Sunday 5 July 2015

Review - "Half a War" by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie's Shattered Sea trilogy was written for younger readers, but I didn't notice that when I read it.

The books are immediately engrossing, thrusting you straight into danger and intrigue.

I love that - when a writer has the confidence to just kick you screaming into their new world. And if they have this level of skill, you are swept along effortlessly.

Part of Joe's plan for making this series work for teenagers is reducing the number of characters.

His first series, The First Law, has dozens of them. Each one must be described, developed, and set into the plot - and that's before they actually do anything.

But the Shattered Sea series concentrates on only a few.

Book one Half a King follows Yarvi, who goes from prince to Slave, then must fight to find his way home.

Book two Half the World is about a pair of young warriors who travel across the planet to find allies for their besieged kingdom.

And book three Half a War gives us a Princess from a failed kingdom, a dog of war who can't choose which collar to wear, and a clever boy who would advise kings.

With fewer characters, the pace accelerates. Because you spend less time setting them up and more time moving the story forward. And Joe Abercrombie does that, relentlessly.

The world of the Shattered Sea is beautifully complete. You can feel the weight of history, the clash of cultures, and the breadth of the continents.

But it never slows down to lecture you. The story thunders along, allowing you to catch glimpses of the background from the corner of your eye.

I have enjoyed all of Joe Abercrombie's books, but this trilogy is a real highlight.

It's as dark, violent, and well-realised as his previous works. And it's got a fantastic unstoppable pace.

Highly recommended.

Joe came to Australia in 2015 and I had a chat with him on ABC Local Radio about writing these books. He's a very interesting bloke, have a listen.

Like the Post? Do share with your Friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment

IconIconIconFollow Me on Pinterest

Joel on Twitter

What's Hot

Tweets by @JoelRheinberger