Follow TV Tropes
Having just finished my second read of Red Country I find it easily my favorite of Abercrombie's books, but one that couldn't be half as powerful without all the previous history built up in the First Law and the other two standalones. On its own the book would still be great, a thrilling, action-packed fusion of fantasy and western fraught with both tear-wrenching pathos and hilariously dry wit, but as a denouement to the stories of multiple recurring characters of the series it truly shines. If Abercrombie never writes another story in this universe, I'd ... well, I'd still be disappointed, but I can hardly imagine a better conclusion.
Where The First Law was about the failure of people to change, Best Served Cold about the hollowness of revenge and The Heroes about the glorified barbarity of war, Red Country explores the theme of redemption and new life throughout, at times utilizing a shifting perspective (similar to The Heroes) to portray nearly every character as having fallen into the rut of doing evil and unable to work up the will to seek their own redemption. Temple, one half of the viewpoint character team in this book, exemplifies this best, and is only able to even approach the possibility of being a better man with the support of others looking for the same. Shy, the other half of that team, has already put some dark work behind her but finds herself dragged into the muck with some of the worst villains yet seen, in deed if not in scale; yet even these yearn for freedom from their own damning natures.
Evil is petty indeed, but even those petty evil-doers dream of good; so few actually try and make their dreams reality, and fewer still actually succeed, that at times the world can seem overwhelmed in darkness, as in the previous five books. This is the same world with the same blood-freezing evil lurking, but for the first time some light slips through the curtain, and we can have hope that the future will be better. Though each of its many endings is bittersweet, the sweet is so rare in this universe that it threatens to overwhelm. As the aging actor says after his finest performance: "As a young man I found happy endings cloying but, call me soppy, with age I have come to appreciate them more and more."
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?