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on 29 June 2017
I really enjoyed this one. It moves at a good pace and grips the reader early on. The ending is satisfying and the plot is cleverly done.

Only real criticisms would be:
- most of Yarvi's party aren't fleshed out much. It would have been good to get to know them a bit better.
- Yarvi's initial problem is that he was born with a physical disability in a culture that believes leading men should be great warriors and therefore gives basically zero respect or opportunity to someone with a disability. Yarvi learns to overcome his physical limitation and succeed in his quest using wit and guile instead of muscle - this is extremely well done - but my criticism is that even after he saves the day nobody seems to appreciate what he's done. He's still scorned and despised by almost everyone around him.

Lastly (BIG SPOILER ALERT) I was surprised that Uthil let him renounce his birthright and run off to join the ministry with (as far as I could make out) no other possible heirs to the throne. Might have been a good idea to keep him around until Uthil had a couple of his own kids (or at least someone he could trust) ready to take over, then let Yarvi go into the ministry.
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on 18 November 2015
I can't help feeling that this book is to Game of Thrones what a school concert is to the Proms. It's certainly nice, but I'm not of the opinion that it's the masterpiece it has been touted as. I don't feel like I particularly wasted my time reading it, and there was a lovely little dark twist at the end, but I still felt something lacking. I confess to having had high expectations for this book generated mainly from all the positive reviews on the front and back cover and on the first few pages of the book itself, all proof that many people do think it's something exceptional, however I'm just not quite with them. It's good, but not THAT good -at least, that's how I see it. Whilst the basic story is good and the protagonist interesting, other characters seemed lacking, the pirate captain in particular felt a little cringeworthy, and the interrelationships near enough non-existent. One of the main twists is nicely played out but certainly nothing new, and at certain times the story just felt a little bland to me. On the other hand, Yarvi was a character I wanted to support, despite a disproportionate amount of heartache: issues with his father, mother, self-esteem and physique are frequently hammered home. That said, I did appreciate the representation of his disability within the story, whilst Abercrombie was occasionally a little heavy-handed (pun intended) in his treatment of the issue, reminding the reader repeatedly of Yarvi's withered limb, it is never the most interesting thing about him, yet nor is it conveniently forgotten when he becomes a hero.

Worth a read if you want a fantasy novel for a rainy weekend, but lacking in the rich intrigue and complexity of something like Game of Thrones.
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on 28 October 2015
God this book moved fast.
It seemed to me he went from prince to slave to silver tongued man in the space of 50 pages. There was zero gravity to any choices because he seemed to get himself out of them instantly. It lacks depth and the world building was woeful. Really amatuer stuff here imo. I'm going to give it 3 because I reserve 2 and 1 for twiight level bad writing, and this one was atleast competent in that department. Just boring I'm afraid, very boring.
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on 12 November 2016
Having been spoiled by the excellent `First Law` series I was hoping for another fine read, but it was not to be. The characters had little depth and I simply could not engage with them. The weak plot jumped rapidly from one scenario to the next giving the impression Joe wanted to get to the end of the story as quickly as I did. Unfortunately I had already purchased ` Half the World` before I discovered these novels are aimed at the Young Adult market. I hope the second book in the series improves or Joe stops dumbing down his supreme writing skills and gets back to what he is so very good at.
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on 25 July 2015
The beginning of this book was well written and had a good story plot, and I did enjoy it for the first 3/4 of the book. But the last few chapters really let it down, it became badly written has if it was rushed to a conclusion, with flowery writing which really puts me off. The main character did not learn form his experiences, and most if not all the characters were not explored well enough for me to give this more then 2 stars. I am left very disappointed and doubt I will ever read another book from this author.
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on 31 May 2015
I've enjoyed Joe's books in the past very much so.
And to a certain extent I enjoyed this as well.
Just not as much.
It starts out promising enough and I'm really not qualified to criticize somebody else's work.

It's good but wraps up a little to fast for my liking, with no real pay off.
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on 25 June 2015
Read all of JA's stories and really enjoyed them so got this one. Felt a bit low key to me and when completed I read the interview with the author and grasped the whole YA business ?
I guess he achieved what he set out to do but it's not for me . I prefer full on Joe . Bring back Ninefingers?
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on 16 August 2015
Not as good as i imagined it would be after reading the reviews. I just did not get into the story or really care about any of the characters or what was happening. I cant explain why I just did not get on with this book.
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on 23 April 2017
...he doesn't deserve to lose potential readers yet. More like this would make me ignore him. It would have perhaps been nice to know this was targeted at young adults first, but I would have still expected more complexity and length, this was for kids. All I can ask is "how young is a young adult"? Perhaps I'm weird, but I'd read the majority of Tolkien's work by 14. Thankfully I didn't pay full price for this.
Three stars as I like the author and there were glimpses of the old Abercrombie. I'll read the others if I can buy them cheap (just for completion) but suspect the series will go to charity after.
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on 4 September 2015
You cant go wrong with anything Joe Abercrombie writes, The First Law trilogy and subsequent standalone books have all been in my opinion fantastic. This one is set in the Viking era and again laced with dark humour and fantastic action, weaved around and interesting story. What more could you want got it bought and get it read!!!!
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