Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

March 3, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Half the World by Joe AbercrombieHalf the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie
Published: February 3rd 2015 by HarperVoyager
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

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?

A brilliantly crafted sequel to Half a King, Half the World takes us back into the world of the Shattered Sea, introducing us to two new protagonists and letting us catch up with some old favourites.

Thorn Bathu wants to become a warrior. Touched by Mother War, she’s more comfortable with a weapon in her hands than at any other time, but her abrasive nature distances her from her mother and those who would become her friends. One of these people is Brand, who has lived in dire poverty for most of his life and dreams of the riches and honour that becoming a warrior will give him. These two are unexpectedly thrown together by fate to serve on Father Yarvi’s ship, which is leaving Gettland to gather allies against the High King. Thorn and Brand are a delight, and getting to see this world and its politics through their eyes is wonderful. These two play off each other brilliantly – Thorn’s toughness and sharpness contrasts superbly with Brand’s gentleness and desire to ‘stand in the light’. Both these characters are deeper than they first appear – like all of Abercrombie’s characters – and it was great to see them learn and change, growing into the people they are going to be for the rest of their lives.

Seeing Yarvi from Thorn and Brand’s eyes was one of my favourite things about this book. Readers spent all their time in his head in Half a King, so I think they will also appreciate being able to see his deep-cunning mind from the outside. Yarvi is quite different in this book from when we met him. He’s now an accomplished Minister to King Uthil. He’s confident and unapologetic about his methods, playing a living game of chess with monarchs and their advisors to achieve his goals. Similarly, it was great to see what Brand and Thorn made of some of the other pivotal characters from the earlier book!

The world of the Shattered Sea has expanded incredibly in this book – with the characters literally sailing half way around the world in search for allies for Gettland against the High King. The Southern Empire is an exiting and interesting place, and I’m looking forward to – hopefully – finding out more about it in the next book. Readers are also exposed to more ‘elf’ technology and ruins in Half the World. This is another one of my favourite things about this world: seeing relics of our civilisation (or at least, a civilisation like ours) through the eyes of the uncomprehending characters. I always feel like I’m in one a joke that characters don’t know about.

I thoroughly enjoyed Half the World! It’s an accomplished sequel that improves on its predecessor in every way, and has left me desperate for the next instalment. Readers who are unsure of whether they will like Abercrombie’s YA series need not worry, everything that makes his adult novels spectacular is present in full force in these books.

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