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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

This is a engaging, fast paced fantasy with good twists.
Half a King
by Joe Abercrombie
  • File Size: 1770 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0804178321
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 15, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
“A fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go.”—George R. R. Martin
“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 that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Prince Yarvi is a younger son and not expected to become the King. He was born with a deformity and has always been a disappointment to his father, brother and those who value the warrior brawn over brain. Only his mother, his uncle and his tutor, Mother Gundring have shown love and encouragement. Yarvi has trained to become a minister but right before he is to test as a noble scholar his father and brother are ambushed. Yarvi is troubled to become King (or half a King as many consider him) but, with the encouragement of his Uncle, he accepts. As one of his first acts he vows vengeance on those who murdered his father.

Yarvi and a small army go to face the alleged enemy. Although they didn’t find the leader of the clan, his men slaughtered many innocent villagers. As they were returning to their ship to go home Prince Yarvi meets betrayal and is left for dead in the carnage. Unexpectedly he lives and falls into the hands of his enemy. He can’t tell them who he truly is so he claims to be a ship’s cook and he is sold to a slaver.

Yarvi ends up as an oarsman with other slaves. His companions help him to learn to do one stroke at a time. Yarvi struggles to row, managing to grow muscles and strength as he plots escape and reclaiming his throne.

Yarvi’s learning comes in handy and he gains a promotion to supply officer. He manages better than his predecessor and provides better food and conditions for the other slaves who appreciate his efforts. Eventually Yarvi and some of his friends escape. Of course they face more hardships as they try to stay ahead of the ship’s Captain who pursues. Yarvi finally reveals his identity and a group of his friends agree to help him sneak into the castle to capture the false king. Clues picked up along the way reveal how extended the betrayal was and, before the band faces the impostor king, there are more secrets and twists to surprise everyone and to challenge Yarvi once again.

Yarvi is not the usual handsome, strong hero. Instead he is a deformed, weak, scholarly nerd who is scorned in his society of warriors. But Yarvi is shrewd and remembers the wisdom shared by his teacher. His friends are a wonderful mix of characters who have suffered through hardships and share different talents for the obstacles they face. I enjoyed the characters, the fast paced adventure and was pleased with the twists at the end. I recommend this to those who enjoy engaging fantasy.

I received this from Del Rey through NetGalley.

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