Petrik's Reviews > The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
59458347
's review

really liked it

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Uthred, son of Uthred, it’s finally time for me to read your story in its prose form.

I am no stranger to Bernard Cornwell’s work, ever since John Gwynne recommended me The Warlord Chronicles trilogy—which I finished and loved—to read, I was already a fan of his books; even though I haven’t read any of his other books yet. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the chance to read his other books. Seeing that I’m fully caught up with The Last Kingdom TV series adaptation, one of my favorite ongoing TV series right now, and I’m super impatient to wait for the next season to come out, I figure this year is the right time for me to read the series.

“I had the arrogant confidence of a man born to battle. I am Uthred, son of Uthred, son of another Uthred, and we had not held Bebbanburg and its lands by whimpering at altars. We are warriors.”


The Last Kingdom is the first out of thirteen books in The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. The plot revolves around Uthred of Bebbanburg, an orphaned English boy who is captured by the Danes, and then he’s taught the way of the Vikings. Surprisingly, Uthred grows to love the Danes’ way of living, and things became more difficult for him because Alfred’s life is also intertwined with him. This first book showcases a few years within Uthred’s younger life, and it is certainly an interesting one. I’ve mentioned earlier that I loved the TV series adaptation, but I will clarify that I loved the TV series since its second season, not immediately from its first season. Fortunately, it seems likely that I’m going to love the books even more because I loved this one right from the start. Leadership, loyalty, faith, family, and the thirst for battles are prominent themes within this book—and the series—and everything about them was executed wonderfully.

“What do we look for in a lord? Strength, generosity, hardness, and success, and why should a man not be proud of those things? Show me a humble warrior and I will see a corpse.”


No offense to Alexander Dreymon, but one thing that, in my opinion, the first season failed to capture was Uthred’s fascination and thrill for battles. Reading this proved to be quite an intriguing experience, I think Cornwell did a much better job on Uthred’s characterizations. To be fair, though, this is one of the biggest benefits of reading the book instead of the adaptations. It was also great to see the first appearances of the major characters again. Alfred, Father Beocca, Brida, Ragnar, Leofric, and many more to come are all great characters, and I loved reading Uthred’s interaction with each and every one of them. If you love the characters within this book already, believe me, the two best side characters of the series—Finan and Sithric—haven’t even appeared yet, and I myself am so looking forward to meeting them in the books.

“War is fought in mystery. The truth can take days to travel, and ahead of truth flies rumor, and it is ever hard to know what is really happening, and the art of it is to pluck the clean bone of fact from the rotting flesh of fear and lies.”


It’s been a long time since I’ve read the Warlord Chronicles trilogy, and reading this once again reminded me just how good Cornwell is at writing battle scenes. Not only that, there’s something about Cornwell’s prose and the drama he weaved that just seemed to clicked with me incredibly well. For some reason, I didn’t know that the books will be narrated by an older Uthred that retells his life from the beginning, and Cornwell simply excels at doing this type of storytelling.

“What happens to you, Uhtred, is what you make happen. You will grow, you will learn the sword, you will learn the way of the shield wall, you will learn the oar, you will give honor to the gods, and then you will use what you have learned to make your life good or bad.”


The Last Kingdom covers only a small section of Uthred’s life and adventure. It is a great start to one of the most famous historical fiction series right now, and I’m so looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Due to the episodic nature of the series, I’m going to read only one or two books in the series per month to avoid feeling burnout. That’s what I did with The Expanse and The Dresden Files and it worked incredibly well for me. But yes, this is one of my priority series to finish this year. Destiny is all.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Estefani, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Summer, Zoe.
277 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Last Kingdom.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

March 11, 2020 – Shelved
January 1, 2021 – Started Reading
January 2, 2021 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Charley (new)

Charley Robson Ahhh, I really enjoy these books! The timeline gets a bit squirrelly in the middle ones (might just have been me losing track of what was where, as sometimes characters have repeating / similar names) but they are solid, rollicking good times one and all imo. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


Sumit I totally agree with your observation. The tv adaptation really failed to show Uthred's passion for battles from his childhood. This book is mostly centered around his childhood and he was captured by Ragnor. But in tv adaptation, they took a leap and shown him grown up. Btw I read this book in 2016 and waiting to collect all the paperbacks of this series. I'll read the Pale Horseman at the end of January.


Nicole Great review Petrik!! This book was good but for some reason (and even though I liked it), I never felt like continuing the series. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read the sequel but I’m looking forward to your reviews of the rest!


Petrik Charley wrote: "Ahhh, I really enjoy these books! The timeline gets a bit squirrelly in the middle ones (might just have been me losing track of what was where, as sometimes characters have repeating / similar nam..."

Thank you so much, Charley! Hahaha, characters having similar names will be a challenge for sure; I can feel them already just from the first book! xD

There seems to be an episode nature to the series, I'll make sure to pace myself reading the series.


Petrik Sumit wrote: "I totally agree with your observation. The tv adaptation really failed to show Uthred's passion for battles from his childhood. This book is mostly centered around his childhood and he was captured..."

Thank you, Sumit! Ahhh, I was going to say that but I forgot how much was skipped in the first season. No wonder I can't seem to recall some scenes appearing in the TV series at all! I think the paperbacks will be completed this year, you should get them, they're so pretty! :D


Petrik Nicole wrote: "Great review Petrik!! This book was good but for some reason (and even though I liked it), I never felt like continuing the series. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read the sequel but I’m looking forward..."

Thank you, Nicole!! Oh really? Right now I'm still planning to continue, as usual, I'll post all my reviews here! :)


message 7: by Brandon (new) - added it

Brandon Cormier This is the next book in my line up!! Very excited to read it!!


Petrik Brandon wrote: "This is the next book in my line up!! Very excited to read it!!"

I thought it was really good. A short and entertaining read. I hope you'll enjoy it, Brandon! :)


message 9: by Maisha (new)

Maisha Farzana Himi Great review,Petrik .


Petrik Maisha wrote: "Great review,Petrik ."

Thank you, Maisha! :)


message 11: by Isabella (new) - added it

Isabella Nooio


message 12: by Isabella (new) - added it

Isabella Nooio


Marilyn I absolutely love this series. I’m on Book 10. I’ve let a lot of time go by since #9, it I must get into it again especially since the final book has been released in October. BC does write the best battle scenes! I don’t know how many female fans he has, but I’m hooked!


message 14: by SUPERKID (new)

SUPERKID Hi Petrik! I am a new follower. Do you have any fantasy fiction for kids? I am a kid and it would be wonderful if you have them! I'd be totally ok too if you don't have them.

SUPERKID


Petrik Marilyn wrote: "I absolutely love this series. I’m on Book 10. I’ve let a lot of time go by since #9, it I must get into it again especially since the final book has been released in October. BC does write the bes..."

Oh you're almost done with the series then, Marilyn! I look forward to continuing with it. Glad you loved the series that much! Cornwell is so good at writing battle scenes, indeed! :D


Petrik SUPERKID wrote: "Hi Petrik! I am a new follower. Do you have any fantasy fiction for kids? I am a kid and it would be wonderful if you have them! I'd be totally ok too if you don't have them.

SUPERKID"


Hi, sorry that I don't have any book recommendation for kids. Percy Jackson series Rick Rioadan and then Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger series are supposedly very good, though! :)


Jenna Kathleen Great review, Petrik! I'm also planning to finish this series this year (on book 5 now).


Petrik Jenna wrote: "Great review, Petrik! I'm also planning to finish this series this year (on book 5 now)."

Thank you, Jenna! Ohhh, I'll catch up as soon as I can!! :D

I hope you'll enjoy the rest of Uthred's adventure!


James Tivendale Nice review, dude. I managed to read 11 of the books last year and will be sad to finish them. Hope you enjoy Uhtred's tale. :)


Petrik James wrote: "Nice review, dude. I managed to read 11 of the books last year and will be sad to finish them. Hope you enjoy Uhtred's tale. :)"

Thanks, man! This was really fun. I hope to start and finish the series within this year! :)


message 21: by June (new) - added it

June Definitely going to get this series started this year. I'm not always a fan of battle scenes but will see how it goes.


Petrik June wrote: "Definitely going to get this series started this year. I'm not always a fan of battle scenes but will see how it goes."

Nice! I hope you'll enjoy it, June! I think the battle scenes are really good and at least in this book, none of them are ever too long so they shouldn't bore readers, hopefully. :)


Jenna Kathleen Petrik wrote: "Thank you, Jenna! Ohhh, I'll catch up as soon as I can!! :D

I hope you'll enjoy the rest of Uthred's adventure!"


If you let me know before you get to book five, we could do a buddy read :)


Jarom Eisley I probably should have taken your approach and paced myself, but I started this series a month ago and am on the 6th book already because they're that good.

One of my favorite aspects of the series is the dynamic relationship between Uthred and Alfred, the moon and the sun. You can't help but love and hate the both of them and the story is entirely dependent on them and their legacy's. I look forward to sharing the journey with you via your reviews.

Cheers!


Petrik Jenna wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Thank you, Jenna! Ohhh, I'll catch up as soon as I can!! :D

I hope you'll enjoy the rest of Uthred's adventure!"

If you let me know before you get to book five, we could do a buddy..."


Oh that's a good idea! I'll let you know when I reached book 5! I hope you're doing well over there, Jenna! :)


Petrik Jarom wrote: "I probably should have taken your approach and paced myself, but I started this series a month ago and am on the 6th book already because they're that good.

One of my favorite aspects of the seri..."


You're flying through the series! Haha, who knows, maybe I'll end up failing to pace myself, too, we'll see how it goes!

And that's very well said regarding Uthred and Alfred, the two of them on the TV series were already very captivating, and I look forward to reading about them on the books! Let's enjoy the journey, you'll probably be done with it sooner than me! :D


message 27: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle Leubka I took a Viking history course during my undergraduate studies several years ago and this book was required reading simply because it’s such an accurate depiction of Viking life. It made me love it even more knowing that someone with a doctorate who studies Vikings for a living thinks so highly of the accuracy. I have a deep appreciation for Bernard Cornwell.


message 28: by A.R (new) - added it

A.R How did I miss your review of this? I love the TV show though I'm not caught up. This has been on my TBR pile for years, and seeing you enjoy it so much cements it as a must read for me!


Petrik Kyle wrote: "I took a Viking history course during my undergraduate studies several years ago and this book was required reading simply because it’s such an accurate depiction of Viking life. It made me love it..."

Whoa that's so cool to hear. Thanks for letting me know, Kyle! Seems like knowing this info will make the next books even better to read! :)


Petrik A.R wrote: "How did I miss your review of this? I love the TV show though I'm not caught up. This has been on my TBR pile for years, and seeing you enjoy it so much cements it as a must read for me!"

The TV show, especially season 3, is incredible. Season 4 was great, too, and I'm too impatient to wait for the TV series to be done so I might as well read the books! xD


Edward Great review, Petrik! Such a great series, I'm glad you enjoyed the first entry!


Petrik Edward wrote: "Great review, Petrik! Such a great series, I'm glad you enjoyed the first entry!"

Thank you, Edward! This was great, I'm so excited to jump into the next book as soon as possible! :D


back to top