With the popularity of Game of Thrones, a love for the fantasy genre is reaching new levels. It is this backdrop of fantasy-hungry readers that makes Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King a great new addition to the realm of elves and swords.
Prince Yarvi is not a likely candidate for the throne. With a deformed hand and a desire for a quiet life, he has been preparing to enter the Ministry since childhood. When his brother and father, the king, are both killed , Yarvi is tasked by his mother to seek revenge for his murder against an enemy in another land. Quickly, Yarvi must accept his duties as the ruler of the Black Throne and complete secure revenge for his kingdom. However, on his missing Yarbi is quickly betrayed by his Uncle Odem and thrown into the sea. By a miracle, he is rescued and sold into slavery on a pirating vessel. With a little luck, he meets a beaten man named Nothing and a few others who join with him to seek revenge against Odem, the true murderer.
Joe Abercrombie tells a story that is part Game of Thrones, part Vikings and part pirate novel. The story of recovering what has been taken from you is as old as the beginning of time, but Abercrombie’s characters are really what make the book. Yarvi begins as a mewling kitten of a teenager and slowly becomes a capable figure who focuses less and less on his deformity and more on the protection of others. Nothing is a shadowy figure with an important past. Even in chains, he seems an impressive figure. Yarvi’s entire family, including his father and his mother, “The Golden Queen,” are entirely unlikeable and untrustworthy from the start. The love of a parent seems very far from Yarvi, though he finds family elsewhere.
Half a King is a quick and enjoyable read. Readers who are just getting into the fantasy genre will find this book a great place to start and those who have spent a long time wandering in the realm of elves and kingdoms will find the religions and details of this story fascinating.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie is available July 15, 2014 from Del Rey.