Half the World By Joe Abercrombie Review

“Thorn’s father always said the moment you pause will be the moment you die, and she’d lived her life, for better and mostly worse- by that advice. So she bared her teeth in a fighting snarl – her favourite expression, after all – pushed up from her knees and went at Brand harder than ever.”

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie is the second instalment in the ‘Shattered Sea’ series. See my review of the first book Half a King for further details about the author.

In this instalment, we continue from where we left off in the first book. Father Yarvi is now King Uthil’s minister and he is known as a cunning man with schemes afoot from the very beginning of the book. Our two new protagonists Brand and Thorn battle it out on the training field, hoping to impress Hunnan and take the warrior oath. But Hunnan is a sly, tricky man, who does not want a female warrior on his shift. Giving Thorn an impossible to pass test, and hoping she will fail, he is caught off guard when a mistake leads to the death of one of the contestants. Declaring Thorn a murderer he lobbies the king to punish her by execution. However, a moral dilemma ensues for Brand who wants to ‘stand in the light’. Bringing the incident to Yarvi’s attention in the hope of gaining his support, Brand sets events into motion which will lead him and Thorn to the other side of the known world. With his two new recruits, Yarvi plans on fulfilling an old unforgotten oath. Will he manage to convince the Empress of the South to join him in his cause? And what ancient elf artefact lies in the box that he intends to use as a bargaining chip?

I was impressed with the first book, taking into consideration its target audience. And, this one promised much with its fast paced and interesting start. However, after a few chapters the book seemed to drag on and there was a lot of repeated scenarios and unnecessarily detailed training scenes. The journey to the south seemed to take a long time and not all of the journey was eventful. Moreover, the world building in the first book was promising and I had hoped that we would learn more about the world that the characters inhabit in this one. However, I was disappointed to find that Abercrombie had not exploited the opportunity to add depth to the story in this regard.

Much of the book reads like a filler for the third instalment and therefore I will have to give the book 2.5 and of 5 in the hope that the third instalment will be a lot better.

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