Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Prince Yarvi has always been an outcast and a disappointment to his parents. In a society which values strength of arms Yarvi disfigured hand has been a major handicap. Nonetheless Yari has used his brains and cunning to study to become a Minister and is about to take the exams before his father and elder brother are murdered. Thrust into kingship Yarvi lacks confidence to fulfill the role, nonetheless he swears an oath to avenge his family. He later learns that his uncle had his father murdered and attempts to do the same to Yarvi who is betrayed and left for dead. Made a slave Yarvi is still intent on fulling his oath and may acquire some strange companions to do so.

This novel is very much a coming of age story at its crux and explains the Young Adult classification. Yarvi is initially consumed by his lack of physical prowess and his status as an outcast but begins to trust his own strength as the novel progress.

While Yarvi is a cconvincing protagonist I found the support cast less fleshed out then I have come to expect from an Abercrombie novel. One of the reasons for this is Abercrombie has steered away from the multi points of view perspectives which he is so good at.

The world building is exceptionally well done and unintrusive. The world is set in a viking like setting with politics and religion well portrayed in particular.

Despite being the first volume in a trilogy the story stands very well on its own and I enjoyed the well foreshadowed plot twists,

Overall Abercrombie has delivered a solid novel but his characterization is somewhat below what I have come to expect. 8/10.