[Arc Review] Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

ARC Reviews, Fry's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 18th February, 2015

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Arc Review] Half the World by Joe AbercrombieHalf the World by Joe Abercrombie
Series: Shattered Sea #2
Published by Del Rey on February 17th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.

Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.

She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.

Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.

And weapons are made for one purpose.

Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?

If you remember, I pretty much hated Half a King. Although it offered some of the author’s notorious plot twists and plenty of gore, it just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but after reading Half the World, I now know why. Half a King suffered from having just Yarvi’s point of view. The refreshing part of Abercrombie’s writing is that he offers such different voices to his characters, changing their internal monologue to suit their upbringing and their personality. Half a World offers us a dual point of view in the form of Thorn and Brand, and just having the separate points of view, despite having the characters in the same general area, made the book that much more enjoyable.

Thorn is a wild girl with notions of being a warrior. Despite her skill, the swordmaster is biased, setting the boys to bullying her, or sending them in to outnumber her. Despite persevering, she’s unlucky, killing one of the other trainees. Of course, this sends her straight to be sentenced to death, because what better way to get rid of someone hated?

Brand, on the other hand, is a boy with many scruples, who spends most of the book attempting to do good, yet trying to achieve his dreams. He can’t have everything he wants and has to, eventually, choose one path or the other. At least he stays true to himself, despite everything.

True to most young adult novels, though, they’re thrown into a romance. But, true to the author, their romance is awkward and pretty much the exact opposite of sexy or endearing. The man might be great at writing sweeping battles and one on one fights, but he’s absolutely no good when the sword is made of flesh. Thankfully, he didn’t have to just keep at it and was allowed to pan away. One thing I appreciate, because I’ve read some absolutely abhorrent sex scenes from this man.

Old characters show up. Yarvi and Rulf are present for most of the novel, and the setting is three years since the first book. Other characters from the first novel show up, but I really don’t want to spoil the surprise because I was certainly happy to see them. Anyway, most of the book is spent with our intrepid heroes following Yarvi around on his boat as he attempts to forge alliances and deal with political treachery. Even though it was the middle of the series, and I could tell everything is being set up for the next book, which is most likely going to be epic.

Much of the things I enjoy about Abercrombie’s book are present. There are some awesome, disorienting fight scenes. Some disfigurement. Some epic deeds. It all meshes together into a great story, and now I’m excited for the next installment.


Written by Fry


Probably in a dungeon somewhere. Game Master for the D’n’D actual play podcast Roll For Wenches .

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