by Joe Abercrombie
484 pgs (Shattered Sea trilogy #2)
Half a King, Abercrombie focused on young Yarvi, the second son of the king, and one who was never intended to sit on the throne. His deformed arm made him useless in the eyes of his father and family, but when his father and older brother were both murdered, he unwillingly became king. When the same men who killed his family members shortly thereafter conspired against him, Yarvi renounces his claim on the throne and dedicates the rest of his life to obtaining revenge. It's soon evident that his sharp mind, and his deep sense of cunning will serve him far better than a sword or a battle ax ever could.
In Half the World, Yarvi, who is now the Queen's minister, is no longer the central character in Abercrombie's story. It's now Thorn, a young girl who is being trained as a warrior by the head of the Queen's army. Thorn catches the attention of Yarvi, who sees potential in her to play a role in his plans for revenge. he places her under the tutelage of a master fighter named Skifr. Skifr trains Thorn into one of the most deadly and dangerous warriors in the world.
Half the World is not as strong a book as its predecessor, but it successfully does what the middle book in a trilogy is supposed to do: it advances the story, it adds depth to the main characters, and it builds anticipation for the conclusion. While the story moved a little too slowly for me at times, Thorn is a fantastic new character and one that I'm looking forward to seeing how Yarvi utilizes in his plans.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆