Wednesday, March 4, 2015

'Half a King' by Joe Abercrombie

“I swore an oath to be avenged on the killers of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy...

The characters weren't bad. 
Yarvi was interesting. I didn't like him. But he was interesting. He had a backstory to him. A past. He was haunted by the torture from his parents and brother. His family ignored him. Just because of his hand. He is quite cunning. I'll give him that. He uses that cunning to boost him. He's his mother's son definitely. He was a prince. But he was never treated as so. So he never got the airheaded thoughts that some princes get. Which is great. But he wasn't raised as a son. He was seen as the kingdom's weakling. A fool even if you underestimated him. He changed, though. He became an asset. Someone you would never dare underestimate. I liked that. He seemed weak at first. But he turned into a strong man. 
Sumael was actually pretty cool. She was badass and smart. She was determined. I liked her a lot. She could have been a great heroine. She was smart. And had places to go. Her skills made her important. You notice how they all followed her? They wanted to make sure they got home safely. It's a large burden. But Sumael handled it perfectly. 

The friendship bond between the oarmates was great. I really loved it. They were brothers of a different kind. They stuck together and braved through the worst of weather. Nothing but the Last Door could separate them. 
The emphasis on friendship was great. It just proves that romance isn't always important. Romance sometimes is not important at all. This book shows that friendship is important. The bond between friends can go beyond making jokes. It can help in the worst of situations. Your closest friends can be the crutches you lean on if you need help. Your worst enemy becoming a friend. 

I wish there was more action. I didn't particularly like the fights. They weren't very action-y. I expected more. I expected more fights in general. Yarvi was trying to reclaim the throne. There would be more fights. We had only the last battle. And the fight between Nothing and Odem. 
The fights weren't long. And they weren't very descriptive. I wanted more. More played-out swordplay. Or something of the sort. 
The fight between Yarvi, Shadikshirram, and Ankram...was wow. I liked that fight the best. (And don't blame me for putting Ankram in the fight. He was there after all.) This battle showed Yarvi's quick-thinking and cunning. He didn't have time to think. Only react. He didn't have the physical strength. Only the reflexes and mental prowess. But that was enough. 
My favorite fight with the most action was the one between Nothing and Odem. It was a good match. The two both good. But Nothing was better. We all knew it was a losing battle. Odem should have surrendered or something. But man...the shock of Nothing's identity must have crippled Odem a bit. (I'll gleefully admit I guessed the secret. But I read the it doesn't count. Kinda does, though. The end doesn't reveal much!) 

The romance was meh. I didn't feel for it. I didn't care for either girl being with Yarvi. 
We had another love triangle. If you care to consider it that way.
Isruin as a character wasn't the best. I liked her at first. Until she destroyed the kingdom. I don't get that. Why did she do it? I have another question. Why does Isruin offer a better kiss? Does she really think it will work? Or is she being sly and teasing Yarvi? (If it's the latter, that's quite rude.) 
There was something between Sumael and Yarvi. They both knew it. Everyone else knew it. Neither party cared to act upon it, though. I saw chemistry. But I didn't see why. Was it Yarvi's cunning that lured her in? Or something else. (Mind you, Yarvi isn't the more handsome or good guy. And he isn't an Uthil.) And letting her go! Gosh. Yarvi really doesn't care for a relationship. Which is rare among young adult men. They want a woman or man. And that's it. They'll spend the majority of the book looking for their Soul Mate. There felt like a hint of something more. They both could have done something. But neither did. Such a shame. I can hear the readers bemoaning the relationship sinking under the waves. 

The ending. I didn't like it. It seemed...too downplayed. I wanted more. I didn't like how things happened. 
What happened to Sumael? Did she go home? And Yarvi. Why did he do that to Gundring? Why? He chose to be that person. Even though he tried not to in the beginning. (Showing how drastically he changed.) 
There are many questions and no answers. 

I felt like I was deceived the entire book. We were told that there would be an adventure. Yarvi trying to become king.
But we didn't get this. Yarvi didn't try. I know there was a reason. (You can't really try in chains.) He didn't really care! Then, we got to the wasteland. And he started caring. I was struggling through the book until the wasteland. I felt cheated. The premise was unlike what I read. 
The story still feels like a cheat. He didn't end up doing much for the throne. (Even if you know how it ends.) Still! He only fought this one battle. And joined forces with his county's enemy! I don't see the pursuing his throne. Or anything.
He only thinks of Odem's death. That's all. (And maybe Isruin's kiss? Kidding kidding.) 

Sunny with some clouds

1 comment:

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