The end is coming.
Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him, but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can top him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.
With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war - a secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It’s a good thing blackmail, threats, and torture still work well enough.
Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on someone.
While the King of the Union lies on his death bed, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law.
©2008 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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.
"The trilogy gets better"
I need to review this trilogy in a oner....
Initially, I found the first book too slow. Too much scene setting and character building for me - I needed more action and kept waiting for it all to come together. However, having completed the trilogy, I now understand why the first book was like it was - and it certainly has its place.
Loved the second book - all good action and great pace.
Third book (this one) - again great story, and lots of pace, BUT, it ends with too many loose ends. Whilst I get why it ended like it did, I needed more.....I was left feeling as though there needs to be a 4th book where the wrongs can be righted and the bad get their come-uppance.
I'm a massive fan of epic fantasies, and this is just that. It's got loads of action, lots of battle scenes, and plenty of blood and swearing. Not really a "girlie" book (although I have to caveat that with an "I'm a girl and thoroughly enjoyed it" statement). All the characters are well developed, and fairly complex. Interesting how my feelings towards each of them changed as the story progressed and I got to know them better. Is it bizarre that my favourite characters turned out be a torturer and a schizophrenic killer???
If you're a fan of epics, and have a reasonably strong stomach, then this is highly recommended.
But if you start with book one, be prepared to go through all three, and then still feel like you haven't got to the end...
"I miss it already."
Just finished the 3rd in the First Law Trilogy. Where do i go now? Dammit but that was good. Didn't Adams have 5 books in his Hitch Hickers trilogy? Had a listen to Heroes but you'd miss the magic and skill of Pacey. I might just have to read that one. Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he's a damn fine writer.
I really enjoyed this trilogy - excellent writing and flawed characters whose lives you feel compelled to follow. However huge praise must also go to the narrator, who plays no small part in giving the world and its characters life. If only there was more to come about the Bloody-Nine......or is there???
"Splendid finale to a fine trilogy"
What a super trilogy and I am very sorry that after 70 hours of listening it's all over.
Well if you are reading this I assume that you have read/listened to parts 1 and 2 (also on audible if you haven't and do listen in order) and want to know if part 3 measures up to the high standards as before. the answer is resoundingly yes. There is a lot more action in part 3 but the same strengths apply - very good writing, excellent plot and characters and quite brilliant narration by Stephen Pacey. I wont give a hint of how it all ends as that might spoil things; suffice it to say that the ending is quite in keeping with what has gone before!
A five star listen without a doubt.
"not your typical fantasy novel"
This book takes gritty realism to the fantasy genre. The point-of-view characters are all flawed in just the ways you'd expect of them living in this excellently described corrupt land. It manages to make heroes of of the vain, the uncaring and the bullies. Some struggle with their nature, trying to be better people, but never quite having the chance to.
It is a fantasy world devoid of the usual black and whites, and instead populated by utterly refreshing shades of grey.
Yes - Pacey is an excellent narrator and his characterisations are amazing,
Glokta - menacing, unintentionally funny but with a certain warmth. Ferro is great as well.
I read the first book myself but Pacey's audio just brings the book to life. He's very good at doing different voices and he has excellent command and pace. Was good to hear the pronunciation of some of the names as well.
27 hours in one sitting?! I don't think so. However, the length was not an issue at all as I only listen whilst at work anyway so been very good to dip in and out of the audio.
"stunning, brutal, cant wait for more!"
the whole trilogy is not to be missed. a very raw and gripping story from start to finish. unlike many books, this has no periods of tedious narrating, it is gripping from first to last page. Characters that are so well defined it is easy to identify with them and understand them. i would say that any self respecting fan of fantasy must definanely read this series!
This is my first Abercrombe book series. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to his other books. Steven Pacey is indeed an excellent performer. I didn't want the narration to end. What a series.
I am use to rambling long epics (wheel of time being one that immediately comes to mind) and for this series to actually finish in 3 books was a novelty, but I was left wondering if this was a little rushed towards the end - there were so many paths that this book could have taken and at the end I was left with the feeling that the easiest route may have been taken.
All that said - a very enjoyable listen and good narration [except for the narrators "grimAcing"] which got very very annoying in this trilogy and make me wince each time the word was said.
I seem to have used up all the superlatives in my reviews of the previous two books in this series, so suffice it to say that this book is much the same in quality as its predecessors. The author balances tying up the loose ends of all the stories threads to the satisfaction of the reader (which to my opinion he does admirably) with keeping characters he has developed an affection for alive-and-kicking should he need them again! This trilogy was great fun from start to finish and I would recommend them for their blood'n'guts violence, inept romantic hero, wealth of psychotic anti-heroes, humour and underlying intelligence.
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