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Publisher's Summary

A classic coming-of-age tale set in a vivid and richly imagined world from Sunday Times best-selling author Joe Abercrombie.

Words are weapons.

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords.

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships only Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil.

Some - like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith - are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others - like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver - would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness....

©2015 Joe Abercrombie (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 10-11-15

ok

Yes, it's a little predictable, and a few disappointments with the characters, but overall still a worthy spend of a credit and as good as any wrap-up to the series (naturally, there are a few threads which have been left open).

Abercrombie's gritty style continues, and there's enough blood and gore to satisfy if that's what you're after - this story just doesn't have the same depth as his adult series usually offer.

Narration is good, and consistent with the previous books in the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 07-21-15

Not his usual Genius

I know this was aimed at young adults but even at that it was a very predictable storyline with overly childlike narration. Ben Elliot is a disastrous choice of reader. While the first two books were ok, this last one just didn't do it for me at all. It felt full of half answered questions, like he was rushing to wind it up.

I hope he will return to form with another adult book, hopefully featuring Sand dan Glokta. Joe was a breath of fresh air in the fantasy world and I hope this is just a blip on the way to greater things.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-12-16

A boring end to a boring trilogy!

Any additional comments?

I had read this was a different kind of story, aimed at a different target audience etc, and for a while I avoided this series, but eventually I was won over by all the good reviews and bought all three, now I wish I had just bought the first so I didn't feel obliged to suffer through all three. In a bloated fantasy market, these three novels are average at the very best, a million miles away from the brilliant First Law series, they lack in every department. The story plods and a lot of the time is downright boring. The speech is often robotic. The characters are so flat and uninteresting. After the genius of the First Law, of Inquisitor Glokta in particular, the depth of the characters and the great story, this trilogy was such a let down! Maybe it was my own fault, but my trust in an author let me down badly this time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin Coyne
  • 02-26-16

very good

good conclusion to the trilogy, themes of the first law trilogy all over this trilogy, but different in a lot of ways. if you have read the draft law trilogy you will enjoy this (read the books in sequence of course)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thursday Week
  • 08-03-15

A tad disappointed

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I fully understand it is a book aimed at young adults, but with the rather 'choice' language used Mr Abercrombie is setting the age appropriate bar rather high. I felt the story in the first two books justified this but here it seemed to run out of steam. I really enjoyed the fact that Father Yarvi had was not the main character, allowing him to go off and do his dark deeds but, sadly thought it ended with a whimper not a bang.

Would you be willing to try another book from Joe Abercrombie? Why or why not?

Yes! I have loved all his books bar this one.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Ben Elliot?

Steven Pacey, no brainer.....

Any additional comments?

The Hunger Games needed no swearing....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. CP Davies
  • 01-14-19

sad when it ended

I love his writing, excellent characters. I am looking forward to some new stories by him.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-18

Something less predictable, please.

Acceptable plot spoiled by heavy handed activism.

I wish at least one, literally one, character’s “likeability” wasn’t entirely predictable and based on his/her gender, age, ambition level.

Recipe:
Women are more virtuous than men.
Young and passionate are more moral than cunning oldies. Ambition leads to corruption. Few romantic events. Few diplomatic events. Few military events. Reversal of archetypes (pantheon: “caring” male gods, “dynamic” female goddesses). And that’s it.

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  • Niall
  • 12-18-17

Not as good as first book in series

I did not enjoy the main characters as much as in book one and two

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dallas Winston 9
  • 09-14-17

Ending in style

Would you listen to Half a War again? Why?

Yeah, a great series. Would like to listen to all the books in this series again.

What did you like best about this story?

There's lots of curveballs. It's not just a straightforward good guy bad guy adventure. There's treachery and politics at play. A good veraity of chatacters as well.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

There always seems to be a good dual scene in Abercrombie's books. I enjoy them the most.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Just a tap bit too long for a single sitting. But if I could I would.

Any additional comments?

Joe Abercrombie is a writer who seems to find the heart of the story. Characters resurface but he pursues the story perfectly.
Expected more swearing though haha

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  • benjiyoung81
  • 08-08-17

Good, but just not greatness

Firstly I did enjoy this book...the characters, most of the plot and definitely the narrator. I wasn't overly keen on how the elves and their magic fit in...but overall a good ending but to a good, but not great series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-22-18

Joe Abercrombie does it again

A very fine ending to another great trilogy. well done, Mr Abercrombie. It is good

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  • Thomas
  • 03-26-18

A good end...

....to a good trilogy. I think the second book was the peak, but there are plenty of intrigue, twists and morals to keep you wanting more.

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  • Chris
  • 08-19-15

Better by half!

A very satisfying end to another excellent series by Joe Abercrombie.

While this trilogy lacks some of the wry humour of previous books, it is packed with the engaging, well-named characters, bloody adventure and smart turn of phrase that Abercrombie excels at.

Ben Elliott's performance is spot on.