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Half a King (Shattered Sea, Book 1) [Paperback]

Joe Abercrombie
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 3 July 2014 --  
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Book Description

3 July 2014 Shattered Sea (Book 1)

A classic coming-of-age tale set in a vivid and richly-imagined world from Sunday Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie.

‘Joe Abercrombie is doing some terrific work’ GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007558481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007558483
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,053,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

UK fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie is the author of the First Law Trilogy: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings, as well as the standalone fantasy Best Served Cold.

Joe now lives in Bath with his wife, Lou, and his daughters Grace and Eve. He still occasionally edits concerts and music festivals for TV, but spends most of his time writing edgy yet humorous fantasy novels.

Here are the First Law Trilogy in series order:

The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
The Last Argument of Kings


Best Served Cold

Product Description


‘Abercrombie writes fantasy like no one else’ Guardian

‘This is my favourite Abercrombie book yet’ PATRICK ROTHFUSS

‘Joe Abercrombie is fast becoming my favourite writer. HALF A KING is a remarkable achievement — thrilling, enthralling, and relentless. The action is frenetic, the characters are as sharp as the blades they wield, and the humour is biting. It's sure to garner him a whole new legion of fans’ DEREK LANDY

‘Enthralling. An up-all-night read’ ROBIN HOBB

‘HALF A KING can be summed up in a single word: Masterpiece’ MYKE COLE

‘With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, HALF A KING is definitely a full adventure’ RICK RIORDAN

About the Author

Joe Abercrombie was born in Lancaster on the last day of 1974, the son of an English teacher and a sociologist. He spent much of his youth in imaginary worlds, and left school with a good idea of how to make stuff up. He moved to the big city, learned to brew tea, and ended up as a TV editor, working on documentaries, events and concerts for bands from Iron Maiden to Coldplay. But in the darkness of the night he was still making stuff up, and his first book, The Blade Itself, was published in 2006. He now lives in Bath with his wife Lou and their three children Grace, Eve and Teddy and makes stuff up full-time.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok I guess 18 Sep 2014
When I happened to be sitting in one of the two waterstones in Lancaster (why does such a small town have two?) I happened to come across this, written by none other than a Lancaster born Joe! Quite literally too. Beautiful cover and novelty aside, I began reading the book that night. And read half the plot in a single sitting.
I'm not going to call this book bad, although I will say that I didn't find out that I was reading a book aimed at teens until after I had read it, and actually briefly thought I was reading something akin to a fantasy version of Stephanie Meiyer (I suppose it is if you count them as teen books, but otherwise, little similarity). Afterwards, when I found this out, the book drastically improved in my eyes. Whilst it's not particularly deep (and I love deep), or superbly written, or going to win any literature prizes, it is a competent novel that I would happily recommend to a teen (in fact, I gave it to my 11 year old sister), and possibly even to teens who don't particularly like reading. It seems to me to be significantly better than the average teen book (as someone who gave up reading teen books when they were 14 due to the consent patronising feel of many writers... And the general lack of teen books not about sparkling vampires).
It's a relatively fun romp throughout what appears to be post apocalyptic scandinavia (seriously, look at the map) with a slight scot lynch twist (seriously, he wrote the introduction to the sci fi masterworks edition of the lies of locke lamora, made clear his admiration for the writer, then started swearing at him because he wanted to write books like that) in the monolithic ruins of a fallen civilsation that dot the landscape like Lynch's elder glass (sorry Abercrombie, I called you out. Not that I mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Reading 7 July 2014

Joe Abercrombie is one of “THE” authors in the fantasy genre, the first law series is one of the best series in the last 10 years. But for me the first law world series seemed a slow decline, maybe it was due to an expectation set too high? but after Red Country i was really struggling to read another book.

But when the wonderful Jane Johnson starts to spread the word about an exciting new book its hard not to catch that infectious excitement. It was thanks to that lovely lady that i found myself the proud owner of an advance copy of Half a King, even then i had to fight my TBR (to be read) pile and reticence, Then we hit the week of release and i knew i owed both Jane and Joe a read of the book.

I’m so glad i did, While the setting and the people are not Norse the whole world has a very Norse feel to it, the culture and mindset is very much a Norse / Vikingr group. The men are fighters, honour and blood are key to their world. When Yarvi finds himself first a King, then a slave he must learn to overcome his weakness and fight for his vengeance, too fulfill his oaths. As ever with an Abercrombie book there is never just one great character, we are spoiled, from the main group of oarmates to the side characters, Kings, soldiers and ministers, there are so many great nuances in each and every character.

This was a trip back to the early writing wonder of Abercrombie, i was swamped with the tale, taken on board and tied to an oar, flung into the frozen sea and driven to my limits with my oarmates. All of this Joe manages in such a way as to entertain and enthrall the reader, at no point did i think the book was a Young adult read, and looking back on it i can see its a book for any age, YA through to old farts like me.

Highly recommended

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but watered down Abercrombie 7 July 2014
I am a massive fan of this talented writer. Given his reputation for dark, realistic and adult fantasy I was interested to see how this would translate into a "Joe lite" YA novel.
So, heir to throne has a deformed hand and a lack of agression, so of course his uncle tries to kill him and then steals the throne. Our hero swears revenge and then has a journey of personal growth and gathers an odd group of friends as he gets the chance to take back his kingdom.
Taking the full grit out of the novel does water down what Mr Abercrombie is so good at, but this is still very readable. The author does not really do heroes, his characters tend to be very grounded and deal with what's in front of them.
So our half a King' survives by wit and not brawn and with some very odd companions. This Joe lite novel does feature the humour, the characterisation and the twists of his normal works, but by going 'lite' it does take a little something away that takes this into the less than outstanding novels we have become accustomed to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Should be longer... 15 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Okay, it's not as epic or complex as the First Law series, but this is still a great read - strong storyline, good pace of action, interesting characters and enjoyable dialogue. At first, Yarvi's witticisms feel a tad stilted, being perhaps too reminiscent of the humour in the author's previous works; but as the story progresses this slight niggle becomes less apparent and I had a couple of laugh out loud moments - largely thanks to 'Nothing'...

I'm impatient for Book 2 (why can we only pre-order a hard copy? Surely it will be coming out in Kindle?) - the end of this first book, although not a cliff hanger, leaves lots of promising threads for further development. The only reason I have given only 4 rather than 5 stars is that the book feels a bit on the short side - read it in 2 days. Please make Books 2 and 3 solid doorstoppers, Mr Abercrombie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Once started I it, I could not put it down. Great little book!
Published 11 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars brill
For a younger audience than the previous books but very good indeed. Abercrombie is definitely the master of the plot twist. Highly recommended
Published 2 days ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe is brilliant
Another fantastic read from Joe Abercrombie,couldn't put it down.totally recommend anything written by him,he is my favourite author by far.Looking forward to book two.
Published 7 days ago by Louise hawker
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS BOOK
What a great read Joe Abercrombie has done it again. I can't wait for the next one!
Published 8 days ago by Jilly_mo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent service and the book is very good
Published 9 days ago by Will
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
What a book and what a surprise.
Published 10 days ago by paul
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge let down
Abercrombie is a talented author. Without exception, his earlier books were outstanding. Highly developed characters, wonderfully complex worlds and challenging storylines. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mr. G. J. Walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars The more things change..,
Only a slightly different direction for Joe Abercrombie, as although a YA novel, Half a King retains all the interesting elements we have all come to know and love. Read more
Published 11 days ago by MarcthePat
5.0 out of 5 stars New Series, New World
Right it's Joe Abercrombie so you know what to expect, useless Union soldiers, the Bloody Nine..

Not here it's a completely new setting and new story, it's a good start... Read more
Published 11 days ago by adamsson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Great price and great writer.
Published 11 days ago by Lee Harper
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