Taylor's Reviews > Last Argument of Kings

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
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's review
May 15, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, kindle
Recommended for: anyone who likes good dark fantasy
Read from March 21 to May 14, 2011 — I own a copy

I really enjoyed this series, and the final book was a great way to end it. All the various threads get tied up in mostly satisfying ways. Don't get me wrong, this ain't no "everyone lives happily ever after" ending; in fact most of the main characters end up not being very happy at all, at the end. But this does fit in with the "grittiness" of the series.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the series was the author's ability to, on the surface, tell a rather conventional fantasy story. In the final volume, the Good Guys win, the Bad Guys get theirs, and the world keeps on keeping on. But, the actual story is far more grim. The Good Guys win because they go further and do "worse" than the Bad Guys. There is no altruism here; everybody wants power and/or money with a few exceptions, and everyone is willing to do whatever needs to be done to get what they want. The surface story happens almost in spite of the various character's machinations. At times (again with a few exceptions) it is hard to know who to root for. Or, when the author makes it clear who you should be rooting for, you question why you should, when they are every bit a horrible as their foes.
The gray are explored by the author is fascinating and, unlike many fantasy novels, gives the characters a groundedness not often seen in the genre. With a few exceptions, the character's motivations and actions feel and ring "true". In the end, this series is not about spectacle (although there are a number of those), it is about the characters. And the characters are fascinating. Highly recommended.
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