Triage of a Novel: Last Argument of Kings
First off, I want to say: I am so so sorry for the unexpected hiatus. Trust me, it caught me by surprise, as well. Between working a ton at my ICU nursing job and finishing the final draft of my upcoming debut novel, things got too busy too fast. However, I hope to make it up to you all with (not just) this triage, but with a new blog page starting in September of 2021! I will be indefinitely placing my "Bloggies" page on hold, but will be making up for it (hopefully) with my writings! Short stories, and spoiler-free scenes from my novel, I hope to show you all that I really can write beyond my Triages! With that said, here's my triage assessment of Joe Abercrombie's final instalment of his First Law Trilogy: "Last Argument of Kings".
Across the Room: The final instalment of Joe Abercrombie’s "First Law" trilogy was definitely unexpected, but in the most fantastic way. It’s dark, gritty, and forces me to really contemplate the darker nature of humanity. That said, there were a couple of things in this leg of the story that really rub me wrong, and, unfortunately, affect the prognosis in a negative way. See the assessment below:
Temperature: Hypothermic; not in the sense that it’s to the detriment of the book, but it’s dark, gritty—just like the previous two books in this trilogy.
Heart Rate: Normal Rate and Rhythm. As always, Abercrombie masters the pacing of this story. The action fast-paced, and suspenseful. The slower bits just as compelling, but with an easier pace.
Blood Pressure: Normotensive. The plot was very easy to follow, and I was kept intrigued throughout. However, there were just a couple of plot points that hit me the wrong way, though, and it unfortunately docks him a half a star.
Respirations: Regular Rate and Rhythm. This is really where Abercrombie shines. His characters are just unforgettable. I cried when one of my favourite characters died.
Oxygenation: Well-oxygenated. I loved the setting here. The Agriont in Adua was such a stark contrast to the North, to Angland, etc.
Work of Breathing: No Shortness of Breath. I had no problem staying immersed in this story (unless I was interrupted by my husband while I was reading, of course).
Family: Fantasy. Grimdark.
Medical: I found a couple of stubborn typos, that somehow made it through the (likely) scores of editing and proofreading. Of course, that’s just about inevitable for any novel. Otherwise, nothing really of note for the grammar. I’ve Abercrombie’s writing style since I first picked up "The Blade Itself".
Psychiatric: These characters have the weirdest relationships. They’re just. So. Dysfunctional. At the same time, however, there are the occasional good friendships (ie: Dogman and Collem West, or Sand dan Glokta and Ardee West—I really liked the West siblings, as you can see).
Socio-economic: Definitely trade-adult, just like it’s advertised.
Head to Toe Assessment
Head and Face: I managed to snag the box-set of the UK covers, so I’m stoked on that. However, if I were to purchase these books again, I’d probably grab the American hard-covers. And, of course, the blurb catches me hook, line, and sinker.
Neck: The opening of this leg in the journey picks up right where the previous left off, but not in a jarring way. It’s not in the middle of the final scene of book two, and there’s no major timeline jump like some other series can have (I, myself, am quite guilty of that in my own Work-In-Progress).
Chest: The stakes just keep getting higher and higher, and I love it.
Abdomen and Flanks: Gawd, the endless warring for the Northerners, the threat of Gurka, and the conniving ways of Glokta and Bayaz. I liked Bayaz in book one. Now that I know his true nature, I can’t stand him. I loved this book. However, this is where one of my main issues begins: Princess-turned-Queen Terez of Talins. I instantly don’t like her, and not because she was forced into her marriage with the king. Rather, it’s because she seems to be such a freaking man-hater. I know they’re out there, but this is just to the extreme.
Perineum: Continuing on from the assessment above, this is the point in which I really can’t handle the Terez timeline. Myself being bisexual, the homophobia is just a hard pill to swallow. Now, I understand as far as the culture of Midderland, and the like. Homophobia is a really big thing, and has been for hundreds—if not thousands—of years. However, it gets to the point where it’s stereotypical: the secret lesbian is forced into a marriage with a man, and hates him to the point of refusing to do her duties of producing heirs (again, ugh. Women’s rights?). Then, this secret lesbian is found out by the head of the "justice" department, the Arch Lector. Finally—and this is what makes me cringe the most—this secret lesbian and her lover are threatened with r**e, forced to sleep with a man (another form of r**e, mind you), and…you see where this is going? I had such high hopes for this story, and this is probably the only part that really hurts deep down in my soul.
Extremities: This was such a cinematic climax! I don’t really have much to say beyond that. I loved it, the implications of Bayaz’s ultimate plan, his war between himself and Khalul, etc. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about how far that bastard was willing to go just to "win".
Backside: A very open-ended conclusion, and bittersweet (far more bitter than sweet). These are the endings I love: dark, gritty, and making me think.
Prognosis: Very good (4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 on Goodreads). Again, the punitive r**e, the "fridging" of Cathil in book two, and the stereotypical "I’m a bitch to my husband because I’m a lesbian". It all rubs me wrong, which is why I docked the final score to 4 stars on Goodreads for this book. (Final note: I am aware that Abercrombie as publicly announced his remorse and embarrassment for the Terez stereotype. Because of that, I forgive him of this particular book series. I haven’t read his standalones yet, but I intend to read his "Age of Madness" very soon.)
Thanks for bearing with me through this random hiatus. I hope to avoid these in the future! As always,
Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much love!