Half A King – Joe Abercrombie

I came across Half A King on recommendation on bookstagram recently and was intrigued by the description. Half A King follows Prince Yarvi, the prince with half a hand, who finds himself having to step up after his father, the King and his brother are murdered. Being king isn’t what Yarvi wanted and soon enough he finds himself tangled in a web that only he can escape from. This is the first book in the Shattered Sea series.


At first I was a little disappointed in the novel, with the first twist feeling rather predictable in my opinion. However, I stuck with it and found myself following the story of Yarvi. Pleasantly I found that the plot improved from there on out and I found myself caught up in Yarvi’s struggle for the throne. The story is written quite simply and isn’t a particularly complex story. A simple fantasy novel that has nods to the middle ages and viking themes. I found my interest grew as the story developed and am looking forward to continuing with the series.


The characters were a surprising highlight. Yarvi is your stock standard intelligent but certainly not brawny protagonist feeling as though he doesn’t fit in in his cunning and strong family. His character undergoes quite a lot of development in this novel. My real pleasure lies in the surrounding characters. The villains are great, his raggedy band of supporters are endearing and there are sufficient surprises within these characters. There is also a lot of range left for the future tales.


This novel isn’t quite what I was initially hoping for, I was ready for another grand epic fantasy series (seriously, any suggestions from fellow fantasy lovers are welcome!). This novel was much simpler and easier to read than I anticipated. That being said I also found it incredibly enjoyable and fast-paced to read. If you are after a new fantasy series in the young adult spectrum, this is a great start. I give Half A King three lengths of slaves chains, throwing a curve ball at our hero.


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