Half a War: Joe Abercrombie

★★★½

The Shattered Sea: Book III

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Joe Abercrombie’s young-adult trilogy, which I’ve used as a way to ease myself into the considerably grimmer and darker world of his adult novels. This concluding instalment of the Shattered Sea trilogy already breaches some more troubling themes than its predecessors. This is a tale of blood and senseless slaughter; of moral decisions taken by the immoral. It’s a story which represents the truly brutalising force of war: not that men and women lose their lives, but that they lose their honour and their humanity in thrall to weapons more powerful than themselves. Inventive to the last, Abercrombie’s world turns established fantasy on its head and left me grinning at its impudent audacity.

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Half the World: Joe Abercrombie

★★★★

The Shattered Sea: Book II

Yarvi may have found his way home to Gettland, but his trials are far from over. With his uncle Uthil installed on the throne, and in Queen Laithlin’s bed, Yarvi has finally been able to join the Ministry as he always dreamed. And yet dreams have a horrible habit of turning out to be rather different from how one imagines. The Ministry may claim to be interested in peace, but the powerful Grandmother Wexen pulls strings across the nations of the Shattered Sea and beyond, while Yarvi must engage all his wits to prevent Gettland being sucked into a war against the High King.

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Half a King: Joe Abercrombie

★★★★

The Shattered Sea: Book I

When I found this book in the library, I decided to spend some quality time with Joe Abercrombie. I’ve meant to read his novels for ages and now, having enjoyed my first taste of alleged ‘grimdark’ thanks to K.J. Parker, and savoured Abercrombie’s short story Two’s Company, I think the time has come. I’d always intended to start with The Blade Itself, but this story caught my imagination right away. A king murdered in strange circumstances. A prince robbed of his throne by a wicked uncle, and sold into slavery. And a ragtag band of galley-slaves stumbling into the wilderness, dreaming of freedom… and revenge. Oh yes. This was definitely my kind of book.

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More Short Stories from Tor.com

Tor.com

I’ve really been enjoying reading short stories from Tor.com – it feels decadent to sample one or two different authors during my commute – and so I decided to continue working my way through their treasure-trove of original fiction, each story presented with its own specially-designed cover by one of various talented artists. This selection includes all manner of fantastical sub-genres, taking in horror, romance, morality tales and epic fantasy with a comic twist. Find the first batch here. More coming soon!

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