Half a King and Half the World (The Shattered Sea Series) by Joe Abercrombie

I have been looking for a new fantasy series to fill the time until George R.R. Martin finally finally gets around to releasing the next book in the Game of Thrones series. It is amazing how difficult this has been! Of course it doesn’t help that Martin is taking an inordinately long time to release his next book.  So I read Robin Hobb” Liveship Traders Trilogy and other related books, which were all great, but still needed something else. I remembered Joe Abercrombie had written the First Law series which I had really enjoyed and so I began looking at what he had been writing recently and found the YA Shatterred Sea series and was hooked from the very beginning.

Prince Yarvi is the youngest son of the king, but born with a deformed hand he cannot carry a shield or swing an ax, and so in his father’s eyes he is a nothing. Luckily, his older brother is fulfilling the role of heir to the throne very well and Yarvi has found other ways to become strong by using his mind. Then in a strange double cross, his father, the king and his brother are killed during what was supposed to be a peace negotiation and suddenly Yarvi is thrust on the throne. With his uncle and mother as his advisers, Yarvi must lead his country which is now under the threat of war.  Although, Yarvi tries to lead his country he is constantly undermined by his uncle and soon he begins to suspect that there was more to the death of his father and brother. Swearing an oath to find and bring their killer to justice, Yarvi faces bitter betrayal, capture and chains and the numbing uncertainty of whether he can live long enough to fulfill his vow and find the traitor which is threatening his life and his country.

In Half the World, the story continues this time with two new characters Brand and Thorn, two warriors that have been recruited by Yarvi to be his secret weapons. But his weapons are flawed. Brand is a great warrior who hates to kill and Thorn is a girl who is so undisciplined and distrusting that she just kills anyone who gets in her way. Together they are quite a pair, and yet it somehow works. With Yarvi behind the scenes pulling the strings, Brand and Thorn put into motion a plan to bring down the powers that threaten the country.

Abercrombie is very creative and gives life to his world with wonderful details. He deftly creates his characters and their motivations and allows them to grow, mature and change based on the challenges they face. This is especially visible in Brand and Thorn, but Yarvi also benefits from the various challenges he faces as well and grows wiser, and more ruthless as time goes on. What is really refreshing and satisfying, is how Thorn is portrayed not as some weak maiden, or a calculating, manipulative crone, but rather as strong and powerful. Thorn blasts through all the stereotypes of wowmen in fantasy books and is uniquely her own type; physically powerful, skilled in the arts of war, but lacking in subtlety. patience and empathy. Brand on the other hand, although equally powerful, has an overactive empathy component, which makes him always look for an alternative to violence.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the sereis, Half a War and find out what is next in the lives of these characters!

Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 Out of 5 Stars)

Recommend this book to: Marian and Lauren

Book Study Worthy: Yes!

Read in ebook format




This entry was posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Prize Winner, Series, Suspense, Thriller and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Half a King and Half the World (The Shattered Sea Series) by Joe Abercrombie

  1. Just what I was looking for! I assume that these are less bloodthirsty than his other books?

  2. Deborah says:

    Thanks, Brenda. I, too, have been looking for a satisfying fantasy series that doesn’t offend my high standards for not mangling the meanings of English words. I recently got sucked into one was otherswise a good yarn but made me crazy with its infelicities of language. I just downloaded this one to read on the plane.

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