Book Review: Half a King – Joe Abercrombie

Series: Shattered Sea – Book One
Release Date: July 3rd 2014
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 373
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.


An exhilarating, wild ride of a story.

Prince Yarvi is training to be a minister when his father and brother are brutally murdered. Being the only one left, he must ascend the throne of Gettland. But the people are not so sure, Yarvi has a crippled hand, and his people are not sure he is not up to being the strong and fearsome leader that they need. He swears to avenge his father, but the shattered sea is full of corruption, and Yarvi must travel the world in order to avenge his family, and save his life.

“I swore an oath to be avenged on the killers of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath”

At this point I’m probably going to sound like a broken record, but Joe Abercrombie’s writing is just magical. Where to start with Half a King? There’s a whole array of characters, and each one has an incredible amount of depth and emotion to them. Yarvi is a fantastic character, he is flawed, vengeful, clever and incredibly likeable. I think this has been said numerous times but he’s not too different from the wonderful Tyrion Lannister. Not just Yarvi, there are a whole host of characters that are incredibly likeable and fascinating to look at. I won’t go into detail about them all but they vary in so many different ways – some were hilarious, some sarcastic, some friendly, some not so friendly. Abercrombie manages to fit in a wealth of information and back story without ever making the story tedious.

The plot is fantastic, you really never know what is around the corner. There’s loads of fast-action fighting scenes, as well as chapters about the corruption and war simmering in Gettland. It has something for everyone, vengeance, war, corruption, a little hint at romance, maybe a little magic? As it is the opening book in the series, there are little hints at things to come, and if anything that just makes me more excited for the rest of the series.

Half a King is a gripped read, I hardly moved in devouring the story. One thing that really struck me is the female characters in the book. Often in epic fantasy you find the female characters remain in the background, but all the women in this story are kick-ass and fantastic. If I could have a dinner party with fictional characters, I would invite them all and watch the chaos commence.

As always with Joe Abercrombie’s books it is exceptionally well written. There are a couple of chapters that are a little slower paced, but the action quickly picks up in the following chapters. It’s gearing up to be a really great series, with book two and book three due out in July this year, what are you waiting for? Get reading the Shattered Sea trilogy.

Looking for something similar? Try: The Traitor’s Blade or The Mirror Empire. 

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