Tag Archives: Joe Abercrombie

Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie

Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie

Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series continues with book 2, after Half a King, which featured the trials and tribulations of a young prince Yarvi. Yarvi is now Father Yarvi, counselor to the King and Queen of Gettland. Gettland is marching toward an inevitable war with the forces of the High King, and Gettland needs allies. Yarvi is charged with this task, and he undertakes it in a very untraditional way. But really, this tale of finding allies is not Yarvi’s tale. Rather, it is the tale of two teenagers: Thorn, a warrior girl touched by Mother War, and Brand, a calm, strong young man who only wants to do what is right.

When the story opens, Thorn is training to become a warrior, and accidententally kills one of her fellow trainees. Though the incident was truly not her fault, under the laws of the land, she must die for her crime. Enter Brand, who feels the injustice of Thorn’s plight. He takes the issue to Father Yarvi, who intervenes. Instead of being crushed by stones, Thorn will come with him on his journey to seek allies for the King. Brand will also join him. Yarvi brings together a large cast of characters to help, some familiar, some new, and off they go, sailing up the river on their quest.

One of Yarvi’s merry band is Skifr, a very skilled warrior woman who takes up Thorn’s training. Brand, who is still not sure of his place in the world, continues to try and do the right thing. And onward they go. And of course, adventure, peril, death, and even some victories follow. This is a story of the difficulties of growing up, of facing ackwardness and uncertainty with the help of those who can assure you it’s all normal. Yarvi, the star of the first book, is in the background, but clearly his is orchestrating the actions, and hoping for an outcome that only he can see.

I enjoyed this book more, in many ways, than the first book of this series. With both books, I will admit that the characters and plot took a little longer than I like to get going. Once the story is rolling along, however, it will keep you reading long into the night to find out what happens. Thorn is awesome, and Brand is cool, and Father Yarvi is a deeply cunning man. If you like fantasy, and like a fast-paced story, then this series is for you.

Full-discloser: I received my advanced reading copy from Edelweiss at Above the Treeline. Half the World goes on sale February 17th.

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Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie

Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie

Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie

In Joe Abercrombie’s latest fantasy we meet Prince Yarvi, born with a crippled hand. When his father and brother are killed, Yarvi unexpectedly finds himself king. Yarvi never wanted to be king, and feels he is woefully unprepared to take on the role. A king should be able to swing a sword and carry a shield, and he can do neither. How can a crippled king truly lead his people? Quickly, his fears are realized as betrayal takes the throne from him. Now Yarvi must fight for his life while withstanding brutal hardships. Yet, Yarvi endures, and through his trials, his true strengths begin to be revealed. Now on a quest to reclaim his throne, Yarvi may find that half-a-king is the strongest king of all.

Joe Abercrombie has written a number of brilliant fantasy titles, but many of them are too grim and dark for me. And at first, I was not overwhelmed by the brilliance of Yarvi’s story, as some of the story choices seemed a bit cliched, and feared this was going to be a rehashing of older, more familiar tales. I kept reading, and I can tell you that the story is not cliched; if anything, it just took an extra chapter or two to truly grip me.

But grip me it did. With Yarvi’s coming-of-age tale, Joe gives us a compelling character and a marvelous fantasy world, but one where hope and possibilities are allowed to live and flourish. Highly recommended.

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