This is the final book in the Shattered Sea series. I am pleased to give you this final review and I do recommend reading the series for yourself.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said…
Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
Synopsis From The Book
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. If she is to reclaim her birthright, she must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge.
Only half a war is fought with swords.
The deeply 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 irons wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.
(The orange was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)
Short Synopsis By Me
Skara is a princess, of a worn torn country. The night that her family is taken from her is the night that she must stand for herself. In war there is no teaching and learning only action. Skara must learn to navigate the politics of the worlds strongest and most cunning, while being able to stand for herself.
Raith is the cupbearer for Grom-gil-Gorm, Maker of Orphans and Breaker of Swords. He is highly trusted and placed by Skara’s side in an attempt to control her and watch her. Only he falls for her, and must decide the sort of man and warrior he wants to become.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
A conclusion to the series. More new characters and with my track record thus far, I feel that I will adore them. I do admit to skimming the end because I wanted to know if Yarvi lived. He does! That’s all I need to know. That’s all I truly care for. Him and his mother, and they both are alive, so I am excited. While I don’t want any of the characters dead, I will not be angry if they do die. This is a war after all. Blood spills in war.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Yup. I find it interesting, for this book. It ends also in a way that shows that there could be more. All the character stories have been completed but there could have been more. I loved so much of this series. This book in particular really did hurt me. There is a part where so much knowledge is burned and the burning of books always pains me. I was shocked by the deaths in this book and how the occurred. I suppose that makes them ever the better, especially Grom-gil-Gorm’s.
What I Liked:
Skara. Mind you at first I didn’t like our princess, but out of all the growth from the characters hers was the greatest and the most obvious to see. She went from a feeble child to someone who could stand on equal playing ground as Yarvi, and still chose to be good. Props to her. She is cunning in her own regard and I am proud of her.
Koll’s growth as a character. Koll was the second perspective in this book, after Skara. I really liked his internal struggle, as well as when he called Yarvi out for essentially guilt tripping him. I liked his and Rin’s relationship. I love that he chose what is best for him as well as his talent with carving.
The fighting, the war, the politics of it all. I find the strained peace, the brutality of war, and the way that the battles progressed, to be so interesting. Also, perhaps because Yarvi is my sweet backstabbing viper in the shadows and he led them all forward. Seeing the war in this book was satisfying for me.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Perhaps less open ends, but I do know that this book is set in a world. The world continues to move outside the confines of the book end. Did I expect everything to be wrapped up in a cute little bow? No. Only it leaves me wanting more.
I suppose I would have liked more from Raith (the third perspective of the book). I under stood his motivations. I simply feel that there should have been more to him when his brother died.
Why You Should Read:
It’s a great conclusion to the series. It does tie up the lose ends from book 2, with the end of the war. It creates a stable peace in the mind, and helps bring some sort of conclusion to these characters outside the fact that their lives are not over.
Time Taken To Read
2 hours 50 min
I will note why I ranked this book a little lower than Half the World and that was a matter of personal preference.
“You can only conquer your fears by facing them. Hide from them and they conquer you.” – Skara’s grandfather
“Once panic clutches a man it spreads faster than the plague, faster than fire.” – Part of Raith’s perspective
“It is tradition for the farmers and the butchers to divide the meat without seeking the opinions of the pigs.” and later “After all, it is tradition for the farmer and the butcher… to divide the meat without seeking the opinions… of the pigs.” – The first time this is said it is Prince Varoslaf (A prince from a another land and a tertiary character) speaking to Queen Laithlin about Koll and Isriun. The second it is Koll speaking to Isriun about Prince Varoslaf and Queen Laithlin. It is actually a pretty great burn in context, and a good quote out of context.
“Every hero is someone’s villain.” Father Yarvi to Skara
“I used to think the world had heroes in it. But the world is full of monsters…” Skara to Sister Owd.