half the world

Release Date: 12/2/15
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780007550234
Source: I bought a signed copy from Waterstones

SOMETIMES A GIRL IS TOUCHED BY MOTHER WAR

Thorn lives to fight. But she has been named murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

SOMETIMES A GIRL BECOMES A WARRIOR

Fate traps her in the schemes of Father Yarvi, sending her across half the world to seek allies against the ruthless High King.

SOMETIMES A WARRIOR BECOMES A WEAPON

Beside her is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in his eyes and hers, he has one chance at redemption.

AND WEAPONS ARE MADE FOR ONE PURPOSE

Must Thorn be a tool in other hands or can she carve her own path? Is there a place beyond legend for a woman with a blade?

After the events of the first in the trilogy, Half a King, I wasn’t sure where Abercrombie could go with the character of Father Yarvi as his story seemed to have left him in a good place. Therefore, I was pleased to see this book follow the story of a different character: the young warrior, Thorn.

Thorn – like Yarvi in the first book – is not an entirely likeable character. She wants to be a fighter rather than follow the traditional path for a woman and  she must therefore learn to fit in with the men around her. She overcompensates with her tough nut attitude and is widely disliked at the start of the novel. Thorn is strong, determined, skilled (eventually), and emotionally tough which is wonderfully refreshing to see, especially considering how few major female characters we typically see in fantasy novels. She is not without flaws, however; at the start of the novel she is arrogant and not as skilled as she thinks herself to be, and she makes rash decisions without considering the consequences. These imperfections actually make her a better character though. She is a very real, well-rounded female character who doesn’t seem to care about people liking her. We need more of that, especially in fantasy as a genre.

There is enough of the tone and style of the first book for this sequel to work really well, despite the largely new cast of characters. I particularly enjoyed the parallels between Thorn’s journey and Yarvi’s – for example, the importance of time spent rowing and the bonds developed with their oarmates.

Overall, this is a fantastic sequel with a pleasing mix of action and politics and personal drama. I felt that the characters were well-developed with strong personalities and back stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I can’t wait for the final installment this summer!

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