Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > Half a War

Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, y-a, 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 family has been murdered by the minions of the ruthless High King. She escaped death in the disguise of a slave; she is left almost friendless and completely vulnerable. But, words are weapons too. And she knows the one place she can go to use them: The Shattered Sea. The enemies of the High King need little more reason to go to war, but when a young Princess gives it to them they are more than happy to oblige; they are more than happy to sharpen their swords and set their sails for mother war.

The familiar faces of the series rally to her cause. She convinces them that their former actions boarded upon cowardice; thus, the warriors of The Shattered Sea are eager to prove her wrong, and crush their enemies in the process. However, despite the pretence of a quest that boarders upon the heroic and the just, the series ends with you wondering if the good guys really one the day. I think Abercrombie imparts a nice little bit of wisdom in this; he suggests that someone’s hero is another’s villain and vice-versa. Through this it indicates that only Farther Peace can reign through a combination of lesser evils, but evils nonetheless.

Some good characters, but he has written better

The problem with writing characters that are as memorable as Sand dan Glokta and Logan Ninefingers (The First Law Trilogy) is that the reader expects every character written after to be just as good. So, ultimately when these high expectations are not met it results in a let-down. Father Yarvi is a deeply cunning, and a ruthless man, but he would melt under the gaze of Glokta. All the warriors, and their fathers, in the entire Shattered Sea would crumble beneath the wrath of the Bloody Nine. The only character that stands out the most in this series is Thorn Barthu. She is a woman who is as strong as a shield wall and has a temper like a battle axe. She really was forged in the fires of mother war. The characters in this series are good, but that is as far as they could ever go.

I have really enjoyed this series, but Abercrombie’s previous books are much better in every sense. I think if you compare this to the brutal revenge plot of Best Served Cold then it pales in comparison. If you compare the fantasy elements to the accomplished system in The First Law Trilogy then it, too, pales in comparison. Don’t get me wrong this is a good book, and the ending really brought it all together, but I know the author can do much better.

The Shattered Sea
1.Half a King- An enjoyable three stars
2.Half the World- A fair three stars
3.Half a War- A good warmongering 3.5 stars.
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Reading Progress

July 11, 2015 – Started Reading
July 11, 2015 – Shelved
Finished Reading
July 13, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
September 23, 2015 – Shelved as: y-a
February 22, 2016 – Shelved as: 4-star-reads

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