Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The Last Argument of Kings’ is the finale of his ‘The First Law’ series – and is an ending fit for a king.
In ‘The Last Argument of Kings’, everyone gets what they deserve. Our favourite cast of miscreants are thrown to the dogs one last time. 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 blood, and we’re reminded that the battles are fought between men and women, 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 – and you didn’t. But make sure you don’t miss out by not chancing it a read!