A wonderful finale!
This trilogy came as close to satisfying my fantasy itch for the ongoing 'Ice and Fire' series by GRRM, and the incredible 'Malazan Book of the Fallen' series by Steven Erikson, as any book (trilogy) ever has.
This final installment of Abercrombie's 'The First Law' series neatly ties up all the open ended threads that where expertly developed in the previous two books. And, it would appear, to also leave a suggestion for a new adventure in the future.
The story continues with the sequential telling of the happenings to the wizard Bayaz, Commander West, Dogman, Jezal, Logen, Ferro and Glokta. And as you might suspect, these 'individual' tales come colliding together at the end.
What I liked:
1.)I loved the tale itself. Epic fantasy featuring magic, interesting characters, great battles and a compelling story line. I could barely put this book down, I just had to read one more chapter.
2.)I really liked the unexpected...just when you think things are settling down...
3.)Abercrombie continues to develop his main characters as he proceeds to the conclusion of his story. I found all of the main protagonists in this novel easy to identify with and either really like or dislike. One character was especially memorable; I'll say more below*.
4.)I felt that, overall, Abercrombie's writing skills improved with each book.
The only minor concern I have about this book is that I felt the latter third seemed a little rushed in comparison with the pace of the rest of the novel. (one of the strengths I perceived in the writing of this trilogy was the even tempo with which things seemed to happen and were played out). However, in fairness, multiple events were cascading towards a climax at the end of this novel and this may have given the appearance of a somewhat 'rushed' ending.
A fine a fantasy novel as I ever read! Overall, the writing and story telling was second to none.
I can only hope, as the ending of this book suggests, opens the door to more stories in this series from Abercrombie. 5 Stars, more if I could.
...potential character SPOILER to follow...
*And finally, this...for all their accomplished skill, I don't think either GRRM or Erikson have ever come close to creating an individual character like Sand dan Glokta. Glokta, with his villain-esque persona, is the unforgettable, grotesque 'cripple' in this tale; a character whose profession requires him to be the consummate liar (except, excruciatingly, to himself), who has instinctive, self-preserving insight into most 'situations' and provides us, the readers, with regular doses of witty cynicism. There were moments in these novels (involving Glokta) that were so sad and tender that it near moved me to tears (particularly this last book) and others that made me laugh out loud; of all the wonderful characters in this trilogy, it was Sand dan Glokta and his tale that I enjoyed the most.
A short excerpt from page 481, book III...Glokta sees his disfigured image in a reflection and thinks...
"The smile seems to promise horrors more surely even than a frown. Has any man ever looked more of a villain? Has any man ever been more of a monster? Could any vestige of humanity possible remain behind such a mask? How did the beautiful Sand dan Glokta become...this? Mirrors. Even worse than stairs."
His lip curled with disgust as he turned away.