Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

I used to think the world had heroes in it. But the world is full of monsters. . . . Perhaps the best we can hope for is to have the most terrible of them on out side.


What a thundering conclusion. Dark and gritty, Half a War lives up to its name. With twists and turns, Abercrombie keeps us on our toes until the very end.

This book follows Skara, Princess of Throvenland. In the first scene of the book, her family is ambushed and slaughtered by the High King’s henchmen. Armed with nothing but an empty title and a desire for vengeance, Skara flees to Gettland to throw her stake at war. There, she discovers the burden of being a queen, the power of words, and finds herself desperately holding together a fractured alliance. But when a game changer is introduced, and a chance for victory with it, the lines between good and evil aren’t as defined as they once were, as characters old and new alike struggle to choose the greater good and the lesser evil.

The pacing in this book was okay. Looking back, I feel like a lot had happened but when I was reading I did get bored. There are multiple perspectives in this book, not just Skara’s, and although I liked how we got a broader viewpoint, I found myself skimming sections until I found a perspective I liked. In addition to that, much of this book is about war and battles and the planning of it. I didn’t mind the planning sections of it, but the battles and action could’ve gotten less page time.

Out of all the characters, Skara is my favorite, with Koll coming a close second. Skara isn’t a fighter like Thorn, but she uses her power and influence to sway opinions and for her greater advantage. As she grows into Queenship, Skara has to sacrifice a lot, and must hide her true thoughts and feelings under a mask. She knows her priorities, as her duty to her country always comes first, regardless of what she really wants. I love a good internal struggle, and this book has lots of it. Skara is a character I respect and admire, and she certainly makes this book worth reading.

The plot takes lots of dips and dives, and the ending is something I could not have foreseen. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Abercrombie is not afraid of messing with his characters. There are lots of revelations that come to light at the end, and I am very surprised and impressed with it. It definitely goes out with a bang, and a big one at that.

Honestly, this is probably one of the best fantasies I’ve read. The plot, characters, and setting are all superb, and if you like fantasy, this series is definitely for you!


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