Published July 16th 2015.
Back in the day when I was a teenager, I’d run away from YA Fiction as fast as the devil from the cross. Mind you the label “YA Fiction” didn’t exist back then. Most of what I read, well the older stuff anyway, I’d not hesitate to give to a teenager. However, when I was a teenager I didn't shy away from any book. If anything I tended to avoid "YA" because being a normal teenager, I wanted people to believe I was older for my age. Today, reading YA books is "cooler" than in my day but that just makes YA even more of a marketing ploy instead of the content recommendation it should be. That is why so many of my favourite authors are jumping on the YA Fiction bandwagon. That is where the money is at. I’m afraid Abercrombie succumbed to it.
This one is probably the worst of the trilogy. First things first. The elf magic’s origins, which had been hinted at throughout in the previous 2 volumes, came full bore and my first reaction was, “WTF???” At times I thought I was a reading an episode from the Shannarra TV series. I guess I don’t find this kind of plot device as cool anymore. Second: Yarvi’s transformation. I was utterly shocked. That’s why this whole book felt completely off to me. It doesn’t fit in the whole scheme of things, seemed like something Abercrombie wanted to pushed something through at the end that couldn’t be reconciled with everything that came before in the first 2 volumes. Third: Raith. He looks like Thorn’s male version of Thorn! Fourth: The ending. Deus-ex-machina. Enough said.
“The First Law Trilogy” and his stand-alone novels offer stronger stories, dialogues and most important of all, more fully-rounded characters.
Joe, if you went to the other side of the “Force”, I’ll never forgive you…
NB: I still rate “Half a King” as the best book from the trilogy. The trilogy should have stopped there.