Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Apparently I was in the mood for an epic fantasy book because once I read the first chapter I was completely hooked.
Yarvi was not cut out to be royalty. He was born with a deformed hand in a kingdom where warriors are kings. He has been preparing for the tests to become a minister, the wise advisors to the king, a position he is well suited to assume. But when his father and brother are murdered Yarvi must reluctantly sit in the Black Chair and reign over his kingdom. First he must avenge his family and that is when the king, or as he calls himself “half a king” since he cannot wield a weapon, begins a journey beyond his wildest dreams.
This is a gasping book. I gasped often at the things that happened to Yarvi that seemed to keep coming at him left and right. You’d think things were finally looking up and *gasp* they weren’t quite. In some books coincidences feel contrived and predictable, that is not the case here because the plot is woven together so well. And the characters! They are all so real, something often not found in fantasy epics depicting journeys from far off lands.
I wish I could say more about the book but I want readers to discover the twists and turns for themselves and they start pretty must straight away. If you aren’t a fan of fantasy I think you may still enjoy this book. A lot of people get annoyed by strange names and races in fantasy books which you don’t have here. The gods even have normal names like Mother War and Father Peace. (The female deities are not the genders you expect. Besides war and peace being what we would consider opposites, the sun is female and the moon is male as well.) The Gettlanders, the peoples Yarvi rules over, remind me of a cross between Vikings and the people of Medieval Britain. Another thing some people hate about fantasy epics are that they are so long. Not so with this one, coming in at a svelte 336 pages. Try it, you’ll like it!
I borrowed this one as an eBook from the library and I have the second on hold. I loved it and hope the next book is as great as the first.