Joe Abercrombie has been on my list of authors I’ve really wanted to read and Half a King didn’t disappoint. It is fast-paced, a little gritty, excitiJoe Abercrombie has been on my list of authors I’ve really wanted to read and Half a King didn’t disappoint. It is fast-paced, a little gritty, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable.
Prince Yarvi is immediately sympathetic. With one crippled arm and two disappointed parents, Yarvi’s future is forever changed when his father the King and favored older brother are murdered, leaving him next in line for the throne. Betrayal soon follows and while Yarvi is nearly killed, a bit of luck and some quick thinking leave him alive, but sold into slavery.
As weak as his arm is, Yarvi’s mind is equally strong. As an outcast, he earns the loyalty of other outcasts while plotting first his freedom, and second his revenge. Yarvi is a complex character, inheriting a throne he didn’t want but refuses to let be stolen from him. All the characters in this novel have depth to them. Abercrombie creates twists in both the plot and in the characters. Much like young Yarvi, the reader can never entirely trust anyone or know what hidden surprises and motivations they may have. Everyone is trying to manipulate the others and that keeps you guessing until the very end.
Half a King is the first volume in the new Shattered Sea series. It tells a complete story on its own and can be read solo. Abercrombie’s writing skills are on full display here creating a world, characters and story that is a thrill to read. I’m looking forward to future installments in what promises to be a great series. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.
I had heard a lot of good things about Robert Jackson Bennett, but City of Stairs was the first book of his I had read. I understand now why everyoneI had heard a lot of good things about Robert Jackson Bennett, but City of Stairs was the first book of his I had read. I understand now why everyone has such good things to say about him. He’s earned it. City of Stairs is wonderfully complex, thought-provoking and wildly entertaining.
City of Stairs takes place in a world that was once dominated from the city of Bulikov and the gods who built it. The gods have been killed and the people who were formerly enslaved by them now rule in Bulikov. The city and the country have been devastated and the people are forbidden from acknowledging much of their history or even the existence of lingering magic. The story centers around the murder of a visiting scholar from the now-ruling empire of Saypur and the enigmatic ambassador sent to investigate, Shara Thivani and her even more enigmatic assistant Sigrud.
The world building in this story is detailed, fascinating and unique. The political machinations that are revealed throughout make you reexamine the roles of all the principal characters throughout the book. The characters are layered and the events that take place reveal more and more about them as the story progresses. There are so many things going on in this book and all of them interesting: the history of the world, the gods themselves, where they came from, what they did and why, how they were killed, if they were killed, the murder, political ambitions on both sides and the various futures that some are trying to stop and others to bring about.
City of Stairs can be enjoyed on many levels. It entertains as a straightforward mystery in a fantasy setting and it also can be enjoyed for its many deeper layers with political intrigue, magic and fascinating characters. It’s worth reading the book just to meet the character of Sigrud even if for nothing else. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book. ...more