“Of all things, men most love to watch others face Death. It reminds them they yet live.”
Joe Abercrombie has spent the past decade destroying traditional fantasy tropes, ushering the age of grimdark with his bleak, gritty “First Law” series. But in Half the World, he subverts grimderk, introducing honor, love and, most importantly, hope into the story.
Half the World is the second entry in his YA-themed “Shattered Sea” trilogy, following last year’s Half a King (the finale, Half a War, comes out in July). And while it shares similar themes and some characters, the book is not an immediate sequel, however.
Half the World picks up several years after Half a King. The focus of the story is on Thorn, a girl who, inspired by the heroic deeds and death of her father, wants to become a
Viking Gettland warrior. Rescued her from execution by minister Yarvi, the titular character from Half a King, the minister grooms her as the instrument of his machinations, as well as offers her the opportunity to avenge her father’s death. Throw in a would-be warrior named Brand, and Abercrombie has a thrilling page-turner with plenty of action, revenge and, unlike Half a King, romance.
— Michael Senft