Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (@)
I have to admit, I bought this book based on the fact that G.R.R. Martin was quoted on the cover. But after that, Joe Abercrombie did all the work.
An indicator of a great novel, I think, is how few sittings it takes to finish. I did Half a King in 2. I absolutely devoured this one…Martin was right, it refused to let me go (to eat, to sleep or even to the toilet!)
Let’s start with one of the most compelling MC’s I’ve read in a while. Prince Yarvi, throne-shy and about to become a member of the clergy, is thrust onto the throne after his father and brother die. Barely able to hold a sword, due to his half-hand, he must defend his kingdom from multiple threats on several fronts.
But soon after he is betrayed by someone very close to him and only just manages to escape alive. He tries to remain hidden as a rowing slave upon a trading ship, where he makes close friends of the least royal variety. His story is one of intelligence, resourcefulness and bravery in spite of every possible obstacle. The burning desire for revenge keeps him going as this story catapults towards a memorable ending.
Full of clever, witty dialogue and high stakes and tension throughout, Yarvi is an extremely relatable character, who you will cheer for from page one.
The story is jam-packed with deep character relationships and human closeness at it’s best and the twists are perfectly executed and leave you wondering how you didn’t spot them earlier.