Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mother War's long shadow has once again covered the Shattered Sea. Grandmother Wexen has built an unfathomably enormous army and means to crush all who stand against her.
Half A War was an interesting conclusion to the Shattered Sea trilogy. The story takes place three years or so after the events of Half the World. The uneasy alliance between Gettland and Vansterland still exists, but has been largely toothless as their ally Throvenland could attest to since they were eradicated and their allies did nothing to help.
Once again Joe Abercrombie opted for all new point of view characters and the results were mostly good. The new point of view characters are Princess Skara, Koll, and Raith. Princess Skara is the granddaughter of King Fynn of Throvenland. Skara's words are her weapons and she's forced to wield them to avenge her grandfather and her people. Koll is the energetic young boy from Half the World who has now become Father Yarvi's apprentice. Raith has been raised basically as a wild dog by his master Grom-gil-Gorm. He's also the sword bearer and cupbearer for Gorm.
I have to admit I would've preferred seeing Father Yarvi, Thorn, Brand, King Uthil, Grom-gil-Gorm, Grandmother Wexen, or pretty much any other crucial returning character to have the point of view chapters rather than the new comers. Much of the story is character driven and while Skara and Koll make fine characters I felt as though Raith was a plague nearly every time he appeared. He just felt false and I could hardly believe or relate to anything that happened with him.
Abercrombie takes another stab at love with two separate love stories intermixed and while one of the two was equal to Thorn and Brand's story in Half the World the other felt incredibly forced and fake.
This book left me with a different feeling about some of the returning characters. The Iron King Uthil earned my respect and admiration as a character. Steel is the answer and Uthil brings it every time he appears in the book. Father Yarvi and Grom-gil-Gorm on the other hand became underhanded snakes and I don't mean that in any nice way.
Half A War is a good title for this book because the story started wrapping up about 80 pages too soon. Unfortunately the plot again became rather predictable and I figured out what was going to happen with incredible accuracy. Even though this book is aimed at a young adult audience, the writing is still grim and brutal. I really don't see how this qualifies as young adult other than that it's less grim, brutal, and sexual than Abercrombie's adult novels.
Half A War was an adequate finale to the Shattered Seas trilogy.
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