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?
Half the World is more interesting and less cliché than the first book, Half a King. This book isn’t told from Yarvi’s point of view anymore. Although Yarvi is in the book, the main character (Thorn) is female, which I feel is rare in fantasy fiction, and she’s a badass son of a *****. She has some witty lines, come backs, and she’s confident. Thorn matures and strengthens her skills over the course of this novel, and Joe Abercrombie has written that gradual growth effectively. At times, she’s weak, and at other times, she’s strong. This sounds like a funny thing to comment on, but it’s easy for a writer to put a strong female character in a novel who doesn’t have any weaknesses. And that’s not believable. Thorn sometimes says this she shouldn’t and sometimes she’s overconfident. At times, this sets her back, believably so.
And this is what’s great about the Shattered Sea novels – all of the characters are flawed and sometimes deformed. Yarvi is half a king, and the other main character, Brand, is the opposite of Thorn. He doubts himself and he’s not a warrior. Over the course of the novel, he develops feelings for Thorn, and at first I thought this a little strange. I didn’t sense an attraction there in the first third of the novel. And then at the end of the novel when they…you know…I seemed a little jarred from it. It didn’t seem organic to have a sex scene between them in this novel.
This book felt like a lot of travel/journey to me, and although a lot of unexpected events occurred, it definitely felt like the novel was in place just to set things up to happen in the final novel, Half a War (due out in August 2015). I think Half the World, which is 500 pages, could’ve been trimmed down a bit. It definitely jumps between the characters a little too often.
I would recommend this to fiction and fantasy lovers, but make sure you read the first in the trilogy.
My Score: 8/10