Sunday, July 19, 2015

Half a War: By Joe Abercrombie



Words are weapons.

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. If she is to reclaim her birthright, she must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge.

Only half a war is fought with swords.

The deeply cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head—a man who worships only Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil.

Some—like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith—are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others—like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver—would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her irons wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.


I have been a fan of Joe Abercrombie since he first wrote his First Law Trilogy back in 2009. Abercrombie is famous for being one of the founding fathers of Grimdark Fantasy, meaning his books are dark, full of amoral characters, and full of violence. Because of this, I had no idea how he was going to transition his writing style into that of a young adult fantasy trilogy, which the Shattered Sea series is.

I should have never worried.

Abercrombie proves his mastery in his chosen field as an author with the Shattered Sea series. Not only has Abercrombie retained a high level of action and intrigue, but he has also retained the complexity of characters and character development that originally drew so much attention to his First Law Trilogy. Villains are portrayed as heres, heroes act in a villainous fashion, and everything in between. My personal favorite characters in the series were Brand and Kroll, as both of these characters were plagued with indecision as to whether greatness by traditional methods or a quiet life  with the possibility of happiness was their goal, and the waring risks and plights that came with each of these decisions in obtaining these goals. That said, fans of Breaking Bad will absolutely love Abercrombie's books whether the be adult or young adult.

Oc course, an issue that had only been hinted at in previous books in the series, but is much more thoroughly addressed in Half a War, are the Elf Relics. These relics and their ruins and the history associated with them are positively jaw dropping in what they reveal, to the point that while I don't want to give anything away, I will say that after completing this final book in the trilogy that I went back to the beginning to re-read the series because of the stark change in light that this information reveals.

All in all, I loved Half a War and the entire Shattered Sea Series, and readers of all ages will find themselves swept away by this story. The characters develop and are plagued with conflicts and indecision, the plot is fast paced, filled with intrigue, and non stop action, and the writing is just plan superb. That said, if you are looking for a book where  everyone ends up happy and there are clear cut good guys and bad guys, with easy decisions, that's fine, but then this is not the book for you. However if you're looking for a book that will keep you up all night finishing it, and will leave you staring at the last pages wanting to know more, then readers need not look any further.


Publisher: Del Rey

Published: July 28, 2015

Price: $26.00

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