no heirs so the nobles much elect a new leader, or so everyone believes.

That’s where Bayaz, first of the Magi, comes in. He knows that the King has many bastard sons, and he has a plan, orchestrated since the beginning, just in case the city came to this. And at the very center of his plan is none other than Jezal. Bayaz must act fast for he hasn’t forgotten the Gurkish army, the prophet Khalul, and the Thousand Words. They will be here soon, putting the entire city in danger.

But Jezal is no longer a selfish noble. All he wants now is to confess his love to Ardee and spend his life with her. Bayaz makes this exceedingly difficult and presents another option that Jezal finds just as bitter as the war: surviving a lifetime with the Jewel of Talins, Princess Terez.

Logen reluctantly parts ways with Ferro. All she cares about is revenge against the Gurkish. She wants to kill them all, or as many as possible, leaving Logen with nothing left but to go back to Angland and settle a score with Bethod. The Dogman and his band welcome him with open-arms, something he doesn’t expect, but appreciates. And West knows he needs all the help he can get to defeat King Bethod and his army, for along with the brutish Northmen, they must fight the Shanka, and the ultimate Champion Fenris the Feared.

This final book of the First Law trilogy allows for a lot more action than the previous two. There are two wars to follow, with strong enemies like Fenris the Feared in one, and the Thousand Words in the other. The plot twists several times and there are unpredictable moments that make you gasp. The story progresses nicely and doesn’t feel unnecessarily long like book one, even at 536 pages.

The settings switch between the city Adua, and the villages and forests of Angland. Joe doesn’t bother diving into describing Adua in detail, probably because he already did such a great job in book one, and Angland is nothing more than cold wilderness. This book is more about story than amazing scenery.

Joe’s writing is consistently great. I love the way he tells the story and always reminds us of the settings. If you’re like me and you’re not a fan of all the “arghs” and “urghs” then by now you’ll be used to it.

I didn’t like that all the mysteries weren’t resolved. While Bayaz reveals much of his past throughout the story, I still wanted to learn more about what really happened a thousand years ago. And it’s disappointing that we never see the Emperor Uthman-ul-Dosht or the prophet Khalul. We hear these names mention so many times throughout all three books, yet we have no idea who they are or what they want.

Even Bethod feels like a shallow character. As King of the tough Northmen, he should have put up much more of a fight instead of leaving everything up to his champion. And his sons are noticeably absent. I’m guessing that these missing villains will play greater rolls in other books in the same world.

And then there’s another awkward sex scene. Come on, Joe, are they really necessary?

The Characters

The characters really come together to assist the overall problem in this last book. Glokta’s cynical thoughts continue to describe his experiences in a way that makes you laugh, but the writing style feels worn out over the entire story. Still, there are scenes where you know Glokta is going to handle things, and he does not disappoint.

Jezal’s turn of events keeps you hooked and there are times his story gets comical as Bayaz strings him along. Ferro continues to be the angriest woman who ever lived, and sometimes her ramblings of revenge gets dull as she wanders about the city, but the pace picks up towards the end. West remains directly involved in the war, but most times giving orders from the back. While this gives us overall knowledge of the battle, we do miss out on much of the heavy action.

Logen and the Dog Man reunite as counterparts and their stories are thrilling. What I love most about Logen’s story is that we get all the Bloody-Nine we can ask for. The Bloody-Nine is Logen’s alter ego and we got a taste of him in book one, only for him to be disappointedly absent in book two. But here, the Bloody-Nine is in full force and his voice is nothing short of amazing.

Last Argument of Kings concludes the First Law trilogy with lots of action.

At first, the unanswered questions and missing main villains made me feel to give this book an average score. But the characters are so interesting and the writing is so intense that it left me thinking about the story long after I was finished. And isn’t that what a great book does?

This is an epic conclusion to an epic trilogy and I highly recommend you read it.

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One thought on “Guest Post Review: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercombie (Reviewed by Jevon Knight)

  1. Thorough review, Jevon. I’m sure the author, Joe Abercrombie, will be grateful for it. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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