Half A King

Half A King

Book - 2014
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Heir to the throne Yarvi, prompted by the murder of his father, embarks on a kingdom-transforming journey to regain the throne, even though having only one good hand means he cannot wield a weapon.
Publisher: New York : Del Rey, [2014]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780804178327
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 336 pages : map ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: 1/2 a king


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JCLSteveC Apr 03, 2021

An epic adventure with betrayal and revenge.

lgmosher May 20, 2020

I'm sure there are words to describe how much I enjoyed this book but right now they escape me. Half a king was such a great book!

I couldn't put it down, I had to know what Yarvi was up to.... What would come of him, who Nothing truly was.

The fool strikes, she had said. The wise man smiles, and watches, and learns. Then strikes.

“Remember cunning children and stupid ones all drown very much the same.”

"What is the world coming to when an honest man cannot burn corpses without suspicion?” asked Nothing."

“Life is a risk,” answered Nothing. “All things, from birth on.”

The twist at the end of this book was amazing and unseen. If I were to read it again I might see the signs that I had missed but they are "covered up" so well that I could help but smile.

Half a king was wonderful. The change in Yarvi was a dark one but it made sense. It was nice to see real life happen in a book. Nothing that we thought would happen does and truly it is refreshing.

The character growth was done well and you truly latched onto them. I loved everything about this book and immediately leached onto the next one!

Apr 14, 2020

Joe Abercrombie proves that he has more that just one story in him (if you can even call his First Law world one story, which you CAN'T) with this riveting and compelling tale of betrayal, vengeance, slavery, death, and love. The titular "half a king" is a boy born with a malformed arm and hand who finds himself king of a northern, medieval-type country, one of several surrounding a large inland sea, when his father and brother are murdered. In a culture of hardened warriors and strained geopolitics, not to mention a feared and overbearing mother, he has an upward battle to prove himself worthy to sit on the throne. Then a bunch of stuff happens...

Compared to Abercrombie's other books, this is... shorter. That's about the only qualitative difference. It was written for "young and old adults" per Joe's website, but I have a hard time saying this is a "YA" book. It barely restrains Abercrombie's usual level of slaughter, betrayal, hatred, reversals, shocking deaths, and the like. It's much more bloody and brutal than many "YA" readers would be remotely comfortable with. There is nothing specific to the teen experience in these pages (other than a chaste kiss), so I reject the YA label with this book.

Is it fantasy? There is no magic, no dragons, no fantastic beasts, nothing supernatural going on, but it is an imaginary low-tech medivally-familiar world, which is kind of the default background for fantasy in the the general consciousness, so why not. It is certainly at least speculative fiction with its invented history, culture, and geography. The only intimations of fantastic elements come from the mention of "elves" with their "elf-stone" creations, some of which survive, and the "breaking of God" that happened millenia ago in this world, but if you read observantly you may come to a different conclusion as to the nature of this stuff.

Look, it's a fun story, full of twists and mayhem, and you can't help but root for the one-good-handed boy. The resolution is pretty hokey and epic all at the same time. It makes an easy entry point to Abercrombie's style, if you prefer a shorter and more direct novel than The Blade Itself. Those readers with prior Abercrombie experience already know what to expect when a chapter is titled "Kindness".

Oct 30, 2019

I will say this is an entertaining story, which just holds your attention and helps while away the time.

The story is a mixture of Camelot, Shakespeare, and other stories of old. It quaintly comes together centered around a young man who, because of a birth defect, who both court and family, had kicked him to the side, relegating him to fend for himself. From happenstance, he finds his life challenged to to point of death, inches from gaining the throne, and the criminal warfares who pledge themselves to his aid, to save his kingdom, and bring justice to the kingdom. Thus the story.

This is the first of three books. Frankly, I will not be reading the other two, as this story mildly entertained and captivated me. It was predictable, only held my interest, but never captivated or engaged me. Not a boring story, but only an entertaining story.

alburke47 Jan 25, 2018

(Audiobok Review) I've read some young adult over the last couple of years (I am young only at heart), and the only comparison Half a King had with them was that it had a young protagonist. Of course, this is young adult written by Joe Abercrombie, and it definitely felt more like a JA book than YA.

The crux of the story is prince Yarvi, scorned through his long life for having a crippled hand, becomes king at a young(ish) age. His countryfolk won't accept him, and endeavour to get rid of him. However, it turns out Yarvi is harder to kill than that stupid mosquito who gets into your bedroom when you're trying to go to sleep. Stupid bug. Great story though.

Yarvi runs through calamity after calamity, but learns as he goes and collecting friends along the way. The narrator was great, and made the story at least sound like it was YA (whatever the hell that is anyway), and don't let the genre tag out you off. Like your fantasy dark and not so epic, Half a King is definitely worth a look. And perhaps the young adults of today should be reading stories like this anyway...

Jan 23, 2018

A great story with a relatable character. Yarvi, the main character in the story has only 1 fully functioning hand. A good way to introduce a non traditional hero. He also gains a thrown and has it usurped by someone close to him early on. Embarking on a quest for revenge with a motley cast of allies he eventually learns a lot about himself and the strengths he has despite his weaknesses and trials. A great book for fans of the overcoming underdog!

Feb 17, 2017

The first chapter of the Shattered Sea trilogy. On the surface, it's a basic 'brains over brawn' revenge adventure, but there is a lot more going on once you get into the following books. I won't spoil it, but this series is not the genre it seems. There are a few plot twists in each book of the series, including a pretty good one in this book. Some people might have seen it coming, but I didn't. I agree with other reviewers, this book (and its sequels) were very hard to put down once you get started. It's a great read for fans of sword and sorcery adventures.

Jul 06, 2016

Excellent series

Feb 22, 2016

This book is the beginning of an epic fantasy series that is sure to delight fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. A young, crippled prince must face his destiny when his father and older brother are murdered--and his journey of revenge takes him much farther than he ever thought possible. Half a King is a little slow paced, but Abercrombie’s complex characters and rich world building keep the story going throughout. My favorite parts of this book? A flawed narrator, compelling supporting characters, and gritty battle scenes. Perfect for young adults and adults alike!

Aug 05, 2015

I'm now a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie - his action sequences are very well paced & gruesomely effective, his characters are beautifully flawed &/or troubled & his language use & writing style is great. These books are a great way in to his fantasy world, first seen in The Blade Itself & is a good option for young adults to explore his writing.
I'm hoping during this, my #2015ReadingChallenge to complete this trilogy in addition to the other trilogy that I chose.... just because I really like it!

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Feb 23, 2017

chaponniere thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Oct 14, 2016

The wise speaker learns first when to stay silent.


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