Joe Abercrombie is a master of subverting expectations.
I have yet to touch Abercrombie’s most well-known work, the First Law trilogy, although I have only heard good — Nay, great — things about it. Now that I’ve read the first book in the Shattered Sea trilogy, I am more than looking forward to that experience.
Half a King is just this good. The tale of Prince Yarvi, cripple king twice betrayed, is not a light one by any means. Cruelty will be your near-constant companion, and descriptions of filth and stench and the near-unfathomable depths of human hatred described will surprise on more than one occasion.
At its heart however it is a book about camraderie, friendship and loyalty. Loyalty to a myriad of oaths of vengeance, often enough…but loyalty none the less.
Let’s see what our characters are like…We’ve got:
- a merry band of slaves running away from their owner;
- a likable main character by the name of Yarvi who learns cunning and survivability the hard way;
- unexpected growth in characters who seem sleazy and selfish to begin with;
- plot twists enough to make you step with one leg in the grave;
- and more!
Half a King is an emotional tale of a young man finding hidden reserves within himself, strength enough to survive where few in his place would, time and time again — all to take vengeance on a monstrous act of betrayal.
I bought it in a Kindle Deal of the Day for $2 dollars on a whim, and at the recognition of Abercrombie’s name; if I knew I’d enjoy it this much, I would’ve bought it long ago, for its full price.
A warning, though — the beginning is somewhat slow, and it took me a few chapters to get hooked. As soon as that first major plot twist happens — that’s when I was in for the long haul.
I am very much looking forward to reading the second part in the trilogy!