If you think that Abercrombie’s first two novels were dark and gritty wait until you read Last Argument of Kings. Abercrombie has subtly been building up a number of fantasy clichés leading up to this one and he smashes through them in some unexpected ways.
The group of Bayaz, Logen, Jezal and the rest arrive back in the capital to find things are a mess.The king is on his deathbed without an heir with the nobles scrambling for the position, there is a peasant revolt in the countryside and the war in the north is still going on just when another one looms on the horizon. Logen heads north to finally deal with his nemesis and for a long awaited reunion with those of his band still left alive. Without giving too much away lets just say things get complex from there.
One of Abercrombie’s biggest strengths right from the get go is that he really let’s the reader get in the heads of these characters. They are spread it for all to see, faults and all. The way he does this is by changing his writing style for each point of view. Non-dialogue prose is told in the words that character would use rather than the typical author. This gives the insight of a first person perspective in a third person view. The third book feels a lot darker than the other two and there are no clear cut happy endings, although some things work in for some of the characters in strange ways.
All in all Abercombie stays at his best. 9/10.