Book Review: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1)


Published: 10/21/14

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Most fantasy novels tend to be giant tomes with multiple parts.  So it was refreshing to have a quick read that wraps up at the end (Half a King is listed as 368 pages, a downright novella by fantasy standards).  While there are two books in the series after this, the book came to a conclusion.  I have read an Abercrombie novel before (The Blade Itself), and was impressed enough to want to read another of his works.

Half a King follows the story of a prince with one hand, Yarvi.  Yarvi’s father and brother are murdered, thrusting him into the role of king.  Yarvi swears an oath of vengeance anyway, but is completely unprepared for his new position.  Yarvi is betrayed by a family member and sold into slavery by his enemy.  Short a hand, but long on wits, Yarvi begins his quest for revenge.

I did find myself wanting more magic or more fantasy novel elements.  It might as well have been a historical fiction book about Vikings – even if it wasn’t set on earth.  Other than that there isn’t a lot to criticize and even that isn’t much).  Abercrombie’s greatest asset is creating flawed characters that you root for.  Yarvi was a little too self-deprecating at times, but you wanted him to get his revenge.  The twists are foreshadowed enough to not come as a WTF-type moment, but still enough of a twist to make it unpredictable.  Half a King was good enough to warrant me adding a few more of his books to my queue.

WWYT Rating: 7/10

Goodread: 4/5


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