Plot: War rages in the North, but the Union forces have no leader. Without anyone to guide them, Dogman and his friends have set a trap that they themselves might end up caught in. Logen has returned to fight by their side, but he can’t tell who is friend or foe.
Promoted beyond comprehension, Jezal’s life is controlled by Bayaz himself. What the wizard wants, no one seems to know. Not even Glokta, who is determined to destroy him once and for all to save his own skin. The Gurkish are coming, and this time, there is no way out.
Quote: `”The enemy,” growled Varuz. Jezal tried to imagine what Logen Ninefingers would have said faced with the sight below him now.
Opinion: I had high hopes for this book, as with any final instalment in a series. There were questions to be answered, relationships to explore and enemies to defeat. In general, I would say Abercrombie met all those requirements, although the book wasn’t as powerful as its predecessors.
The plot was one long war with a few unexpected marriages thrown in and that was all there was to it. Although the heroes were victorious, that was due to either Logen losing control – something that occurs with greater frequency as the book progresses – or magic trickery. The only character with anything to do other than plan battles was Glokta. This world could have been explored further and that opportunity was overshadowed by the bloodshed.
Due to the lack of progression in the plot, there was very little character growth. Logen seems to revert back, becoming wilder as he embraces Ninefingers multiple times. Ferro takes off without a word and there is no reconciliation between the two of them, undermining that story arc from the second book. Glokta carries on doing what he does best and West continues in the same manner as the second book. Jezal is the only one who actually embraces his new role and steps forward.
My concerns over Bayaz’ character in the second book were revealed to be for a reason in this one. I was disappointed by his character – a powerful magi in a fantasy book has the potential for so much more than basically a controlling bully. I didn’t particularly like him by the end and so did not care about his fate.
The end of a trilogy should bring things to a close. All this one did was left me feeling like there should be another book. While Abercrombie’s writing gripped me and I would be happy to continue the adventures of these characters, wanting to know the outcome of a character’s fate is not a satisfying ending.
Despite all this, I enjoyed the book. The characters were – for the most part – engaging and the pacing fast. Tension rose with each chapter, interspersed with the odd pieces of humour to stop it being overwhelming. I continued to wince at the level of violence. All in all, I would recommend this trilogy.