Book Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

This review may contain spoilers for A Little Hatred and The Trouble with Peace

Book Synopsis

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us…

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies… while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together…


The Wisdom of Crowds is the final book in Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness… and what a finale it is! I have loved this series from pretty much the first page of A Little Hatred and I’m not afraid to admit that finishing this gave me a serious book hangover. It was one of those books where I never wanted to put it down, but also wanted to make it last forever because, for now at least, I have no more First Law books left to read. Woe is me!

So, what was it about this book that made it such a joy to read? (A joy in the you like having your heart ripped out and stamped on kind of way.) Well, it just felt like the complete package really. This whole series has cemented Joe Abercrombie as perhaps my favourite author right now. I guess I am just a sucker for punishment.

The obvious thing to say here is that the characters are amazing. You can’t write a Joe Abercrombie review and not say something about the way he writes characters. And once again, he nails it. I won’t say I loved every character, because actually I loathed a few at times. But I hated them in the good way. Every single character evokes some form of emotional response and, as all us readers know, that gives us such an investment in this story. Honestly, I felt a little broken by how some of the character’s storylines ended and I don’t think anythings tells you how well Abercrombie captures each character’s personality better than that.

Away from the characters, the plot is phenomenal. From the very first chapter things are thrown in the air and you’re swept away by the speed and violence of what is happening. Who would have guessed violent social revolution wasn’t pretty, huh? Within this there are a few characters who just can’t catch a break, but none of it feels unearned or forced. Eveything just feels like a natural consequence to decisions that have been made over the course of the whole series.

And how does this all tie together at the end? Well, it is safe to say that Abercrombie is good at endings. He weaves the threads of every character together masterfully and everything rolls together into what feels like a bit of an unstoppable tidal wave. This makes the ending really quite satisfying, in a weird way.

So, overall, do I recommend this book? Yes, of course! Have you actually read this review? It’s the only possible answer! I will say that you could read the Age of Madness if you haven’t read the earlier First Law books. It would make sense and still be a great experience, but I do think you get more out of it if you have read the other books. There are so many little bits of this book – and the Age of Madness series as a whole – that will just hit harder with the background knowledge of the original trilogy and the 3 standalones.

One thought on “Book Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

  1. Pingback: Monthly Update – October 2021 – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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