Monday, July 14, 2014

Half a King (Shatter Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Series: Shattered Sea #1
352p.
Publisher: Del Ray
Published: July 15, 14
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand. 
The deceived will become the deceiver. 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge. 
The betrayed will become the betrayer. 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could. 
Will the usurped become the usurper? 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.
My thoughts:
 Joe Abercrombie is on my must try author list so when this came up for review I gladly said yes. I'm not entirely sure this is YA but the protagonist is about that age, but most of the players are older. It can easily be read by the YA/NA crowd. It has violence in it, but that is expected when kingdoms clash.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding within the story. You also have some pretty interesting characters. You follow Yarvi from the beginning to the end. It is his story in how he becomes a crippled son, minster, king and slave. You follow his growth through his adventure and how he finds himself. While I did like Yarvi and rooted for him, sometimes I just wanted to shake him and tell him that yea.. you have a deformed hand... get over it! It made sense at the beginning but toward the end when you see him do incredible things you just wanted him to move on from that worry. He does achieve it, but I just wanted to see that sooner. You also get some pretty good secondary characters and I have to admit, as much as I liked Yarvi, I liked his companions more. Not everyone survives the adventure, but it is an interesting journey. The end has a huge twist I didn't see coming but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like it but I think I just need more. Good thing this is a series. :) I will say that  questions I had about Yarvi and his immediate journey were answered but I had a few more that were mentioned but not expounded upon in the book. I have no doubt those questions will be answered in the coming books.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to those that want a fantasy that isn't too heavy handed.

25 comments:

  1. It can be nice to have a mix between YA and NA. I saw this one a lot but it's the first review I read so it's nice to see it was good. I'm quite curious about the world.

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    1. I need to read some of his other works now as well.

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  2. The cover is pretty and the worldbuilding and mix of ya and na intrigues me.

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    1. Well, I'm not convinced that it is either NA or YA but either group could easily read this one.

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  3. This was such a dark setting! I enjoyed the story but it felt like I needed to read this in the middle of winter under a blankie with a roaring fire.

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    1. I know what you mean! Although it was a nice reminder on a hot day how cold it could get. :D

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  4. I like that the ending wasn't predictable, even though you're still not entirely sure how you feel about the twist. Plus, if George R. R. Martin AND you both say it's good... :)

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    1. I don't mind a predictable ending as long as it is an HEA. :)

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  5. Although I like fantasy, I don't think this one is my type of book. It is something that I would rather watch and it does seem more tolerable to me than Game of Thrones.

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    1. I think you would like it more than GoT... it is less bloody and nekkid. LOL

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  6. Hmm, never heard of this book. But I'm liking the way it sounds.

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  7. I've sort of been going through a lot of high fantasy lately and I can't get enough of it. I don't care if it's YA or NA or adult, as long as the world is well built and I'm entertained throughout. This sounds perfect for me.

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    1. Oh I think you will like this one but it seems a bit less than high fantasy. More accessible to some that aren't used to that genre.

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  8. I think I would really like this one, adding to the old list.

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  9. Yup it's YA. He wanted to try to write YA. His adult one is supposed to be darker than dark

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  10. I love the dark setting and you have me so excited by the world building you described!

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  11. The cover is so... intense! And the synopsis, too. I'm very glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Melissa. I love fantasy, and dark settings are right up my alley. Great review!

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  12. I am about halfway thru it now and can't help but start anticipating a twist now. I admit Yarvi hasn't grown on me yet.

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  13. Intrigued by the idea of chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea, this sounds like my kind of read as long as the world building doesn't come at the cost of character development.

    Great review, thank you.

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  14. I just read this yesterday, and I LOVED it. It finally broke my bad/unhappy run in YA fantasy. I'm glad you liked it too!

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  15. Hm. The mention of the twist at the end makes me a little nervous Melissa! I'm all for twists, but usually I like to at least have the next book on hand when I come across them so I don't have to wait to find out what the ramifications of said twist will be. Looking forward to your thoughts on the next book when it releases!

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  16. I do love fantasy and it's nice that this straddles age groups, or is too hard to define. I feel like sometimes if a fantasy is YA there are a lot of familiar elements that are like a checklist, so this sounds great! Lovely review!

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  17. Oh he is an amazing fantasy author. So glad you tried this book and enjoyed it. I need to get back to his fantasy worlds. They are wonderful. :)

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  18. I hadn't heard of this one before. I'm not sure if I would like it or not. I find I usually like a more clearly defined genre. This sounds like it's almost more literary? Maybe I'm just making some assumptions there though. Glad you enjoyed!

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