Half a King - discussion

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
Have started reading this, and loving Abercrombie's use of language and use of concepts. Truly, it's like reading a master at work.

Only criticisms are that the plot mechanics look potentially obvious from the start, and whenever Yarvi speaks, I hear Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon. :)
A good YA book and one for an adult too, but has some big sections filled with character self doubt that he does of course over come - clearly aimed at teenagers.

Half the World is good too but drags a bit near the end as a love match is worked through with what I'd consider to be lots of teenager self doubt. This is YA, so what can I say. Still worth a read over all.

On both I think Joe has pulled back on his use of words, which was a real strength of his, but as per Brian above - still good. The long run on sentences were frustrating at times, but this is how Joe writes and worth sticking with because he does come out with great lines - more than enough to make me smile at times. Both are worth a read, but lacking a lot of the grit of Best Served Cold which is adult and hard boiled. However I suspect he could do well in YA, time will tell of course.
Finished this last night and did very much enjoy it. The story was nicely rounded and finished, some of the prose had wonderful flourishes. Pacing was very strong, and the plotting moved and twisted nicely. Even though some points were predictable, they were still handled well, and Abercrombie managed to keep well away from the pitfalls of melodrama and drawn-out linear plot points.

About my only real complaint was that the characters of Rulf and Jaud never really came across as particularly distinguished, though that may only have been my reading of it. Oh - and that bit where Yarvi didn't recognise his uncle. :)

Overall, though, I thought it a very strong and concise story, perhaps simply lacking a degree of violence in his First Law books.
I don't do YA at all and only caved on these because of the author, and I'm glad I did. They really are very enjoyable reads. I liked King a bit more than World, probably because of the main character who had more nuance to him. I'm looking forward to the third part as well, but I do also await the return to the 'adult' universe. There's so much to those books that just cannot be trimmed down without it being a loss, in my eyes, not just violence and bleak worldviews, but also the richness of the characters. They have to be allowed to be how they are in his adult-oriented books in order for the prose to hit its peak, since it's so intertwined with the point-of-view characters.
I wanted to love it but found it a little lacking in substance. However, I've heard good things about book 2 and will probably look at it sometime.

I actually didn't mind Half a King, which is the first Abercrombie book I've been able to stick with, but then i just couldn't get into Half the World. It's still on my Kobo at about a third read...
Just to double check, in Half the World are we still with Yarvi as the main character? I've held off from reading the book synopsis in case of spoilers.
I just stumbled on this thread and didnt see the tag Jo sent.

Yarvi is in it, but not the MC. He does play a major factor, but the two MC are a young man and girl thrust into roles they weren't expecting. He loves having an ass kicking woman, and he pulls it off again in this book. I'm okay with the almost simple plots in these books. They are a lot of fun. I think the second book is better than the first for sure.
I finished this on holiday and I liked it, but this is the first Abercrombie I've read. Would make me rush off to buy the next in the series? No, probably not. I enjoyed it at the time then forgot about it straight afterwards.

Would I go looking for his adult books? Probably. It was really well written, but there was something missing for me and one of the plot twists
Where Nothing turns out to be the heroic long lost uncle, who I had forgotten even existed by then
seems just a little bit too convenient for my liking.

Having said that, if I could manage to produce anything even a tenth of that quality I would die a happy woman. :D
Finished this last night and very much enjoyed it. One thing that I agree with is Brian's point in that Jaud and Rulf weren't as fleshed out as I would have liked.
I enjoyed Half a King. I have tried to read The Blade Itself and couldn't quite stand the torture and violence,so I gave up on it.
There is much about Joe's writing that is so expressive,it hooks you in to the story.
In all honesty,I read Half a King because George R.R.Martin (some of you may remember him), recommended it.
It hasn't made me want to read Half a World though.
Please could somebody remind me who the high king is in the 3rd book, I have forgotten the story. Are there any summaries of the first 2 books floating on the interweb?
Had this book on my shelf for ages and just picked it up the other day. Just over half way and I'm enjoying it, but it doesn't compare to the first law books. However, I will read all three.
I'm just reading half the world now having read half a king some time ago. Yarvi is still in it, but the main character(s) are Thorn and Brand who, as this is a YA book, begin to have feelings for each other.

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