tirsdag 11. november 2008

Last Argument of Kings.

Right. So I have been having my book in Abercrombie's books near constantly in my spare time this past week, almost. Been a while since I burned through books this fast, might be a while again, too.

The third book of a trilogy of a quest fantasy book, if you cant guess what kind of stuff is in it you need to read more fantasy. Big battles, character definig moments, twists and an ending that is supposed to wrap it all up and show the face of the author, in a way.

The pace in this book is even more relentless than the previous ones - not much time for boredom here except at the end. Following pretty much the same characters as earlier, but turning up the mortality rate of the characters involved, and what is even more fun (ok, I am a bit of sadist when it comes to books) is how some characters twist into something completly different than your initial ideas. Some hints are of course around so you can guess some, if not all (I am bad at guessing, I am watching more CSI in the hope it might teach me something), but still its all good fun how the characters turn out, guessing who will be cut up next, and you can sense the danger for your favorite character(s), almost like I was cheering underway.

It is a pretty gory and bloody one, the author got a question in an interview I read about his experience or theory about combat from the times, and he responded something like he had watched a lot of conan and played the total war games. Hah! If that is even remotely where he got his inspiration from, I hope there are more writers out there that does the same! Except for some sections from the black company (and possibly the odd one the Malazan books) the action here in this book is beyond compare. Heroic last stands (like Helmsdeep on drugs), apocalyptic mass battles (I wonder if the author was sick and tired of trying to oust the greeks from their cities in Rome: Total War and secretly wished to have a unit like The Hundred Words around to make it easier), royal romancing (ugh) and lowborn romancing (yay!), proper barbarian warcraft, wizardry with proper effects, it has all those things, done pretty much perfect. As a side dish, like stated earlier, the characters change or develop underway (though one can always argue that they dont actually do, you just get to know them better and they have been that way all along), in a mix of tragedy, rage, dissapointment and spots of people improving as well. It's not all dark and evil and twisted either, so it's got it's share of proper heroics aswell I'd say, but mostly from places you'd not expect it.

The most weird thing about the whole book, and the trilogy as a whole, I find, is how the end is. What normal fantasy books would be like, it should've ended perhaps halfway, and wrap some up either with a tragedy or a happy kinda thing (like a wedding), but not here. The first chapter of the first book is actually called The Ending, the last chapter is called The Beginning, that says it all really. As all the battles and such really reveal what the characters are actually like, I suppose it needs to make some final comments about it all. And so it ends not with the normal good ending or tragedy ending, but with a sort of irony instead. How very british.. I have yet to make up my mind about whether I like it or not, but it was different, which counts for something for me at least.

Overall, it's hard to remember any other books with such a good setup of characters, but for a change I actually find a couple of the female cast the most endearing - they start annoying as hell like so many other female characters in books always are, but they twist so well underway - Ardee West and Ferro (perhaps Ferro the most) always made for absurd speed read chapters. They couldn't be more different either, but oh my..

What am I guessing I will remember it for? Just.. making me think in a subtly different way whenever I deal with typical fantasy books, or games and all such things. I am playing Heroes of Might and Magic 5 (or was before I started reading all the time) and the whole idea of the mighty mage calling the shots for example, I will giggle about from now on. I whined about lack of things to remember in the two first books (like details and such) but from this one I will remember like, all of it. Guess Mr Abercrombie just did it to prove me wrong, eh?


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