Half a War

Narrated by: John Keating
Series: Shattered Sea, Book 3
Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,323 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 no god but 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 woodcarver - 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 Recorded Books
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Boring compared to the previous parts

Really nothing new. Like yesterdays stew lukewarm, reheated in a microwave. Appart from "the heroes" this is my least favorite Abercrombie book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another Abercrombie Anomaly

I am firmly convinced it is imposible for Joe Abercrombie to write a bad or happy novel. "Half a War" exemplifies these facts without error. This novel has everything you would expect from an Abercrombie novel; a complex plot that keeps the reader guessing, characters that constantly evolve and change, a world that is gritty and cruel, and an excellent if not picturesque ending. The plot of this novel is far from straightforward, and it is full of the ironic twists Abercrombie so loves. I consider myself a skilled interpreter of books and what is to come next in them, but I was guessing and many times wrongly throughout this novel.

The part of this book that was the reason why it stands out in my mind though is the characters. The people who have read the first two books in this trilogy, and I hope you have for your sakes, will know that the point of views change between books. Well this happens again in this third installment, and it is extremely fascinating. Changing points of view between books in a series is very difficult in my mind, and I have read books before where the author tried and failed to do this well. Abercrombie does it flawlessly. However, the point of view change is not what makes the characters awesome. That is their evolution in this novel and to some extent in the first two novels as well. Several of the characters undergo major and not always good changes in these books and this evolution of them makes them seem more real.

The setting in this book is also excellent. It is Abercrombie's usual grimdark style, with a few twists that he is oh so good it creating. I will say the world he has made is very large and not all of it is explained completely. This could leave room for more stories in the future, but the unexplained parts do not take away from this story at all.

Finally, we come to the ending of this book. It is a mixture of impressed and somewhat sad feelings for me. I am impressed at how Abercrombie effortlessly weaves everything together into something nun of us expect and leaves no loose ends. I am somewhat sad because like all of his books I can't call this ending happy. There are both hopeful and sad parts, but don't expect any happily ever after stuff.

The one problem I have with this book is that it is supposed to be for young adults. It isn't that different from Abercrombie's other works except there is little bad language and some of the descriptions are less graphic. However, I would definitely put this book for at least 13 and older, this is no Harry Potter book.

I must not forget to commend the narrator, his performance was very good. He distinguished characters very well and he has a good storytelling voice. I strongly recommend reading this book, but make sure you read the first two books in the series first.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wish I Had Known This Was The 3rd Book...

Any additional comments?

I wish Audible had mentioned somewhere that this was the third and final book of the Shattered Sea series. They presented it as if it was a free standing new book. I had my suspicions while reading but I didn't do my own reattach until I was finished. I guess that's my bad but it would have been nice of Audible to mention it somewhere. Anywhere.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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first 2 books in the series were better

just did not care much for the POV characters in book 3

first 2 books were pretty good

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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2nd book was the highlight

1st book was not bad, second book was fantastic, this third book felt better than the first, but finished mediocre.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

dissapointing end

dissapointing for a promising series. the elf "magic" felt unnecessary and world breaking. character progression was lacking and took step turns to force the story forward. redeemable characters from the first two books are killed off or morphed into villains

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

first 2 were better

I was a big fan of the first two books in the series; however, there were a few parts in this, that I greatly disliked. Namely the villainy of Jarvey, pointless killing of Brandt, and the unresolved wishy washy love stories between Karra and Wraith, and Kaul and Wrinne. Excellent performance by John Keating though!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

ok I guess

I loved the 1st book in this series but this third book fell short. Just something missing from the main characters it seemed, and a disappointing ending with a few story flaws in it. oh well Joe is still a hell of a writer and I hope he gets back to it soon.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully written. Hugely entertaining.

I read all three books in the shattered sea trilogy and then recommended them to my mother who is reading them now. I will now start The Blade Itself. Hope Mr. Abercrombie is hard at work on his next book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Abercrombie and Keating Deliver a Disappointment

I can't decide whether I disliked the book because of the audio performance or the story. Keating's character voices featured identical cadences, pacing, and often times same accent that makes them indistinguishable. Most annoyingly, he gives every line a upward inflection that made the story nearly unlistenable.

I got this because I love most of Abercrombie's work, but given the choice again, I would read it or not touch it at all.

2 people found this helpful