Source: purchased by husband (hardback).
Genre: epic YA fantasy.
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? (Goodreads)
My rating: 5/5.
As seems to be the trend with me these days, it took me several weeks to get my act together and finally write this review (I’m not making any promises about it being coherent or anything, mind you). Warning: this is a second book in the series so there will be some unavoidable spoilers for Half a King. You can read my review of the first part here.
I really, really liked this book. I nearly didn’t give this series a chance because I wasn’t too impressed by The First Law trilogy, but I’ve never been more happy to be wrong about an author.
The story picks up soon(-ish) after the events of Half a King. Prince Yarvi is Father Yarvi now and is an important man whose job it is to keep the peace in his country. The story doesn’t revolve around his adventures only – in fact, the main characters are Thorn and Brand, two teenagers from Yarvi’s hometown.
They’re both training to become soldiers – but Thorn is a girl, and girl soldiers are generally frowned upon there, and Brand’s moral compass is too accurate to follow orders of dubious intent. Father Yarvi, who seems to have a soft spot for discarded people, collects both of them and makes them a part of his crew. They set off on a mission to win more allies against the High King and his evil (or just too-powerful) Minister, Grandmother Wexen.
And that’s all you need to know of the plot! While I know much of the focus is on the crew’s adventures and travels, I felt like the most important part of the book was the development of Torn and Brand. And I don’t just mean Thorn’t combat training, but personal stuff, too. They both have to learn their limits and generally grow up on this trip. Thorn, whose personality greatly resembles her nickname, was an instant favourite. I know we’re not meant to like her from the start because she’s really a brat, but I did. And I always had a thing for the quiet type guys so Brand wasn’t hard to like, either.
Having read about 1500 pages about intensely obnoxious characters in The First Law trilogy, I continue to be surprised by how much I’m liking Yarvi and his bunch of misfits. It’s not just Yarvi, Thorn and Brand – the whole cast of supporting characters is well thought out and I enjoyed seeing some of the characters from Half a King making an appearance here.
Right? :) (I’m sure Joe would be thrilled to have his writing turned into inspirational fortune cookie quotes!)
All in all, Half a War is definitely one of my most anticipated reads. I can’t wait to see what adventures Yarvi and his crew will get themselves into and if I’ll get more of Thorn’s story, I’ll be a happy camper.
Possible spoilers in white so please only mark it if you’ve read this: I’ve been talking with my husband who’s also a fan of the series and we’ve been discussing the possibility that the Shattered Sea cultures are not set in a fantasy world per se, but rather in a futuristic version of our world. It may be that I’m merely stating the obvious, but I tried paying more attention now and I think it’s possible – not the geography, I’m not sure about that, but the elf ruins look an awful lot like steel and glass skyscrapers and Skifr’s magic weapon was a gun, right? End spoiler.
Have you read Half the War? How about Half a King? What did you think?
How do they compare to other Abercrombie books in your opinion?
I’d love to hear from you! :)