Half a King - Joe Abercrombie


Yarvi: I am not good for much, but I will still become a half king.
Odem: oh? Dear Nephew, I think not.
Nothing: Steel will solve all your problems. Uthil: and that’s how I will become King.
Yarvi: And I your Minister.

This is the story of a Yarvi a young cripple who becomes a king instead of minister, against his wishes. And against his wishes he also becomes a slave instead of a king. Sometimes he is a slave even on the Black Seat, sometimes a king in ruined elf-temples. Throughout the novel, he changes from a weakling, to a weakling with a strong will and with enough anger to destroy anything that would prevent him from attaining his goal: killing his uncle and getting back his birthright, even if the cost is greater than he can bear, even if the cost is his own people.
Along the way, when he was a slave, Yarvi comes across other slaves who become his friends. They all give him a hand, the one he needs, in order to climb the ladder to his rightful place, but which one is it? What he always planned to be or does he plan to steal the Cold chair of the real king?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel as good as Half a King, a novel which would keep me on the edge of the seat, which would become an obsession until I finished it, and which would leave me hungry for more. It is a rich, catchy novel with a fast pace and which makes you read wide-eyed until the end. The novel takes many unpredictable turns and few predictable ones, which I admit I disliked very much since it made the novel lose a bit of its magic (*spoiler* the return of the king Uthil, for instance. The odds shouldn’t have brought him back imo though the novel makes sense this way).
The characters are plausible and likeable. They are not perfect/beautiful/handsome characters. Rather, they are normal individuals, and each one of them carries their own scars on their flesh and heart. I sympathized with each one of them, and was sad at the loss of those who died. Hell, I already miss them.
This novel still deserves its 5 stars. I don’t give it just because the plot was to an extent creative, but mainly because the style of writing was challenging and does not make of you a passive reader. You have to detect hints, work out your understanding, and imagine the setting in an artistic way. It’s true that sometimes the novel was too fast for me, and left me frustrated because I couldn’t grasp what was happening till I reread the passage, but all in all it’s a novel worth reading, and I can’t wait for the sequel. REALLY CANT.