The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie – An Audio Book Review

Wisdom of Crowds


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 . . .

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Narrator: Steven Pacey

Publisher: Gollancz

Audio Release Date: 14/09/2021

Series: The Age of Madness #3

Genre: Fantasy

Running Time: 23hrs 36mins

My Rating of ‘The Age of Madness’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon


The Wisdom of Crowds is billed as the ‘Riotous Conclusion to the Age of Madness’. However I feel a better subtitle would have been ‘A Prologue to the Next Series’. A finale to the Age of Madness Trilogy it may have been, but it felt like it was all build and very little conclusion. So much so that I had to check to make sure it said ‘trilogy’ rather than ‘series’.

This book was a mixture of good and ‘ok’. Nothing about it was outwardly bad, just a little odd and easy to see coming as far as the twists and turns are concerned. So much so that I have a little less respect for the characters that were tricked by said twists and turns. They just didn’t have the same cunning about them as previous twists in previous books/series. 

Another thing that felt a tad off was the character progression. One character, I shall not name said character due to spoilers, went from being good to bad in what felt like the flip of a switch. They went from someone you’d cheer for to someone that made you groan when their part in a chapter came up. Not because of their actions, but because I just found the change of heart to be far too sudden and far too intense.

Many of the characters got treated far better as far as their writing is concerned, so it isn’t all odd and confusing in that sense, but it was odd and confusing enough that it made the other off-points in the book more noticeable. My main bit being the constant repetition. It honestly felt like the author wanted a higher page count and, whenever he couldn’t figure out how to do that, we’d have another lengthy period of court cases and executions that were near-identical to all that had come before it and added nothing to any characters involved.

With The Wisdom of Crowds I felt like Abercrombie was planning on using it as an explosive stepping stone into a new series (that I honestly feel he has some awesome ideas for if the events in this book near the end are anything to go by), but those intentions were overshadowed by padding and quick character changes that I can only imagine are needed to make the next series flourish. 

All in all, I enjoyed the Age of Madness, but a tiny bit less so than the previous two series that came before it. I’ll certainly be pre-ordering the first in the next series as soon as it’s available to do so, despite the slight bump in the road for me that was The Wisdom of Crowds.

Steven Pacey’s narration, as ever, was what I would class as ‘God-Tier’. It would be a dark day in the world of the First Law if anyone else were to lend their voice in his stead.

2 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie – An Audio Book Review

  1. Ugh, that “light switch” feeling. It makes me wonder why the authors do that sometimes. Is there more history about the character in their heads that they don’t put down and so it make sense to them? or do they just not care?

    Liked by 1 person

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