Review: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) – Joe Abercrombie

half a king“I swore an oath to be avenged on the killers of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy…

Rating: 4/5

Well deserving of all the praise. I’m so glad I picked this up – mainly because of all the great reviews I saw for the second book, which came out recently.

What I liked:

– An MC who had no desire for power, and found his own potential path which would bring him satisfaction, only to be forced to assume the mantle of king and all that it entailed. And along the way struggling to maintain a balance between survival, manipulation, power games, and doing the right thing.

– I absolutely adored the camaraderie and loyalty that developed between the six, as I shall refer to them, and I was sitting there going “AUTHOR DO NOT HURT MY PEOPLE” but I knew it was going to happen anyway and IT DID and I was EXTREMELY UPSET.

– The ideas of redemption, the unsavoury things we do for survival and the choices we make under duress were well explored in the novel. The way we treat people, and the way it can come back to haunt, help or harm us. Letting go of our past experiences and misdeeds, in order to start again. Small kindnesses in the midst of hell. Bad things done for good reasons.

-Indeed, the whole survival aspect was incredibly thought-provoking – when you think things can’t get any worse, and they do, but you survive that too. Human beings can be damn resilient sometimes.

-Well drawn, interesting female characters. A crazy pirate who’s mad, bad and dangerous to know. A queen who essentially runs the treasury and the country. A navigator who survives the odds and pulls her own weight.


All in all – fast-paced and intriguing, with a complex MC, and a compelling plot.


8 thoughts on “Review: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) – Joe Abercrombie

  1. This sounds like a really great read and very character driven which is a must for me! It sounds like they have a great group dynamic, and the plot sounds exciting with some good emotional content. Great review, Hannah!


  2. Yay! You finally started it! This book was one of the YA fantasies last year that I absolutely adored. Yarvi’s simply the man, you know what I mean?! Half the World is even better, personally. Equal political intrigue and A LOT of character building and still a lot of black, gray, and white when it comes to the moral dilemmas ❤

    Faye at The Social Potato


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