Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grim Dark No More - Book Review: Half A King

Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie

Abercrombie is one of my absolute favorite writers working today, I only qualify that statement because a huge number of my favorites are dead. In any case, I wasn't sure what to think of his latest considering he is going outside  the fantasy universe that I have so willingly followed him into thus far, that of the First Law Trilogy, and The Heroes, Best Served Cold and Red Country = all of which are stellar works. So I wondered how Lord Grimdark (his twitter handle) would mix things up.

Enter Yarvi, a prince - but one with a crippled deformed left hand that makes him seem half a functional man, he can't hold a shield, row an oar or even pin his own broach properly. Suddenly when his father and older brother are murdered, he is thrust into the throne = one he never wanted or dreamt he would sit in.

Before long, treachery and dire situations one after another pile on and you love it. Abercrombie is not nearly so grim-dark anymore - not that that ever bothered me personally but I do know I felt the need to have a warning sticker on some of my earlier reviews - not so here. Still a gripping low magic fantasy, this series is tamer in the sense of visceral gore and no sex - quite a change from just finishing up Mark Smylie's The Barrow.

This book was a serious page turner - I say that tongue in cheek because even though I bought it when it was released last July, I listened to the audio-book. But this is like Hamlet if the worst possible thing continually happened to him. I have always loved Abercrombies twists in his books believable but true and Half A King may have some of the best yet.

Highly recommended. I anxiously await the next installment Half the World.

2 comments:

Keith West said...

I've got a couple of coupons from B&N. May have to use one of them on this one.

David J. West said...

I expected it to be good and was so pleased that it was even better than I expected.