So the first book I completed in August was Half a King by Joe Abercrombie, the first in the Shattered Sea Trilogy. This was a relatively quick read, only taking one night and a little bit the next morning; but I am glad to say that it dragged me out of my reading slump and rekindled my love of reading after an entire month away.
Half a King is the story of discovery, after his Father’s and Brother’s untimely deaths, Prince Yarvi is thrust into Kinghood. Although he is somewhat a humoured King, labelled as Half a King by his realm thanks to his deformation, his hand being stumped with only knuckles length of one finger. And to top it off, he never wanted to be King; he was about to be sworn to the maester association of the world.
Yarvi’s first act as King is to follow the advice of his Uncle and Mother (who pretty much hates him too), and to attack the people responsible for his Father’s death. However, Yarvi is tricked, ambushed and usurped by his Uncle; thrown to his assumed death in the ocean. Thankfully he survived, is thrown into slavery and adventure ensues. Yarvi bands together with some unlikely friends, learns his strength, puts his knowledge to the test, and solves some of the hardest problems set to him… who actually killed his Father?
Yarvi, as a character, is strong and well defined; he knows people stare and laugh, he knows no one takes him seriously and they all doubt him. He lets this really beat him down, you see him struggle, but you also see him develop. Its not an overnight development, its the kind that takes an adventure to change him. He learns about his strength, his cunning, his ability, and even more of his limitations.
Yarvi bands together with some unexpected people; I’m not going to name them because it would spoil a few moments that really make the middle of the book. But these all bring something really unique and wonderful to the tale, and there are some really strong emotions linked to these characters that pull at your heart strings.
The plot is really, really, really fast. In adventures, even those bent on revenge, you tend to find a lot of dawdling as they journey from one place to another; but you don’t find that here. Yes, there is travelling, but you don’t just have scenes of them walking along chatting about one thing or another; the exciting parts are plucked out and the rest of the journey is given a sentence or two.
Overall, this is a four star read for me; I think a little more resolution after the final climax would have made the story reach the five star mark. Either way, I loved it and I plan on continuing with the series, if not this month- definitely next!