Monday, February 19, 2018

Half the Fantasy, But Full of Enjoyment

Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm glad I finally got around to reading an Abercrombie, as well as this particular fun adventure placed in a brutal world, which I'd heard so much about!

In Half a King a young, but wise prince is placed into a surprising circumstance that immediately turns upon its head. He must "come of age" real goddamn quick. It's sink or swim, baby!

Half a King feels serviceable. The plot and characters march forward with an inevitable predictability. Our prince hero kid goes through the paces, learning from this person and that experience, and growing a bit through each phase of the book. Regardless of the predictable path, Abercrombie has still created some fun scenes filled with rollicking action, as well as a colorful character or two. And yes, twists and turns do eventually spark the story a bit by the end.

I don't know if you'd mark this down as a complaint, but this is listed as a fantasy book, and I wasn't really feeling the fantasy. Aside from mention of elf ruins, there is nothing fantastical about this. It's just humans doing medievally type things. Swords and kings and battles and ministers and such, but no magic or monsters whatsoever. That's sorta fine, because I don't really enjoy it when everyone's flying about blasting fireballs or whatever, but there seems like there should be some non-human stuff happening and/or at least something slightly unfamiliar herein.

All in all, this was a good read and I'll be looking for more of his books in the future.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Hamish MacBeth: Deuce

Death of a Cad (Hamish Macbeth, #2)Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so that was a little better than the first book. Good enough for me to continue on with the series? Perhaps.

Small town constable, Hamish Macbeth solves another murder before the big boys at the bureau can suss it out. That seems to be an ongoing theme: seemingly slow-witted and ambition-free local bobby outdoes the top brass. A little bit unbelievable...except that I've worked under some really thick fuckers in my day, so yeah, I can suspend disbelief on this one for a bit longer.

The characterization is still ham-fisted though. Lots of upperclass twits in Death of a Cad, which revolves around a successful playwright and the murder of an annoying twat by one of the toffs staying at the local castle. There's just too many stereotypes prancing about saying ridiculous things for this to be taken seriously. And it's also not quite ridiculous enough to be considered a comedy.

The will-he-won't-he, will-she-won't-she play between Hamish and the castle debutant is not a romance I can pull for. I just don't care if they hook up. However, Hamish himself is a likable enough guy with a good set of morals and seems like the kind of blue-collar hero I could root for, so I'll likely give book three a try some one of these days.

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