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  1. #1

    Mixed reviews on Abercrombies 3rd book?

    I am awaiting The Blade Itself to come in the mail. After having alot of folks from this wonderful site recommend this book and i,v been excited to start reading this saga. Tonight I noticed there were very mixed reviews on the finale book of this series,And just wondered what those of you that have read this saga thought of the ending? Obviously with out any spoilers. Always appreciate any input. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Sep 2000
    I would reccomend you to use the search function on the forums. Highly underrated function. You'd find a thread discussing your question quite thoroughly:

    Anyways, the only way I can see the reviews being mixed is in the sense that all reviews I've read have different ways of showering the last book with praise=)

    I don't kow what kind of mixed reviews you've read but most of us agree that book 3 is the strongest in the series.

    Check out the thread I linked.

  3. #3
    Speculative Horizons Moderator JamesL's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    I have to say I too am somewhat puzzled by the mixed reviews you say you've read. Perhaps you could quote some reviewers? The general impression I got was that the book was received extremely well and is regarded by many as the finest novel of the trilogy.

  4. #4
    Author of "The Inferior" peadarog's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesL View Post
    I have to say I too am somewhat puzzled by the mixed reviews you say you've read. Perhaps you could quote some reviewers? The general impression I got was that the book was received extremely well and is regarded by many as the finest novel of the trilogy.
    I agree, however, no matter what the book, there's always somebody out there who hates it. To prove this, first write down the name of your favorite novel in all the world. Then, look in one of those long threads where people talk about the books they'd like to burn/throw at the wall. Your favorite book will be on that list. QED

  5. #5
    I wonder if he meant my review of it over at Strange Horizons (which since it's still under the exclusivity period, I believe, I can't copy/paste here). It certainly wasn't a negative review, just a mixed one at best.

  6. #6
    Registered User Joe Abercrombie's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    I'd have thought we're talking about the reviews on Couple of unhappy campers there, who must've imported the books and very much didn't get what they expected, one way or another. They have a perfect right to their opinion, of course. It's just that in this case they're utterly and completely objectively wrong, like those folks who were of the opinion that the earth is flat.

    Larry, I thought you were bang on with some of your positive comments on Strange Horizons, but missed the mark utterly with your criticisms. Still, there was enough promise there to give me hope that you will one day become a fine reviewer.

    Anyway, if it's the amazon ones you're talking about, and it's the vox populae you're after, maybe give the ones on a look. Most of them saw things differently to the folks across the pond...

  7. #7
    I read it. the third book was by far the best in the series

  8. #8
    For what it's worth, Aldarion is just about the only poster on this forum who had mixed feelings about the book, from what I've read. The rest seem to think it was the best of the trilogy, and one of the finest fantasy books of the year.

  9. #9
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Realms of Speculative Fiction
    I enjoyed Last Argument of Kings quite a bit (review should be around here somewhere), but my friend was a bit brasher towards it (link).

  10. #10 Gilgamesh's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    Oh silly me! I keep checking on I should've looked at I kept thinking that the 3rd book wasn't published yet. Heh heh. That's good news.

    I'm halfway through the second book of the series and it's been awesome. I'm sleeping less and less just to read a few more pages every night. It looks like, after all, I'll be able to continue with the 3rd one after finishing "Before They Are Hanged". Excellent! Perhaps then I can sleep for more than 7 hours on one night...

  11. #11
    Gentleman and Scholar Wulfa_Jones's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Oxfordshire, UK
    I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the other books, but it was still a great read.

    For me it lacked some of the humor present in the first two parts and overall the book is a lot darker and the ending rather depressing. However, that is only my opinion. I did enjoy reading the series and look forward to Mr Abercrombie's next work.

    EDIT: Just read the reviews on The two negative ones are quite funny - they don't seem happy that the ending wasn't a nice closed one. I personally don't think the book was left very open ended myself and, whilst I found the ending rather downbeat, it does fit with the series.
    Last edited by Wulfa_Jones; June 19th, 2008 at 10:10 AM.

  12. #12
    Pretty much all the reactions to Last Argument of Kings I've seen around the blogosphere and here at SffWorld have been positive to one degree or another. Heck, even Aldarion, going by his Strange Horizons review, didn't hate it exactly. Incidentally, I found the review very interesting and nicely judicious, but actually thought it may have missed possible alternate interpretations in a couple places, [rather as this Joe Abercrombie fellow seems to have felt, which means that, objectively, I must incontrovertibly have the right of it. I'd have to read through the review again, but the areas in which I remember seeing particular potential for further exploration were the comment about the action scenes in this volume not contributing enough to the satire of fantasy cliches, [particularly as the assertion relates to Helm's Deep, and the Helm's Deep notion of the noble last stand], and the characters not being true to their developmental arcs. In fact, I thought they were, in some cases, too true to themselves, -- not too true for the story to accomplish its reason to be, but too true to provide it with an ending that all and sundry will be able to swallow without gagging on all the bitterness. Which is fine and pitch-perfect for The First Law.

    Looking at the reviews on, some of the importing readers do indeed seem to have not quite gotten what they wanted, and as someone who had trouble with the ending I can sort of understand where they're coming from. Like Wulfa, I might hesitantly say that I did not have as much outright fun in the reading of Last Argument of Kings as I did with Before They Are Hanged, quite simply because the ending is so blasted bleak. I mean, I loved it, but honestly I'm not sure I'll be reading it again. I give fair warning to those who've not yet read it, [and you should]: It is not nice. It is not comforting. There is no silver lining. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. It is, [as Aldarion points out in his review], not without flaws. However, I'll agree with those who call it the best of the three, and a worthy conclusion to one of the best recent grit epics. If its the negative reviews on amazon you are looking at, most of them just seem bummed out by the flavour of the ending, which is understandable but doesn't really have a bearing on the quality of the book.
    Cheap Airsoft Pellets
    Last edited by mjolnir; April 29th, 2011 at 02:20 AM.

  13. #13
    Read interesting books
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    Dec 2005
    Ada, MI, USA
    I actually loved the ending, found it in the spirit of the series and quite upbeat for what came before - turning around the characters and making them the paragons of virtue, light and such would have been very disappointing to say the least -

    I still love Before They Are Hanged the most in the series, but that's because I love intrigue and plots mostly and I rather have battles once in a while, rather than the almost end-to-end battles of LAOK.

    Also last year has been a very weak genre year for me, so BTAH stood out and was my #1 fantasy and sff book of the year, it beat even Hamilton's Void 1 book, while this year there have been tons of books I enjoyed a lot so LAOK will most likely miss my top 5 sff, though it may barely make my top 5 fantasy.

  14. #14
    Statistician Luonas's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Warning, may contain spoilers.

    Overall I felt a little disappointed, I enjoyed the parts with Bayaz and Glotka.

    On the negative side I found the ending a bit rushed.
    Luthar I found had a bit illogical character development but that may be me missing some parts of his traits in the two earlier books. I didn't mind him becoming a pawn but the way it happened didn't seem logical. The siege of Adua felt a bit unrealistic to me, in the way of Terry Brooks or David Eddings which didn't fit this books "mode".

    Overall a good book, but it felt a bit thin, lacking the depth the two earlier books contained and thereby diminishing the overall impression of the triology.

    Abercrombies upcoming novel on the other hand sounds a bit interesting. Even if I cannot muster up the same expectations I have for Lynch, Erikson or Bakker.

  15. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by JamesL View Post
    I have to say I too am somewhat puzzled by the mixed reviews you say you've read. Perhaps you could quote some reviewers? The general impression I got was that the book was received extremely well and is regarded by many as the finest novel of the trilogy.
    The reviews i am referring to are the ones on amazon, about half the review,s were bad and other half were good.

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