Review: The Wisdom of Crowds (Age of Madness #3) by Joe Abercrombie

MY ⭐️ RATING: 5/5

Format: Kindle Whispersync


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 . . .


If you’re like me and have waited a terribly long time to get back into the world of Abercrombie, he has left a refresher on his website, that I found to be quite detailed and got me right back in as if I had just finished A Trouble with Peace. This is one of my favorite things about a sequel, and I really wish more authors would try to incorporate that into their books or at least on the website like Abercrombie has. With that said, Firstly, I have to commend the incomparable Steven Pacey for the work that he has done in all of these books and continues to be a beacon of what great narration is. He does such a fantastic job of having characters voices so different and distinguished that the moment you hear it, you know without question who it is… even if you haven’t heard the voice the entire time. Not only that but how he’s able to dive in and make me feel the emotional state of the scene or the characters involved. Truly a masterful performance.

Abercrombie nails it once again, and following the events of book 2, The Wisdom of Crowds derails into unmitigated madness from the start and my jaw on the floor with that bone-chilling final chapter that left me with literal hair-raising goosebumps. This is everything you love about his work, it’s a provocative deep dive into the price of power and the decisions that have to be made, with politics, manipulation and betrayal. Of course, an Abercrombie story wouldn’t be an Abercrombie story without a little bit or a ton of chaos and intense scenes broken up with some good humor, and this certainly has that. I also love the way he tackles the changes and the lengths a person will go to make a better life for their child as a mother or father. It’s truly epic.

“People love the idea of freedom but, in my experience, there is only so much they can be trusted with. Take it far enough, freedom becomes chaos. The voice of the people… is just noise. It is the blather of the lunatics in the madhouse. It is the squeal of the pigs in the slaughterhouse. It is a choir of morons. Most of them don’t even know what they want, let alone how to get it. They need someone to tell them what to do.”

It should come as no surprise that the writing was just phenomenal. The story that we are told is so complex and develops so well, that it could easily be mistaken for actual historical events to feel like historical fantasy. As the story kept unfolding, it kept blowing me away with what would happen next. Not only that, but the character work was just on a other level because Abercrombie really knows how to make you either love or loathe someone. Rikke and Savine may have been my two favorites to read in this madness, but I also quite enjoyed Leo and Vick as well. With that being said, Orso may have delivered the best line in the entire novel and it actually made me have a full on belly laugh.

All I can really say is that this is honestly the best finale of a series I’ve probably ever read, and I don’t think I’ll be able to get this out of my head for a very long time. Everything that he does to tie things together throughout just makes every page worth turning to see what happens next. But with the way this ended, I do hope to see Abercrombie come back into this world with a new trilogy soon. One can only hope that’s what his next project is!

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