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Last Argument of Kings

Last Argument of Kings - Joe Abercrombie This is the conclusion of a grimdark fantasy trilogy. At this point practically everything I can say about the plot will be full of spoilers, so the most generic description will have to do. A war is raging in the north between Union and united barbarians. Another war is about to start in the south: people led by powerful and practically indestructible flesh-eaters quietly prepare to conquer Union - unless the northern barbarians do it first. Everything seems to be lost, but some powerful people still have some cards to play (very weak ones I might add).

This is the book to which I can finally give 5 stars without any doubt. The writing quality is still top-notch, the characters remain interesting and some of the weak ones from previous books finally developed into real 3-dimensional ones. There were enough plot twists in the book to keep me interested in reading throughout the whole book and I did not see quite a few of them coming. The power play behind the scene is revealed at last with some very much unexpected shadow puppet musters.

Speaking about the whole trilogy: is it worth reading? The answer is definite yes with some minor reservations. This is a grimdark fantasy, have no doubts about it. For the most part it successfully avoids being too bloody and macabre, but do not expect it to be shiny happy read: it is not. There are plenty of gruesome moments in there: consider the fact that one of the main characters is an Inquisitor whose job is exactly what you would expect from one and who happens to be very efficient at what he does - it is impossible to avoid very dark moments.

The first book really takes its time to set up the board and the game pieces - while it is not boring at all, much more excitement starts from the second one onward. You will also get much better understanding of the whole picture after the first book.

My final recommendation: definitely read the trilogy, but beware of its dark nature; if dark fantasy is not what you like, avoid it even if this is one of the best examples of this particular sub-genre. The writing quality is excellent, the characters and their development are very good, and some of one-liners are outstanding.

This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/881396/the-conclusion-of-a-very-well-written-fantasy-trilogy