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Half a War

(Shattered Sea #3)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  25,270 ratings  ·  1,952 reviews
Previous cover edition for ISBN 9780007550289
For all editions see here

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-c
Paperback, 497 pages
Published March 10th 2016 by HarperVoyager (first published July 16th 2015)
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Paul If you have read the first two then you don't need to a review to read the third as it's the conclusion to the trilogy..If you haven't read either the…moreIf you have read the first two then you don't need to a review to read the third as it's the conclusion to the trilogy..If you haven't read either then start at the first won't regret it..(less)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  25,270 ratings  ·  1,952 reviews

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Start your review of Half a War (Shattered Sea, #3)
Robin Hobb
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How did I miss putting up a review of this?
This is book 3 of the Shattered Sea books by Abercrombie. Each book offers several viewpoint characters, but the emphasis is usually on one or two characters at the heart of the action. In my opinion, you can jump into this extended tale in any of the books and read a satisfying story, but I heartily recommend that you begin with Half a King and enjoy the whole unfolding of the world.

Things happen in this book. Well, things happen in just about any bo
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Oh! Oh! I'm all over the place with this ending! Just...


No spoilers, ok? This review is safe to read. By the way, that means that it took me forever to figure out how to write this without, you know, ruining everyone else's experience.


You're so welcome, random person!

Yarvi, amirite? That's who we all want to finish this journey out with! And while we do get to see how he plays the game, everything is not black and white.
Not that Yarvi was ever a good guy, but this time he might be
Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️
3 Stars

Man...I'm fairly conflicted in regard to my thoughts and feelings on this book...


...but I don't really want to talk about much of anything here in detail (if at all) for fear of laying down some unintentionally massive spoilers for the entire series.

So I will just bullet point some general points of conversation:

-The Overarching Series Twist
If you've read this, you know exactly what I mean.

Now, I don't think I'm a super smartypants or anything...


...but I had suspicions this twist was th
James Tivendale
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"'A warriors place is at Death's side' said Raith as he stood. 'So he can introduce her to his enemies'"

Half a War is the conclusive third book in Joe Abercrombie's Shattered Sea saga. It follows on smoothly from the events at the conclusion of Half a World and we find ourselves witness to the politics and events surrounding a very shaky alliance of nations. These nations of once bitter enemies being Vansterland ruled by The Breaker of Swords and neighbouring Gettland whose monarch is The Iron K
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Fantasy type books sometimes go over my head. I can't figure out who is who or work up enough energy to care anyways. Joe Abercrombie's Shattered Sea was totally different for me in that aspect. Even though the first book Half a King focused on Yarvi, the second one mostly on Thorn Half the World (my favorite) and then this one seems to be Princess Skara's domain.
Confused yet?
I usually would have been by this point, plus throwing in some new characters each book..just for shits and giggles.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. Half a War is well-written and a fitting end to the Shattered Sea Viking-inspired trilogy. There are some new plot twists that made me see the whole trilogy with new eyes. It's always had a Viking flavor to it, but the Beowulf vibes gained an additional intensity in this third book, as a coalition assembles to try to fight against the High King and his oppressive rule over their countries. Once again, a highly dangerous journey is key to the conflict, but in an entirely new and unexpe ...more
Em Lost In Books
my lowest rating ever for a Abercrombie but this was bad.
Sean Barrs
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 4-star-reads
Now this is how a series should end. Abercrombie has delivered a masterstroke that brings everything together and spits in the face of the previous two books. I love the way with each new book he added different point of view characters, but kept the old ones as side characters. In this final instalment a new protagonist brings all the rest together in a cause that is as bloody as it is tactful.

Revenge can be exacted with words too

Indeed, only half a war is fought with steel. Princess Skara’s
Robin (Bridge Four)
3.5 Only Half a War is Fought with Swords Stars

If you have read books by Joe Abercrombie (JA) before then you know he never wraps everything up at the end with tidy ribbons and bows and Happily Ever Afters. Nope nothing as trite and cliché as that, he gives the reader some hard truths about the characters they have come to love. He makes sure we know the world is not black and white but many shades of gray and most importantly…
“Every hero is someone’s villain.”

It is two years after the event
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My overwhelming emotion upon finishing Half a War was disappointment. I felt like Half a King was an OK book with a few annoying flaws that kept me from fully enjoying it. To Abercrombie's credit I felt like he eradicated a number of those issues in the second instalment of the series, Half the World, and that made that one a far more enjoyable read. Imagine my disappointment to discover that Half a War is like a sterioded up version of all the worst parts of the first book!

The story itself was
4.5 Stars

"Only half a war is fought with swords."

Amazing conclusion!
I really enjoyed this third and last installment of the Shattered Sea trilogy. The main plot point in this is the war with the High King, that was already build up to in Half the World.
Just like in the second book, we have new pov characters in this third installment (the old characters are kept as side characters). And as in the second book, I was sceptical at the beginning, because I already loved the old characters and d
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abercrombie
A really strong third instalment in this series from Abercrombie. It seems that with each book in this trilogy Abercrombie (in parallel with Yarvi) became darker and more ambitious: from the straightforward YA of the first book, to the epic fantasy adventure of the second and finishing with a brutal continent spanning war in this book in which good and evil are indistinguishable. Abercrombie's ambition was highlighted by his willingness to introduce an entirely new cast of 3 POV characters (only ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
And thus concludes Shattered sea I overall like the trilogy a lot but..

There are lot of buts here despite high rating I given to each.That is because there this could have been favorite shelf material but..

Let's start from the beginning. When I heard the Lord Grimdark is making YA trilogy I was intrigued. Abrecrombie is someone who likes to use well established tropes and and twists the and turns them. It's kind of like Glokta before and after Gurkhul dungeons, established tropes get the same tr
"Mother War has arrived, and she will cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness." A dark forecast, but sadly enough this series finale is quite a letdown.

Bleh, what a disappointing end to such an epic series. I loved “Half a King”, I thought the second book was great, and I hoped that this tome would deliver an exciting, action-packed, bloody finale. I was proven wrong. So WRONG! It was even so bad that reading the last 100 pages became a real struggle because this story let me down on so many
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has
Mother War's long shadow has once again covered the Shattered Sea. Grandmother Wexen has built an unfathomably enormous army and means to crush all who stand against her.

Half A War was an interesting conclusion to the Shattered Sea trilogy. The story takes place three years or so after the events of Half the World. The uneasy alliance between Gettland and Vansterland still exists, but has been largely toothless as their ally Throvenland could attest to since they were eradicated and their allies
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

I’m a completionist at heart, especially when it comes to reading. When I’ve experienced most of a story, a part of me demands to know how it all ends – even if I have not “loved” the overall series. And this character trait explains why Half a War ended up on my reading list after Half a King and Half the World underwhelmed me.

As this tale begins, three years or so have passed since the events in book two. The Shattered Sea is now ripped apart by war. Gettland
This review has given me real trouble. I LOVED the first book, liked the second quite a bit, and trusted that Abercrombie would give me whatever I needed to love this one, too. In a weird way that I still don't understand, this third book in his Shattered Sea trilogy has not managed to meet my expectations, even though I'm not sure I had expectations to meet, beyond that I wanted to love it. I'm sort of devastated that it didn't work for me.

While reading, my blood pressure skyrocketed from the s
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

3.5 Stars

I have loved this trilogy and I have to admit that I feel somewhat guilty about the fact that I didn't rate this final book in the trilogy as high as the two prior books. I base my rating strictly on my enjoyment of the story and I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first two books. These books are the only books by Joe Abercrombie that I have read and I guess I had hoped for an ending that would feel satisfying and a little
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Joe Abercrombie’s Young Adult series comes to a close in this final book of The Shattered Sea trilogy. A fine ending if there ever was, though I’m afraid I will sound a lot more negative than I mean to be in this review. It’s just that compared to the incredible showing of the two preceding novels, Half a War may just trail just a tad behind in awesomeness. Still, you can be sure this third book is not to be missed.

Natalie Monroe
3.75 stars

Mother Kyre clutched painfully hard at both of Skara's hands. "Whatever happens, you must live. That is your duty now."

My reaction to the ending:

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first: What the hell happened to the slavery plot line? Did it slip through the tangled web of Father Yarvi's deep cunning plans and vanish into an alternate dimension? A dimension where Yarvi doesn't become a total dick, the final battle isn't the equivalent of a cheap action movie, and Isruin actua
Review for "Half a King"
Review for Half the World

This was a fitting, if bleak, end to the series. Much like the previous two installments this book had a new set of focus characters along with the full cast from the last two books. This book tells the story of the final confrontation with the High King and grandmother Wexen from the perspective of Koll (pupil to Father Yarvi), Princess Skara (of Throvenland), and Raith (cup bearer of Grom-gil-Grom).

This was a rather minimalist book. Th
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. For when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you"

This is not a quote from this book.

It's actually a Nietzsche's quote from Beyond Good and Evil but it could easily be this book's tagline.

Just like with Queen of Fire this book was not exactly what I expected, and not exactly what I wanted.

I felt annoyed at getting new PoVs. We already had Thorn and Brand from the last one! Did we reall
Mr. Matt
And the trilogy draws to a close. Half a War did exactly what I expect out of the conclusion of a series. It brings all the story lines to an end. It answers questions. It feels satisfying.

Like the other books in the series, Half a War focuses on a new character. In this case, the young Princess Skara. Her grandfather's kingdom, Throvenland, is caught up in the war between Gettland and the High King. Very early in the book, her grandfather is slain and, penniless and without support, she finds h
David Sven
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As good as the first book and a good conclusion to the series. Book 2 is still my favourite - I reckon.

Joe Abercrombie does his First Law trick of subverting who we've come to think are the heroes and villains. After all, every hero is somebody's villain.

The elf magic was a nice twist and raises the interesting question of what universe this book takes place in. Whatever the answer, there's room for more stories should Abercrombie want to write more adventures in it.

Again, John Keating delivers
Mayim de Vries
I started reading Half a War with half a heart. I guess the Abercrombie gloom finally caught up with me and furthermore, I was scared to read the story about a dangerous journey and personal growth once again. Somebody said that Joe Abercrombie has one set of characters and only names them differently to tell the same tale in slightly different way and I’m inclined to agree with this verdict. At the same time, I appreciate that he does so with a quality above average and a very distinct Abercrom ...more
The Shayne-Train
I'm letting out a big, damp, heartfelt sigh of that particular joy/sorrow of finishing a series that was damned near perfect.


The three books in this series delighted and held me spellbound. The characterization was top-notch, as I've come to expect from J-Aberz. (Yeah, I gave him a nickname. I frequently nickname things I love. Deal.) It has the perfect beginning, middle, and end. The respective books of those three states so wonderfully did what they needed to, e.g.:
David Katzman
This review is for the full Shattered Sea trilogy.

*Sigh.* I was blown away by The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. One of the best fantasy trilogies that I’ve ever read with rich, compelling characters, truly unpredictable plot twists and some pointed social commentary. And then he comes out with this relatively boring series that lands somewhere between young adult and mainstream adult fantasy. I really have very little positive to say about it. About the only good thing that I can say is
The Goblin Times
Full spoiler free review on my blog The Goblin Times
Here is a small 5 bullet review:

1. Still as fast paced as the previous one.

2. I didn't really connect with any of the characters unfortunately like I did with Yarvi, Thorn and Brand. Not even with Koll and he already had the advantage of me knowing him when he was younger. Still, following Skara as she navigates politics was fun and Raith was also fine. I think more time next to his brother would have done wonders to his development

3. I liked h
Sometimes I think the reason Abercrombie writes the way he does is just so people will quote him. I find it hard to believe that every character in one world would deliver such wise and analogical lines of dialogue. Even characters who are referred to as being less intelligent talk the same way as the wise old ministers, who say the same shit as the rulers. And sure, they have individual phrases that they repeat until the words should be dead and buried, but it sounds like it all comes from the ...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Half a War [Sept 1, 2019] 14 19 Sep 15, 2019 06:35AM  
Play Book Tag: Half A War 4 stars 1 12 Dec 16, 2018 08:53AM  
Club literario: Serie 1: 3/3-Media guerra_El mar quebrado (15.05.2018-14.07.2018) 20 31 Aug 09, 2018 10:18AM  
Who else wants a spinoff? 6 50 Apr 19, 2016 07:12AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: HAW: General Discussion (No Spoilers!) 14 57 Aug 03, 2015 08:17PM  

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Joe Abercrombie was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He moved into television production before taking up a career as a freelance film editor. During a break between jobs he began writing The Blade Itself in 2002, completing it in 2004. It was published by Gollancz in 2006 and was followed by two other books in The First Law trilogy ...more

Other books in the series

Shattered Sea (3 books)
  • Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)
  • Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)

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