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Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Half the World

by Joe Abercrombie

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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Once more, reading this second volume of Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea Trilogy, I’ve found myself wondering how it came to be marketed as YA, since it’s quite deeper and more thoughtful than the usual YA fare – even taking into account my bias against this sub-genre. Of course the main characters are younger people set on a coming-of-age journey, and there is some romance involved, yet these factors can't be enough, in my opinion, to apply that label… My own musings aside, this middle book in the trilogy is even better than the first one, and it promises to lead toward a compelling and gripping finale.

  SpaceandSorcery | Dec 25, 2018 |
The second in his Shattered Seas Trilogy, Half The World continues the story, but in this outing the main character is a girl called Thorn. Thorn lives to fight and obtain revenge on her father's killer. She is in training to earn her place among the warriors of Gettland, even though the military appears to not want females. She is set up for failure and when things go wrong she is accused of murder. Her training partner, Brand goes to Minister Yarvi who is able to deliver her from the planned execution but the cunning Father Yarvi has a price that both these young warriors must pay.

Thorn and Brand find themselves added to the crew that Father Yarvi has put together and their journey takes them to strange places and through many adventures. The purpose of their quest to to find allies for their small country against the ruthless High King in order to free Gettland from his control, but on the way both Thorn and Brand find a chance for personal redemption and honor.

This fast paced adventure fantasy was a great read. Abercrombie borrows heavily from Viking lore to create a story that is thrilling and enthralling. As with most of his books, there is plenty of blood-letting, violence and plotting of revenge that keeps the pages turning. There are also great characters to play out the story, lots of wit and humor, and even some tender moments. I am looking forward to finding out how he ends this exciting trilogy. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 21, 2018 |
I’m not sure how to rate this one, but I’m going with 4.5 stars, rounded down. Why not 5? Well, the book lulls terribly in the early parts of the book, but the ending ramps up to screeching heights. There’s a lot of teen angst on both parts (Thorn and Brand), but they have adults that are competent, skillful mentors. There’s a couple terrible love-making scenes, but the fight scenes and battles are something terribly wonderful to behold.

I am not a fan of YA by any means, but one thing I like about this series (so far) is that Joe Abercrombie doesn’t “write down” to his audience. Most YA books assume that teens and young adults are endowed with the answers to life, the universe, and everything, and that all adults are inept, ineffectual, and downright stupid. This is not the case with this series, far from it.

One thing that wasn’t apparent early on was that this book didn’t take place immediately after “Half a King”, and that threw me off somewhat. Father Yarvi speaks as a wizened old minister in this book, and this left me lurching along for a bit, as I tried to figure out how much time had passed since the events of the first book.

Another thing I didn’t like was the awkward dialogue in portions of the book, mostly in the lulls and teen angst I mentioned earlier. Usually strong in Abercrombie’s books, the dialogue felt forced, almost like he was reverting to overused YA clichés and trope.

Still, this is a very good read. There’s a courageous warrior that has a strong moral compass, a belligerent female character that grows into a highly-skilled, highly-trained fighter, hand-picked to be the queen’s sword and shield. There’s political maneuverings and intrigue, and fantastic, intricate plot twists, double-crosses, and surprises. Looking forward to the next volume! ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
This book was really good. I simply love Joe Abercrombie's writing style and plotting and characters. Everything was so good about this book. I did feel like, compared to the first book, there weren't any shocking twists and that the end kind of dragged for me. But still, over all, I really really enjoyed this book (and I loved Brand and Thorn so much!) and can't wait to read the third one. ( )
  UDT | May 1, 2018 |
Originally Posted at www.csdaley.com

"You are lucky, Thorn. You are very lucky."

"Doubtless. Not every girl gets to be stabbed through the face."

I should just drop the mic and end the review with those quotes because honestly if those lines don't intrigue you then this is not the book for you. Half the World is the second book in the Shattered Sea trilogy. It is by Joe Abercrombie and anyone who knows me, knows that I think Abercrombie is one of the best writers out there right now. I hunger for Abercrombie books like a zombie needs a brain snack.

When Abercrombie said he was going to write a teen fantasy series I was a little apprehensive about how he would translate. One of my favorite things about him is he wallows in the muck. His books are grimy and violent and full of despicable people. He tends to write books with no clear heroes. He paints his world in shades of grey. Good people make mistakes and do horrible things. Bad people do heroic deeds. No one thinks they are the villain.

I was pleasantly surprised with Half a King (Shattered Sea Book 1) but not completely knocked out like I have been with Abercrombie's adult books. While it was still violent and gritty (especially for a teen book) I just didn't totally identify with Prince Yarvi. I was much more attached to the characters around him. Although, I loved the story and the twists the story took. One of my favorite books of last year, just not quite as good as I was hoping.

Half the World is a complete marvel. It was everything I had hoped the first book would be and more. Easily one of my favorite teen books I have ever read. This is an amazing thing to me. It is fairly rare that a second book dramatically improves a series. It is even rarer when the first book was a very solid entry.

The second book has most of the major players from the first back for another round of intrigue and betrayal. They are however not the main players. Abercrombie switches it up and this story follows two young fighters, Thorn and Brand, as they find their way in a world about to explode into violence. This is what made the book a treat. The story feels more intimate. I cared more about Thorn and Brand. Their friendship feels natural, despite how different they are as people. Plus, Thorn absolutely kicks ass. She is my new favorite character.

Thorn and Brand carry this book all the way through. The book is like a runaway freight train and they are running along the top of it trying to save themselves and everyone they care about. They are not perfect characters. Both of them are broken. Both of them want something they feel will carry them out of the pain they are in. They are both wrong. Their story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. Did I mention Thorn kicks ass?

Prince Yarvi is still a major player in this story. Now he is Minister Yarvi. He is the puppet master supreme. Constantly manipulating the world around him to get the result he thinks will save his people. It became apparent to me very quickly that I liked Yarvi a lot more in this book. I think he works much better slightly off to the left of the story. Always there. Always important but not the main focal point of the story. Although, he is the main cog in the wheel that drives the plot forward.

Half the World was my favorite read so far this year. I am eagerly awaiting the final book in the series. Honestly, I am not sure how it could be better than this book but I know Abercrombie's skill as a writer will make the journey to find out a fun one.


Advance reading copy provided by Del Rey ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
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Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead

from Hávamál
The speech of the High One
For Eve
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He hesitated for just an instant, but long enough for Thorn to club him in the balls with the rim of her shield.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie's thrilling new series continues in the follow-up to Half a King, which George R. R. Martin hailed as "a fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go." Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill. Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior. She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland's deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit. Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon. Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption. And weapons are made for one purpose. Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path? Praise for Joe Abercrombie's Half a King "Half a King is my favorite book by Joe Abercrombie so far, and that's saying something."--Patrick Rothfuss "As in all Abercrombie's books, friends turn out to be enemies, enemies turn out to be friends; the line between good and evil is murky indeed; and nothing goes quite as we expect. With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, Half a King is definitely a full adventure."--Rick Riordan "Enthralling! An up-all-night read."--Robin Hobb "Polished and sharp, perhaps his most technically proficient novel yet. I dare you to read the first chapter and try not to turn the next page."--Brent Weeks "Half a King can be summed up in a single word: masterpiece. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a Viking saga. It's a revenge tale and family drama and the return of the prodigal son. But most of all, it's this: a short time alongside people as weak and blundering as we are and, in the midst of it all, as heroic. Far too short a time, as it turns out. What a wonderful book."--Myke Cole "Half a King is full of all the adventure I've come to expect from Abercrombie and a tenderness I never knew he had."--Sam Sykes"-- "Set in the same world as Half a King, Half a World follows a new protagonist, Thorn, a fifteen-year-old girl in training for the king's army. But even as she's learning the ways of war, she's also growing up...and falling in love for the first time"--… (more)

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