Half the World seems more of a ‘coming of age’ story than its predecessor Half a King. Normally I have to say, I’m not a fan of traditional ‘coming of age’ stories, as there are all too many which are badly written or move along at an unrealistic pace, with a farm-boy becoming a weaponmaster overnight, or likewise mastering the arcane arts in scant weeks. Half the World however was good, and I remain a massive fan of Abercrombie’s writing. The ‘coming of age’ story moves at a believable rate, but there are enough swirling subplots alongside it that mean the pace of the book does not drag.
As always with Abercrombie’s writing, there were numerous and varied twists as well. The whole plot seems from about the halfway point to be racing towards one climax with a particular outcome, but it turns out pretty much opposite to the way I expected. It provided a refreshing change. Such was not the only one however. There was a significant change in main characters, with Brand and Thorn becoming the point of view characters in place of Yarvi. This might have seemed jarring, but all the old favourites from Half a King were still both present and central, if not point of view characters.
Aside from this, the further exploration of the world was fascinating, and as a history student, I enjoyed it when I recognized the parallels between the Empire of the South and the later Byzantine Empire, and especially those regarding the politics.
As well as all this, Half the World manages to set up the final book in the trilogy, Half a War in a fantastically epic fashion, and I cannot wait to read it.
‘Half the World’, by Joe Abercrombie is the second in The Shattered Sea Trilogy.