A classic coming-of-age tale set in a vivid and richly-imagined world from Sunday Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie.
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.
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.
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.
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi's path may end as it began - in twists, and traps and tragedy…
©2014 Joe Abercrombie (P)2014 HarperCollinsHarperCollins Audio FictionHarperFiction - Fiction Audio - Digital
"Joe Abercrombie is doing some terrific work" (George R.R. Martin)
"Abercrombie writes fantasy like no one else" (Guardian)
"This is my favourite Abercrombie book yet" (Patrick Rothfuss)
"Joe Abercrombie is fast becoming my favourite writer. Half a King is a remarkable achievement - thrilling, enthralling, and relentless. The action is frenetic, the characters are as sharp as the blades they wield, and the humour is biting. It's sure to garner him a whole new legion of fans" (Derek Landy)
"Enthralling. An up-all-night read" (Robin Hobb)
"Half a King can be summed up in a single word: Masterpiece" (Myke Cole)
"With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, Half a King is definitely a full adventure" (Rick Riodan)
The setting. Abercrombie have created a world that seem slightly more inspired by norse culture and nordic history than the average fantasy book. There are for example hints of parallels to the centralization of power which happened in Scandinavia during the Viking age. Not by any means to the extent of giving anyone a lesson in history, but it makes the book more enjoyable to those who already have an interest in norse history I think.
The ending. It might be argued that this is a much lighter read than what Abercrombie usually serves and the characters are not quite as strong or memorable as some of the others he have created, but as establishing a new world with new characters for a new series I think it works well.
I gave an extra star for giving the book an ending that creates anticipation of what comes next without making a cliffhanger. Reading George R.R. Martin have given me a deep aversion of cliffhangers.
Bloody good entertainment.
"Not just for YA or (Joe you had me worried)"
I love Abercrombies books, so had to listen/read this one when it came out, despite it being tagged a young adult story. I figured it would lose so much without his usual dark and gritty story telling.
But happy to be proved wrong, although I didn't enjoy it as much as his adult books I still enjoyed the story, it has his wonderfully deep and complex characters and as ever strong and capable female characters (thanks Joe) loads of plot twists and turns, humour and adventure.
Although a lot subtler and more condensed then in his adult books, the violence is still there just a lot less graphic, so if you like your fantasy gore free this is a safe bet.
Overall an enjoyable viking-esque fantasy story that sucked me in enough that I had to listen to it in one sitting.
Sum it up as a timeless adventure suitable for young adult and old fogeys alike.
And I can't wait for book two.
This is supposed to be Abercrombie for the young adult market. Well this "older adult" is quite happy with it too!
Not quite as gritty as the First Law Trilogy, but equally engaging and raw, and still enough blood and guts to satisfy an Abercrombie fan.
Roll on book 2......
As an enthusiastic listener to Joe Abercrombie's stories I was sadly disappointed by this one. The story is quite 'thin' and the characters largely a rehash of the ones you find in his other books. Despite that I am hopeful that it is an opening for a much better story line as the series proceeds. The narration, whilst good, is not as captivating as the narration in his other audio works by (I think) Stephen Pacey.
"Least good of Abercrombie's books"
when I finished a long non fantasy talking book I was pleased to see that Abercrombie had a new book out on audible and just downloaded it. Should have checked more carefully. This is clearly for Young Adults / teens as opposed to his normal output. That's not to say it's bad, it's just that compared to his usual excellent novels this one is obvious where it's going, no great depth or complexity to the characters. If you don't know Joe Abercrombie's work then it's fine and I listened to it to the end but if you have listened to the heroes, before they are hanged etc you will be disappointed.
"A great listen!"
I would definitely listen to Half a King again, I really like characters also I wasn't sure about the narrator at first so may have not been listening as closely at the beggining, but I got used to him... he did great job.
I really like the development of the characters I really think Prince Yarvi is a great protagonist he grows so much as a character.
I've never listened to Ben Elliot before, but I think he did a good job. Not sure if he was as good Steven Pacey in the previous Abercrombie books, by comparison his character voices sounded relatively similar to one another.
I thought the book was short however well structured. The story itself was disappointing and basically followed the story of the Lion King!
Currently listening to Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
Well voiced and good distinction between characters
"I was hooked from start to finish"
Abercrombie tries his hand at young adult, and yet again delivers a stunner.
Story – 4.5/5
This is not YA as we know it: Abercrombie has put his own spin on it, providing a brutal, gritty revenge story, but making it accessible to a younger audience. He has done this by simplifying the plot and prose, but it still remains very clever. There are no whiney kids, and there is plenty of death, so certainly doesn’t follow the usual clichés.
As usual, Abercrombie’s characterisation is superb. In a very short space of time, we are able to get a very strong, believable impression on all characters. We watch Yarvi slowly develop into a very strong and likeable character, following him through sadness, fear and despair.
The story is quite fast paced, and gets even faster as the story progresses up until the end. There is plenty of gritty action, clever plans and surprise developments (mostly towards the end) to keep us on the edge of our seats. One of my favourite aspects of JA’s writing is his knack for writing an ending beyond the ending, extending the story past what you would expect and opening the world up for further intrigue and potential future stories. He didn’t disappoint with this either.
All in all, a highly recommended read for both YA and adult alike. The only thing stopping it getting a 5/5 is the reduction in sharp whit that I have grown so fond of from JA, and also the lack of originality in plot in places.
Performance – 4/5
Ben Elliot is a very good narrator. He was able to convey the mood of the story very well, and helped to enhance the excitement, fear and sadness very nicely throughout. The pacing of his reading was also spot on.
His voice acting was good. The distinctions in character voices were subtle, but sometimes a little too much. Just a couple of times, I found myself unsure who was talking, but luckily this didn’t happen often, and the simplicity in the prose allowed me to get back on track very quickly.
I very nearly gave Ben Elliot a 4.5/5, but when comparing to other 4.5 narrator reviews I have given, where there were no issues at all, it seemed a bit too high.
"The Importance of Pace"
I am looking forward to Mr Abercrombie's future titles having enjoyed ALL of his previous work up to but not including this one due to the change in Narration which l found to be so bad as to render this title wholly unrecognisable and for me making the listening very disapointing
As a matter of course l would look forward to all future titles but in the Hope of a return of narration by Stephen Pacey
I found that the narration lacked character in general , and failed to carry the narative as well as previously achieved
The story plot and theme were all good but where as l do repeat listening to J.A.s others titles more than once l struggled to complete this latest offering
"Abercrombie does YA very well indeed"
Yes. I always like to return to a good book.
Some similarities to Prince of Thorns.
I don't think I have heard him perform before but he is very good. I would pick up other books narrated by him.
I really liked the characters and hopefully they will return in another adventure.
I have read all of Joe Abercrombie's adult books and I have enjoyed them a lot. However, I was getting a little tired of his particular genre but this book comes highly recommended
"A Good Young Adult Story"
Half A King is a good book. It is written for young people; so the depth, insight and detail you'd expect from Abercrombie aren't there and this blunted my enjoyment somewhat. I loved the intro into the world and wished the author would forget trying to attract new readers and just write this series for his established fans. This book would have been fantastic if he'd told it the way he tells stories. I enjoyed it... but I would have had a better time if the detail, aphorisms and scope had not been truncated. I genuinely believe we do young readers a disservice by talking down to them anyway... just write the damn book and let the chips fall.
On the narrator... he was adequate but Steven Pacey was SORELY missed. Joe!! Get back to your formula. Don't alienate your fan base!!
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