BOOK REVIEW: Half A King by Joe Abercrombie

Posted on December 9, 2014


first published at A Writer Goes On A Journey

hak-uk-200x300Half A King

Joe Abercrombie

The Shattered Sea 1


Harper Collins



After reading Abercrombie’s brutal novel, Red Country, I was not sure what to expect with this new one, Half A King. It was only after I had finished reading it that I discovered it was intended as more a Young Adult novel (or at least that is what I have subsequently read).

Abercrombie writes excellent fantasy without magic, gripping adventures that roll along quickly and pull the reader along for the exciting ride.

While this is apparently intended as a YA novel, there is enough in the bulk of it to provide appeal to older readers as well. The in-your-face brutality and language of Red Country is missing but there is still a sufficient degree of dark harshness without becoming too grim. The betrayal of Yarvi was not broadcast in advance adding to the impact. Having a lead character with a physical problem is not exactly knew but having this degree of malformation of the hand was sufficiently new to avoid implications of trope.

For a while I was becoming a little concerned that things were going to be a little too obvious but then a scene with the newly crowned young King Yarvi surprised me a little, indicating that there was some steel beneath that otherwise beaten-down youngster. That harder core increasingly comes to the surface during the course of the story and character arcs.

I did have a couple of problems with the story. I am sure I will not be the only one who quite early correctly guesses what the deal is with the character, Nothing. Some important and repeated clues earlier in the story give that away a bit. The way the final confrontation is wound up was also achieved quite quickly, easily and a tad too conveniently for my liking, although the final scene itself was a little unexpected, demonstrating how far Yarvi had come in his personal journey.





Ross sig


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