I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Half a King

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Half a King
by Joe Abercrombie
YA Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.


Half a King is a fun and quick read, but it was not a very memorable fantasy debut for me.  But because the action in the story moves quickly and has a number of good twists and surprises, I think for anyone looking for a solid fantasy read with interesting, quirky characters, this would be a good choice.  I suppose I am hesitant about giving this book full marks though because I didn't feel the story stood out enough for me.

Prince Yarvi is the type of resourceful and thoughtful main character that I do enjoy reading about.  His cleverness helps him many times in the story, and I enjoyed how he outsmarted people.  Athough his cunning did not always have a good outcome for his plans, he learns and grows from them, so that by the end he sheds the doubts and worries that made him sometimes annoying and whiny in the beginning.  He's flawed, but he has lots of room to grow, and the author developed him throughout the story in very interesting ways.

Yarvi has a group of friends who are also interesting in their own way.  It's not obvious that this group would work together well, but their friendship was touching in many ways, and that element of a mismatched group coming together is probably the best part of this story.

There are many dark moments which missed it's emotional mark in my opinion because we don't really dwell too much on the heart of these characters and their relationship.  It's hard to describe, but I often felt a little distanced from their plight and I could not really appreciate the darker and sad moments as much as I should.  The book reads more like an adventure tale, and yet with the potential depth of the characters and the darkness of the world, I think it could have been a much more epic story.   I may be putting too much of my expectations on this book though, because overall I feel like it is very enjoyable and I did read it quickly and was eager to know how it would all end.  This is just not a book that will stay with me.

(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.)

Share this post: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr
Scroll Up


  1. I had similar issues with this book. While the characters had potential, I never really connected with them, or cared what happened to them. I guess I needed just a little bit more character development. But, like you, I still enjoyed the book, and I'm sure I'll continue on with the series. Lovely review! :D

  2. I don 't know why but from the synopsis, Prince Yarvi kind of reminds me of Tyrion Lannister from "Game of Thrones" with the whole "not living up to his father's expectations" thing. It sucks that the book didn't live up to its full potential but...I might still pick it to give it go.

  3. I like that it has some dark potential. I would like even better if that potential had been realized. Still, I think Half a King sounds fascinating enough, and I'm glad you enjoyed it despite feeling some distance from the characters. I may end up giving it a try and hope I'll like it better!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  4. Yes, it does have a lot of potential, although I can't really compare it to GoT - but that darker edge would have been interesting to explore more. Perhaps making this YA really hurt the story.

  5. I will be interested in reading your review of the next book! I don't know if I will continue, at least I know it won't be a priority for me. And yes, better character development would have really improved the story.

  6. I really need to finally read GoT! I would be interested in seeing the parallels (and also finally watching the TV series) I hope you enjoy this one if you get a chance to read it!

  7. I hope you enjoy this too! Perhaps the characters and the darker edge will be delved into more in the next book, so this could potentially be a really great series.

  8. Solid fantasy with quirky characters, that does sound like my type of book :) I'm not always looking for the bets new fantasy book. Sometimes all I want is a 'good' book.

  9. I hope you will enjoy this one! I'm hoping the series will get even better too.