Sunday, 24 January 2016

Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted. 
But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself - all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge. 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. 
Even so, Yarvi's path may end as it began - in twists, traps and tragedy... 
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Date of Publication: 15th July 2014

A fantasy YA book that George RR Martin, Rick Riordan and Patrick Rothfuss love is one I can't help but try, and I'm so glad I did. This book is especially great for someone who wants to dip their toes into the mystical pool of fantasy but is intimidated by the ginormous fantasy books that seem almost twice my height in length. The book is around 336 pages, and Joe Abercrombie does not waste a page, paragraph or sentence in this magical adventure.

At first, I wasn't sure if I would love this book because even though I loved The Name of the Wind, I'm not someone especially experienced with full-out fantasy books but I really want to be so that anticipation made me nervous. But as I read past the first few pages I slowly became more and more absorbed with the story and with Yarvi. The premise of him sharpening his mind and wits to survive in the harsh world he lives in captivated me and the author's execution of it was perfect. I loved Yarvi for everything that he was - his dark and his light. Because that's the thing about fantasy books, their characters tend to lie in a fascinating grey area but some of them you can't help but root for. His adventure to reclaim his throne moved so fast that I never got bored and the decisions he has to make along the way inspire admiration and sympathy for all the good and bad outcomes.

The group of people he meets along the way add something dynamic and special to this book because they bring out different sides to Yarvi but also stand as individuals who I want to learn more and more about. Their path constantly twists and turns, and even though I occasionally fancy myself a bit of a detective when it comes to having an idea of the end, I really couldn't predict anything and I loved that so much because of the surprise and the realisation of Joe Abercrombie's genius that comes with it. His mind, and the mind of many wonderful fantasy authors, tends to, much like the mind of a crime writer, know exactly how to fit the millions of intricate and colourful puzzle pieces together to form a bittersweet, sad or happy picture.

His writing really captured Yarvi's personality - his deep sadness, his anger, his love, his intelligence, his wit, his hope and all his layers - in a way that made every word engaging once you get into the book. So even though I didn't fall in love from the first page, there was a moment really close to it that just made me drown into his story and never look back. I hadn't read a book in a really long time so I appreciate this book for bringing back that "I really just can't put this book down" feeling.

This book is part of the Shattered Sea series but I feel like he wraps up a huge element of the current conflict and story in this book so it felt like a standalone. The relationships Joe Abercrombie creates fall all on points of a spectrum of love to hate and each in its own is so interesting and emotional. The fact that it's a YA book written by an author who usually doesn't write YA does not hinder the wonder of this book in the least as I liked the experience you could tell Abercrombie has with fantasy and the YA element means that Yarvi was in my age group so his relatable voice made the book a lot easier to fall in love with and follow.

So that's 5 golden stars for another fantasy!

I can't wait to read more of Joe Abercrombie's books:)
Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment