Friday, July 11, 2014

Early Review: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website

“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.

Yarvi isn't exactly the hero type. He's sort of a sniveling, weak, Crouch-In-A-Corner-And-Cry kind of guy. He was born with a jacked-up hand, which means that he's considered a useless weakling, even though he's the son of the king.
Fortunately for him, the throne isn't something he wants. Nope. He just wants to take a test, and become a Minister.
A Minister is basically an adviser to the king that lives a celibate life.
The night before his test, his uncle comes pouring thorough the door and announces that both his father and brother have been killed.
Long Live King Yarvi!

I don't actively seek out stories like this one, because there's mostly a bunch of gory sword fights, epic travels to distant lands, and unwashed heroes with B.O. and greasy hair. It's not my thing.
However, there were lots of rave reviews popping up all over the place, and it's a young adult novel. How could I resist?

So Yarvi sets out to invade the Kingdom responsible for his father and brother's death. Even though both of them were unkind and/or cruel to him, it's his duty (according to his mother) to avenge their deaths. Luckily, he has his uncle (the only family member to show him kindness) with him, and his sweet cousin/fiancee waiting for his return.
Besides, he's sworn an unbreakable oath to the gods...
That's a big deal in this sort of book, in case you didn't know.
Except that everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Yarvi ends up on the wrong end of a slave ship, with nothing but his nubby hand and the instinct to survive. Well, and that pesky unbreakable oath.

Ok. So this is one of those stories where not everyone is what they seem. In fact, you'll end up loving some of the characters you originally hated, and hating some of the characters that you originally loved.
Yeah, I'd say that pretty much everyone in this story surprised me in one way or another.
And the ending comes out of nowhere. It's veeery good.


Tabitha (Not Yet Read) said...

I like it when you're fooled by characters like that! I can't wait to read it. Unwashed bodies *shivers*


LOL! Me too! Hope you like it. This one seems universally well-received!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Mmm. I love Abercrombie's adult series. I need to get this one. :) Thank you.

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