Friday, January 2, 2015

Review: "Half a King" by Joe Abercrombie

I finished it during the hell-time of my BART ride home during the wind storm. Debris on the tracks caused no end of delays and so I had nothing but time to finish my book (when I had enough room to raise my arms in the cramped train).

"Half a King" is a cheerful, lighthearted romp from Abercrombie's standards. His previous offerings were pretty brutal stuff, giving George R.R. Martin a run for his money in the "sadistic, twisted writer" department.

That's not to say I think "Half a King" was light and fluffy fare, mind you. It's Abercrombie, so it was pretty stark. He kept to his themes of severely flawed (physically and psychologically) and often misunderstood protagonists. The closest thing to a happy ending was for those characters who survived to the end of the book to still be alive. Though one could argue against that.

"Half a King" is not set in the twisted world of his "Blade Itself" series but in a new, quasi-Viking world. The protagonist, Prince Yavari who is born with a crippled hand and a soft heart, finds himself facing misfortune to misfortune. When he finds a way out, there's always a catch.

I found the book a quick read and the story flowed very well. I quickly started liking Yavari and enjoyed the plot twists on his journey of revenge.

Someone told me that the book was intended as a young adult novel. I can see that. I'd certainly push this on most kids I know. Though anyone who lets me push reading material on kids really qualifies as an unfit parent, so take that for what it's worth.

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