If you like happy endings where the hero gets the girl or the hobbit returns home to sit by the fire then you need to look elsewhere. However, if you have enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy then chances are you aren't looking for those kind of endings anyway. If you are wavering on reading book 3 because of the darkness of the first two then be warned that it only gets worse. It is likely something bad will happen to whatever character you are rooting for.
Abercrombie is ruthless in the way he resolves his story arc and no character gets through unscathed. You will have to take comfort in the fact that you do get a full reveal of what's been going on behind the scenes from the beginning because you will find little comfort in what actually happens. Things go from bad to worse for most of the characters and even those who win big in the end are actually losers. The big reveal didn’t make all the pieces fit together perfectly for me, but I am going with 5 stars anyway because I totally enjoyed the series and I wasn’t left guessing.
When I step back and think about the series and the characters I still wonder why I like it. Each of the main characters has a dark side and does some truly evil things, female characters are treated pretty poorly by the author, and the world itself is pretty bleak and almost without hope. Then I think upon Steven Pacey’s reading and I wonder no longer. I enjoy almost every character in the series and it is simply because of the way Pacey reads them. They feel like old friends that I trust and therefore I am willing to look the other way when they do something I despise. I have listened to a lot of audio books and I would now list Steven Pacey as one of my favorite narrators.
So if you liked the first 2 books, bust out your antidepressants and get ready for more of the same. Although the ending does leave things open-ended enough for a continuation of the series, I am quite satisfied with the way all of the threads came together and don’t feel like I was left hanging. After all, you have to be realistic about these things.
First, let me say I'm an avid reader of negative reviews. I want to find out what people don't like about a book when I bother to find out anything at all beforehand. That having been said, most of the bad reviews of this brilliantly written and performed series are aimed directly at the ending Mr. Abercrombie gave us. And I must point out to anyone who might read my glowing review that we are warned a couple of times in this book that it's not going to be pretty. But that's the point of the whole thing, at least to my mind. Ardee says "No one gets what they deserve," or something close thereto, and that sums up the whole thing.
I guess my point is that anybody that's looking for a fairy-tale ending should probably read a fairy-tale and leave off the grown-up fantasy. They'll just be disappointed.
I also particularly enjoyed the very end. (BEGIN SPOILERS) I think dropping the Bloody Nine off a cliff into a river and leaving it there is an awesome way to come full circle and let the reader's mind fill in what happens next. I can just see him washing up somewhere--"Still alive..."--and charging into another several months of butchery to pay back Black Dow. Or maybe he'll head south and find Ferro. It's up to me and which aspect of Logen I want to root for how it all turns out. I'm thankful for that.
In all, a superb work of fantasy by one of my new favorite authors. Thanks Joe.
This third installment of The First Law trilogy is great. Loved it until the end. At that point, I was checking my iPhone to see if it somehow stopped playing before the end of the file. There was no ending... or, if that was the intended ending, it didn't do anything for me. I was literally thinking that I may have gotten a faulty download because it just seems to stop in mid-narration without ever gaining closure on the active storylines.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
A bit unsatisfying
If would probably recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre. It is well-written - great characters, good foreshadowing, excellent plot twists - but I would be more likely to recommend it as an audiobook than as a novel to read. The battles in the book would have gotten quite tedious for me if I were reading, but I think I could enjoy Pacey reading the phone book to me. He is amazing.
I've only heard Steven Pacey on the 3 First Law novels, but he's got to be one of the best and I will look for other books he narrates.
Pacey is perfection and the novel is well-written. However, I found the ending disappointing. Abercrombie wrote the First Law series as 3 books although none stands alone. And, then this last one leaves you hanging. That seems a bit unfair and sort of manipulative on the author's part. If I have spent the time and money to go through three entire books which constitute the whole series and some of the central characters are left hanging still...not quite right if you ask me.
Joe has written one of the darkest fantasy stories I've read to date... the world is gritty and dark... its characters are gritty and dark... and the story is more of the same. It was fairly typical of modern storytelling (which cost him a star) but the characters were brilliant (which will likely have me listening again).
GREAT characters, deep (though not particularly subtle) and photo-realistically communicated. Joe took the typical fantasy archetypes and added another dimension to each of them... asking the question 'what would a REAL barbarian hero, or noble brat, or centuries old conjurer act (and THINK) like?'
Great character separation, delivered solid performances on some challenging 'damaged' characters. A great voice performance doesn't draw attention to itself... and this was a great performance.
'Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie, say he's got a few things he could teach George RR Martin about dark fantasy'
Don't listen to the 'ending critics'. The book ended perfectly fine. After reading the reviews I was expecting some horrible open ending (like HBO ends every series they've ever made)... and Joe ties this up as neatly and cleanly as this story demands (nearly as good as it could be). Of course this story demands a messy ending, so don't blame Joe for delivering... but all the primary plotlines are properly concluded, so have no fear and buy the series.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
This third book in the trilogy is just as wonderfully written as the first two, with compelling character stories, intricate but entirely convincing plotting and a dark but often comic vision which will delight some readers and alienate others. The language is often coarse but always on point. The action is, by turns, gruesome, shocking and thrilling. It may or may not be your cup of absinthe, but if you read it you will not soon forget it.
That said, I really felt let down by the lack of a satisfying ending. I realize that Abercrombie continues to write tales in the same world which share some of the same characters, but the threads which were left hanging, very much in his "nothing is neat or pretty" style, seemed too numerous and too frustrating to allow him to walk away from this as the concluding book of a trilogy. There was a distinct strain of cruelty in the decision to leave his readers hanging with the threads.
Joe loves to stick it to his characters. Series leaves you with "Well..there must be another coming...there just has to be." But there is not. One of the other books mentions some of the characters and his latest book apparently mentions Black Dow, but in general you come out of this series feeling like you've been punched in the stomach. While I loved the books I don't think I'll be reading anything else of his.
Steven Pacey is amazing! In fact, I plan to look up other books he has narrated because I loved listening to him bring this story alive!
Still Glokta, Logan, and West. Don't want to give any spoilers so I won't tell you what happens to them, but their journeys are so riveting, I was almost cranky when Abercrombie would turn to his other characters.
I look forward to listening to his other books to compare!
I was captivated by this series. I cared about some characters, I grew to loathe others. But the point is, I was never indifferent. I wanted to know what was happening to them, and would be frustrated when they were frustrated, sad, when they were sad...
It is a little gruesome at times, but it is part of the hard, fearsome world Abercrombie has created, so even though I cringed through those parts, I couldn't put it down!
Abercrombie does not write fairy tales. This isn't a book about happy endings and everyone getting what they deserve (or maybe they do, I suppose). Abercrombie does not resolve the whole story, just this particular phase in the lives of the characters. I am dying to know what happens next- where do they go, what happens on their journeys, tell us more !!!! There is a lot of room for Abercrombie to tell us more about these characters- their histories, their future adventures... I am anxious to know more!
This final book in the First Law trilogy never fell below the quality of the first two. The author continued to intrigue, not only with the current crises facing the protagonists, but also with more exploration of the characters and their history. The revelations were a worthy payoff.
I'm looking forward to more great works by Joe Abercrombie.
I was very pleased and enthralled with the majority of this series of books, but the ending was very anticlimactic and left a lot to be desired. The authored created an interesting world and intriguing characters and I have seen some crossover of these characters and this world in his other works, but the end of this particular series just left me disappointed and wanting something a little better. It almost seemed like after creating such a vivid story, he could not figure out a good way to end the series. Overall I recommend the series as a good read (or listen as the case may be) for those who like fantasy with a dark edge.