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A book blog, mostly touring foreign worlds of fantasy novels with occasional detours into space and explorations of magical realism, featuring book reviews, random bookish thoughts and hand lettered quotes.

Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie


Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

My thoughts

Half a King is the first book in a new epic fantasy series for younger readers that I liked right from the start. It was also the first book I read by the author and that made me want to get his already published novels all at once.

Half a King is about Yarvi, a guy you just have to like right from the start. Life hasn’t been easy for him, not at all, and I felt sorry for him from the first page onwards. This poor guy could really use a hug! Reading about him and seeing how he is treated and how he suffers from this, was both interesting and heartbreaking.

Even more interesting was to follow him on his adventure throughout the book and see him change and grow. Joe Abercrombie did a great job on character development. When I started reading Half a King I pictured Yarvi as a completely different guy than at the end. At first I had trouble not to picture him as a shy little guy, instead of the teen he is but that changed while reading.

On top of that this books comes with a great group of characters. Both the bad and good guys were often able to surprise me (often with changing from good to bad or the other way around) and were fun to read about.

Yarvi’s adventure was thrilling and interesting. Even though this book only comes with a made up world but not with other epic fantasy elements, it was never boring. Yarvi’s situation was gripping enough so that I didn’t want to put the book down even once. Even though Yarvi and his companions stumble from one tough situation into another and you sometimes don’t know who is getting out alive, it wasn’t really shocking or surprising most of the times. It was everything but predictable though and the end had some unexpected plot twists in storeI never would have seen coming.

This series is a set of interconnected standalone novels which means that Half a Kings comes with a neatly wrapped up ending instead of unanswered questions and/or a cliffhanger. Combined with a plot twist at the very end, I couldn’t be more happy about this ending and can’t wait to read more books set in this world. I hope we get to meet some of these characters again.

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by

Published July 15, 2014