Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Half a King - Joe Abercrombie

Title: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1)
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Hardcover: 352 pages (my version egalley)
Publisher: Del Rey/Random House
Published date: July 15, 2014
FTC: Received eGalley from NetGalley

I've been wanting to check out Joe Abercrombie's books for some time. So when I saw NetGalley had the first book in a new series by Abercrombie, I jumped on it.  I didn't realize it until later but it's his first foray into YA.  I probably wouldn't have realized that since I haven't read any of his other books but don't let that stop you from checking it out. Wow. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series when it comes out and will be checking out more of Abercrombie's books. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones and want something just as good but not as gory, you must check out this series.

Back of the book:

"I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath."

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.

 The deceived will become the deceiver.

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.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

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.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

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:

I love the niche that Joe Abercrombie has found and is filling superbly.  Game of Thrones and many other fantasy novels are widely popular but they are definitely something that I wouldn't want my boys reading (and definitely not watching) when they are YA age. Half a King is superbly written, well-crafted and is filled with addicting characters.  What I liked was that while there were battles and death, it lacked the over-the-top graphic battle and sex scenes that some fantasy novels have and was the perfect length at under 400 pages.  Often there are some interesting series or trilogies out there but the massive chunksters can turn me off.  A master storyteller can accomplish create a world, populate it with fascinating people and characters, and a compelling story that makes you eager for the next book to come out without making it a massive tome.

If you are not used to reading fantasy novels, Half a King would be a great introduction to the genre. The story is shown through Yarvi's eyes and is centered around his "coming of age" journey from younger inept brother suddenly thrust into becoming a king.  Yarvi was born with one hand partially formed and was constantly told he was not a whole man. His older brother was destined to become king.  Fate threw him onto the throne he did not want and into avenging the deaths of his father and brother. I love books where circumstances thrust a young character into growing up. It reminds me of Treasure Island or Silver. It's also reminiscent of Game in Thrones only in the fact that the world isn't too far off from our Middle Age past. I would have loved to have a map included in my galley edition and hope there is one in the hard cover version.  I am looking forward to book #2 whenever it comes out. In the meantime I will be checking out Abercromie's other acclaimed books.

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