Half a King. Book Review

half-a-king-uk-hbHALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie
HarperVoyager, h/b, 384pp, £12.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

When Yarvi learned his father and brother were dead – and with the news realised he was about to inherit the throne – he was already being primed for a future as Brother Yarvi; his fate was to sit beside the Black Chair as Minister, not to sit upon it as king. It was his now-dead brother who inherited both the strength to rule and a whole, healthy body, not Yarvi.

Now, under the watch of the Tall Gods and the Small, as always, he must take up a sword and lead a raid against the Vanstermen, and then marry his cousin… whether he wants to or not. Yarvi must not only bid goodbye to his father and brother, but also to his future, his reality, and even the messenger birds he has been caring for all these years.

Yarvi faces his enemy, the terrible Grom-gil-Gorm, the Breaker of Swords, and then the unexpected happens; his learning curve just became almost-vertical. Now it seems there is no one he can trust… No one but himself and his oath for revenge against those who stole his futures.

Half a King is woven with a narrative of delightful cunning as we have come to expect from Joe Abercrombie. This is a ‘to read in a day’ kind of book that is almost as impossible to put down as the wait for the next instalment will be.

Though aimed at a wider readership than Abercrombie’s previous work, and on that basis perhaps a little less lacking in torture and gore than fans will be used to, this story is no less gripping and its plot twists no less exciting as a result. The tight focus on Yarvi holds the reader’s attention, and the lack of page time spent on description and back story only fuels the furious energy with which the story progresses.