Joe Abercrombie: Half a War (Review)



Half a War ( Buy a signed copy )

(The third book in the Shattered Sea series)
A novel by Joe Abercrombie

Words are weapons.

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords.

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships only Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil.

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness….


So often with a final book im left feeling a bit disappointed, slightly unfulfilled, not so in the case of this book and this series.  I have criticised this author a few times for lack of brevity (to be fair I think I used the term windy) … but in this series every word is not only needed, but is a powerful driver in the story, I could have been happy with twice the book length and still thought it not enough.

The subtle mix of post apocalyptic world, where the remnants of our world and its people are seen as magical elves, to be feared and reviled for their short-sighted destruction of the world. Coupled with the Norse style world that has grown around the shattered sea, nations war like in nature, man recreating all its old mistakes, grasping with greedy hands for what others have, climbing the rungs of power, willing to moralise and justify any step to settle a grudge or avenge a loved one. Vows to the gods being as powerful as ever.

The author does a wonderful job of showing us the cyclical nature of man’s destructive ambition, the futility of war and how easily a good man can be subverted by power. All this though is wrapped in a highly entertaining fantasy/ post apocalyptic world, crammed with atmosphere and deep cunning!

Half a King

Half the World

The reviews of the two previous books will give you a flavour for the characterisation and the quality of the prose in the series, the author continues this in style, quality and power, he makes you care for each and every character, turning once quite despicable characters into ones you can sympathise with and ones you once loved start to despair for , he makes you walk in their shoes for a while, understand their drivers, suddenly even their horrific reality isn’t quite so evil, it’s just their nature, beat a dog and it will bite you eventually, and those who swear vengeance are often destroyed by it.

As always with the final book in a series you hope to see it all tied up, and while the author does this to a degree, there is plenty left, because the world keeps turning, life keeps being lived and ambition is never defeated.

not only the author should be congratulated for this fantastic series, but also the whole team behind the publishing of the book, the art work for this series has been stunning, and the teasing delivery out to reviews and fans has been a great success from the publishers, the whole series all 1344 pages (3 books) in the space of a year.

I cant wait to see what comes next from Joe Abercrombie, it’s always something new fresh and exciting.


First Law
1. The Blade Itself (2006)
2. Before They Are Hanged (2007)
3. Last Argument Of Kings (2008)
The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged / Last Argument of Kings(omnibus) (2012)
The First Law Trilogy (omnibus) (2015)

First Law World
1. Best Served Cold (2009)
2. The Heroes (2010)
3. Red Country (2012)
The Great Leveller: Best Served Cold, The Heroes and Red Country, together in one omnibus volume (omnibus)(2015)
Shattered Sea
1. Half a King (2014)
2. Half the World (2015)
3. Half a War (2015)
The Collected Joe Abercrombie (2013)


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Joe Abercrombie: Half a War (Review)

  1. Pingback: Parmenion Books my 2015 in Review | parmenionbooks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.