This book is the last of the trilogy, I think. What applies to this book, applies to the other two.
This guy can write fantasy! Great characterization. No strength without frailty, no goodness
without evil. Even when they do the unexpected, it makes human sense. And they do quite
a bit of that.
Yes, there are
demons and magic here, but they are only the condiments. They add spice but don't overpower
the main course. The plot lines are twisty and complex but the author does a great job in
providing enough direction so the reader never gets confused or lost.
There is enough wit and humor to keep things moving with a zippy pace. And, again, the
laughs come at the most unexpected times. Abercrombie writes with clarity and a marvelous
sense of pace. The ending to this book, which seems to end the trilogy, is not "and they
lived happily, ever after." It is as imaginative and thought provoking as the end of
a Ray Bradbury short story. This is what I always look for but almost never find...a great
And, Steven Pacey's narration is first rate and makes all three come alive.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I'll start by saying you shouldn't read this book unless you've read the first two in the series or you'll probably find the characters confusing... and if you found either of those first two to be gory, mature, or violent, this one is as bad, perhaps worse.
I really shouldn't like Glokta as much as I do. Really. And, I have to admit that from the very start of this book, I wanted his life to work out for him... even while knowing it would be completely inappropriate if it did, but still...
This is a nasty little book... nasty nasty... and a fantastic wrap up of the trilogy. Everyone is neatly squared away at the end (yeah, okay, not so neatly in some cases, but anyway.) Some horrible twists, some intriguing plot turns...
Lots of blood and death and gore and a lot of time spent inside Glokta's head (which I quite liked)... and most of the characters did not come away with a "happy ending" even if the over-arching story did... sorta...
I thoroughly enjoyed this series (even with its length) and particularly liked how "right" and "wrong" were sort of up in the air a lot of the time... the author didn't try to tell us what the moral should be, or if there are even supposed to be any morals. And if you don't like that, you can suck on your sour toothless gums.
The narration is excellent. Each character is distinctly voiced.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I commend Pacey for his voice characterizations. They are distinct and creative and obviously require a nimble tongue and imagination. This fits well with a character-driven novel.
As to the story, my assessment is quite mixed. I understand that a lot of the appeal of this series is that it is dark and isn't concerned with the white night slaying the dragon and getting the girl. I appreciate the departure from the regular Joseph Campbellesque heroic fantasy architecture.
This story relies heavily on character development and interaction. The plot is a solid fantasy story, not sweeping or epic, but solid. It is the characters that really draw you in. They are sympathetic and very human (also, once again, at least a partial credit to Pacey for voicing them so well). The characters are what really engage you about the story. This alone is not a problem, but when you finish the book and take stock of where the characters are and what they are doing, you realize that it is like nothing happened. They spent three books going on an adventure of a lifetime, being forced to work together under strenuous conditions, to grow together, only to renounce all they had learned and regress to square one.
Logan begins a hated and feared monster. He discovers his second chance only to let it go and become the hated and feared monster once again. Jezal goes from self-centered jerk to budding altruist, back to egotist. Ferro goes from zealously chasing her revenge, living like a sub-human, to discovering true kindness and genuine human relations, but throws it away to chase revenge again. Glokta goes from being a self-loathing tool of a vain, powerful master, and for all his discovery of true friendship despite his deformity (and genuine loathsomeness), ends up being a self-loathing tool of a vain, powerful master. Even Bayaz, for all that his actions are challenged and appeals are made to his humanity and sense of honor, simply resets the clock to zero.
The characters learn nothing. It's like watching a child grow to adolescence then age backwards to childhood again. And I understand the critique, that often in real life, people fail to learn thus making the characters more human. How true. But I would respond to this in two ways. First, even in real life, not all the characters experience the exact same positive and then negative growth. Second, If I were looking for real life, I'd pick up a newspaper. If I were looking for believable, I wouldn't be reading fantasy.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
AH, YOUR WIT IS SO VERY SHARP, I HARDLY NOTICED I WAS EVER CUT.
This is book three and to really enjoy this series you need to start at book one. The best fantasy writers build their stories around the characters, not the story and Abercrombie is one of the best fantasy writers. I enjoyed book one the best, then book two and then this book, but all three are great books. Superior Glokta is my favorite character. You have to be a good writer to make a man who makes his living torturing people, a favorite character that you rout for. There has been a lot of talk about the ending. I believe he left it open ended so he could return to it, if he wanted. Nobody's story ends until they die, so the only why for a final, final, would be to kill off everyone.
YOU CAN'T REALLY HATE A MAN, WITHOUT LOVING HIM FIRST.
If this book would have ended about four hours earlier, I could have given it five stars. Towards the end of the book, The Seed takes over. For over twenty hours I listened to some of the best writing I have ever listened to, and then it was like a light went off in JA's brain, Oh Yeah, this is a fantasy. Everything to do with The Seed was just a distraction and just did not seem to fit in with the rest of the story. Also, even though Glokta was my favorite character, he was getting too predictable toward the end. He constantly talks to himself and it got to where I knew what he was going to mumble to himself before he did. These are small complaints, but it was enough to rank the story itself at four instead of five stars.
Narrator was excellent
Now let me leave you with a few of the powerful lessons of life, I learned.
LIFE IS A SERIES OF THINGS WE RATHER NOT DO.
LIFE IS FULL OF DISAPPOINTMENT.
LIFE IS MEAT.
LIFE IS THE MISERY WE ENDURE BETWEEN DISAPPOINTMENTS.
THAT IS WHAT LIFE IS, A BUNCH OF ERRANDS.
IT IS BETTER TO DO IT, THEN LIVE WITH THE FEAR OF IT.
SOMETIMES IT CAN BE BETTER TO LIVE WITH THE FEAR OF IT, THEN TO DIE DOING IT.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU DIE, BUT HOW YOU LIVE THAT COUNTS.
FRIENDS ARE THE ONES WE PRETEND TO LIKE IN ORDER TO MAKE LIFE MORE BEARABLE.
SOMETIMES LOSING AN ENEMY, CAN BE WORSE THEN LOSING A FRIEND.
POWERFUL MEN CAN AFFORD NO FRIENDS.
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY KNIVES.
IT'S ALWAYS THE BLADE YOU DON'T SEE THAT CUTS YOU THE DEEPEST.
SOME MEN ALWAYS WANT MORE.
GREAT JOURNEYS START WITH SMALL STEPS.
FREEDOM IS FAR OVER RATED.
HOPING FOR A THING, DON'T MAKE IT HAPPEN.
AMAZING, THE RUBBISH IDIOTS WILL BELIEVE, IF YOU SHOUT IT LOUD ENOUGH.
DOES THE DEVIL, KNOW HE IS THE DEVIL?
THAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH ANSWERS, THEY ARE NEVER AS EXCITING AS THE QUESTION.
Be warned. The ending to this series has seriously ticked of and bothered a lot of people. Personally, I love it. Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he knows how to end a series.
All the characters I've come to know and love from the series make a return, and some have slightly happier endings than others. From what some of the other reviews said, I was expecting some charactercide on the order of GRRM, but quiet honestly it is no where near that bad.
As for the girt and darkness of this fantasy, it is there, but I find that at the same time there is quite a bit of hope and character growth. Few of the characters are inherently "evil" or "bad" and multiple times I found myself sympathetic for an antagonistic character.
As for the ending, well it did end in a bit of a cliffhanger, but I have my suspicions as to what happened.
Once again, Steven Pacey's narration was out of this world. I would listen to this man read the operating manual for a John Deere tractor. He does such a sublime job creating distinct voices for each of the characters. Wonderful wonderful job.
Overall, this is more a tale about a place and time than it is about any one character or event. It is a worldbuilding extravaganza and it gives us some perfect examples of how characters live and act in this world.
Just like in our own world, I got the sense that this was a conflict that didn't necessarily threaten the entire existence of the world, but rather was a conflict between two nations, that will soon pass into history.
This trilogy was so much fun! The story twists and turns, the battle scenes are convincing and at the most unexpected times I spluttered with laughter. What more can you ask for from an epic fantasy?
In Inquisitor Glokta I've found my new favorite fictional character, and Steven Pacey has become one of my favourite performers, using many regional British accents to distinguish the characters (how does he do them all so well?).
Unfortunately the great is the enemy of the good, and I think I'm unlikely to listen to the other titles by Joe Abercrombie that have a different reader. Not for a long time, anyway.
Very funny a times and interesting characters.
An ending that .......... . Also slow at times.
All of them. Steven Pacey was great.
If you are wondering what the rest of this review's heading statement is....... Well, that is how this book ended. It was like he was writing an ending and decided to go to lunch and forgot to finish the book. I am sorry, there is nothing genius or clever about it. It was a terrible way to end a THREE BOOK series. I do not need fairy tale endings, but one would be better than an ending that makes you feel like you wasted your time. Maybe I am just unsophisticated, or maybe I feel like telling the truth.
As the title of this review suggests I cannot recommend this book for anyone who does not like being kicked in the gut repeatedly. While the previous two books may have left you hoping that the First Law Trilogy would have a satisfactory conclusion, it not only fails to provide that, it fails to provide any form of resolution to the story as a whole. Moreover, unless you have a completely twisted sense of morality, only the most vile of the characters get anything remotely resembling a happy ending. Every character that can possible be construed as an upstanding individual is repeatedly abused by Abercrombie, and left either insane, suffering, dieing, or dead. There are very few books I wish I had never have read, this is one of them.
This book or should I say series of books, are some of the best I have read. I found all three to be truly entertaining, well written by Abercrombie and expertly performed by Pacey. I was hesitant going in with each book being well over 20 hours, but ended up sad that it had to come to an end. There were stories within the stories and the author did an excellent job tying them all into the main plot. There were many parallels to real life woven into the story which I found very interesting as well. I???ve said it in my other two reviews, but think it???s worth mentioning again. Steven Pacey???s performance is outstanding and Abercrombie's writing is masterful. I highly recommend all three of these books, which should be read in order.
Listen up, people -- this trilogy ain't no fairy tale. Don't be expecting any neat and tidy fairy tale endings.
I am in awe of this entire trilogy. I don't go looking for blood-and-guts books, but I will definitely be reading any Abercrombie stories I can lay hands on. The end is upsetting, annoying, and leaves you dying to know more -- and it's completely consistent in tone and spirit with the rest of the trilogy. Many readers might have been happier with something more conventional, but they are missing the point. These books aren't about neat and tidy characters, nor about neat and tidy lives. These are messy, complex, sometimes tragic stories that don't have those simple endings that we find so reassuring.
If you're looking for engrossing, exciting, and thoughtful writing, the First Law trilogy is a great way to spend some time. If you want sunshine and rainbows and fuzzy puppies, look somewhere else.