I am disappointed and frustrated. First, disappointed that I will likely have to give Abercrombie the title of the best book of the year a second year in a row because I hate repeating myself. Telling you that reading Abercrombie’s works is a good idea is like telling you that the sun shines – it’s already obvious. Second, I am frustrated that despite likely being the best book of the year, I can’t really talk about The Wisdom of Crowds.
The more I tell you about Crowds, the more I will take away from your reading experience. I can highlight a few things, but you are likely going to find them unsatisfying. A tease of a review that doesn’t really say anything other than “this book is really good.” I could tell you that Abercrombie is the single best author I have read at crafting endings and that Crowds is absolutely no exception. I could tell you that it has been a long time since I have read a book with characters I am this emotionally invested in. I could tell you that the climax was so powerful that I needed to cancel my plans for the evening after I read it. Or I could tell you that it is very clear that the story of the world of The First Law is not even close to finished and there is nothing I want more than the next installment of this series. I don’t really want to tell you anything, but if this book is going to place where I suspect it will be on our Best of 2021 list, I need to have a review to reference.
The Wisdom of Crowds is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s likely in my top ten favorite books of all time. Abercrombie’s character work is unparalleled; his action is the best in the business. Don’t even get me started on his plots. The themes of Crowds are cutting in their topicality and clever in their execution. His prose is a case study in immersive worldbuilding. These books paint a world and saga of impressive scope and depth and each new entry in The First Law universe is adding to the collective story they tell between them.
Do I think Crowds is better than my other top Abercrombie book, The Last Argument of Kings? It is extremely hard to compare the two because they are very different stories. If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Kings – but it would be damn close. The Age of Madness has come to a close, and with it has gone my peace of mind as I ponder the depths of the story I just read.
Rating: The Wisdom of Crowds – 10/10
An ARC of this book was provided to us in exchange for an unbiased review. The thoughts on this story are my own.