Review: Half a King

Sunday, 6 July 2014
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Edition: HarperCollins Voyager ARC
Released: 3rd July 2014
Series: Shattered Sea #1
Pages: 373 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

“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...

For a while now, I've been trying to get into fantasy. Of late, the genre has been the most captivating to me. Whether this is due to all the promising YA fantasy books coming out later this year or the fact I've moved away from my previous favoured genre - dystopian - and am in search of a new one, I'm not sure. All I know is that when I got an email through requesting I review this book, I jumped at the chance, surprising myself in the process. It's definitely not something I'd usually go for! But something enticed me to it and, now that I've read it, I'm rather excited to share my thoughts. Although, admittedly, I didn't love it and I did have quite a few hiccups with Half a King, I enjoyed it enough that I'll be venturing into the genre more.

First off, the world. As it has been with myself and fantasy worlds in the past, I found the world hard to visualise and wrap my head around. Even with the description, I struggled a bit and came away from the story feeling like I didn't understand some of the small details that gave the world structure. However, I do put this down to my inexperience of world building in fantasy books. I believe I'll be able to wrap my head around fantasy worlds the more I delve into the genre. Saying that, I did still feel enveloped by the world - and I love the feeling that comes with being completely transported into a different and much more exciting world.

The main character, Yarvi, ended up being a character I rooted for. Though he isn't the best protagonist, his flaws made me invested in his character development - I wanted to watch this boy grow and become more comfortable in his own skin. There was an array of varying characters, each very different in personality and adding a new dynamic to the little group of "outcasts" and I enjoyed the relationships that formed between them all. Some were comical, others were heart-warming. I particularly enjoyed the Yarvi/Sumael relationship arc - it was both realistic and intriguing at the same time.

The writing in this book was not without its issues for me. To start with, I found the beginning a little slow. I was quite a few chapters into the book before I felt the plot line really take off. I also found that some of the structure and wording of sentences just didn't... flow. I found myself wanting to insert commas here and there and having to reread sentences until they made sense. Although this could be due to my format being an ARC - meaning final touches were still being done to the book after I received a copy. I also read this book as a standalone - I had no idea it was going to be a trilogy - so, when I got to the ending, I wasn't satisfied. I decided I would have preferred a different ending. BUT, now that I know it's a series, I can pretty much dismiss those feelings. However, if there's one thing I can't fault Abercrombie on, it's his plot twists. They were pretty darn phenomenal.

In conclusion, Half a King was not without its flaws for me but I still enjoyed it. With a character you can root for and some astounding plot twists, it's a great glimpse into the fantasy genre. I know now that I want to read some more fantasy books. I'm unsure about whether or not I'm going to continue with this series, only time will tell. I do think this is the perfect read for lovers of fantasy already though!
Huge thanks to HarperCollins for my review copy! :)
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo


  1. NO TO SLOW STARTS. *quickly revises WIP and fails so carries on with the thousands of words about waking up and having breakfast* also FANTASY FTW! What fantasy books have you read???????????????? I don't think I'll be buying this book BUT If I see it in the library I may give it a try., :) GREAT REVIEW ROCKY.

    1. Your story is fab!! Don't start editing right now. That's for AFTER you finish. ;D

      Oh, gosh. Uhhmmm... I've read Eragon, Shadow and Bone, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, The Spook's Blood, The Lost Island of Tamarind... and, recently, Take Back the Skies. :)

      Thank you!! :D


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