Half A King

Half A King

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"The Shattered Seas trilogy has worked its way into a very exclusive group of my favorite fantasy novels of all time."--James Dashner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner

"A fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go."--George R. R. Martin

"I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath."

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began--in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Praise for Half a King

"Tremendously entertaining . . . lightning-fast and filled with a wonderful collection of rogues, villains and two-faced bastards . . . From the first chapter [Joe Abercrombie] wastes no time as the reader is swept up in a gripping tale of betrayal and revenge." -- SciFi Now

"Once this plot has its teeth in you, it will not let go. . . . Abercrombie's masterful storytelling means that everything, from the characters that you come to love and despise, to the sprawling world that is explored, is enthralling." -- Fantasy Book Review

"Abercrombie's Shattered Sea is a fantastic yet believable backdrop to Yarvi's struggle, a vivid imaginary land." --The Seattle Times

"Intriguing characters . . . nonstop action." --Chicago Tribune

" Half a King is my favorite book by Joe Abercrombie so far, and that's saying something." --Patrick Rothfuss

"As in all Abercrombie's books, friends turn out to be enemies, enemies turn out to be friends; the line between good and evil is murky indeed; and nothing goes quite as we expect. With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, Half a King is definitely a full adventure." --Rick Riordan

"Enthralling! An up-all-night read." --Robin Hobb

"Polished and sharp, perhaps his most technically proficient novel yet . . . I dare you to read the first chapter and try not to turn the next page." --Brent Weeks

" Half a King can be summed up in a single word: masterpiece. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a Viking saga. It's a revenge tale and family drama and the return of the prodigal son. But most of all, it's this: a short time alongside people as weak and blundering as we are and, in the midst of it all, as heroic. Far too short a time, as it turns out. What a wonderful book." --Myke Cole

" Half a King is full of all the adventure I've come to expect from Abercrombie and a tenderness I never knew he had." --Sam Sykes
Publisher: New York :, Del Rey,, [2014]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780804178327
Branch Call Number: FIC Aberc
Characteristics: 336 pages


From Library Staff

KateHillier Aug 10, 2014

This book sort of sneaks up on you. On one hand this tale is very similar to a lot of other revenge, take back the throne, style stories but you do not want to put the book down. Yarvi is headed for the Ministry, an order sort of like the clergy but heavily educated and tend to serve as advisors ... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
alburke47 Jan 25, 2018

(Audiobok Review) I've read some young adult over the last couple of years (I am young only at heart), and the only comparison Half a King had with them was that it had a young protagonist. Of course, this is young adult written by Joe Abercrombie, and it definitely felt more like a JA book than YA.

The crux of the story is prince Yarvi, scorned through his long life for having a crippled hand, becomes king at a young(ish) age. His countryfolk won't accept him, and endeavour to get rid of him. However, it turns out Yarvi is harder to kill than that stupid mosquito who gets into your bedroom when you're trying to go to sleep. Stupid bug. Great story though.

Yarvi runs through calamity after calamity, but learns as he goes and collecting friends along the way. The narrator was great, and made the story at least sound like it was YA (whatever the hell that is anyway), and don't let the genre tag out you off. Like your fantasy dark and not so epic, Half a King is definitely worth a look. And perhaps the young adults of today should be reading stories like this anyway...

Jan 23, 2018

A great story with a relatable character. Yarvi, the main character in the story has only 1 fully functioning hand. A good way to introduce a non traditional hero. He also gains a thrown and has it usurped by someone close to him early on. Embarking on a quest for revenge with a motley cast of allies he eventually learns a lot about himself and the strengths he has despite his weaknesses and trials. A great book for fans of the overcoming underdog!

Feb 17, 2017

The first chapter of the Shattered Sea trilogy. On the surface, it's a basic 'brains over brawn' revenge adventure, but there is a lot more going on once you get into the following books. I won't spoil it, but this series is not the genre it seems. There are a few plot twists in each book of the series, including a pretty good one in this book. Some people might have seen it coming, but I didn't. I agree with other reviewers, this book (and its sequels) were very hard to put down once you get started. It's a great read for fans of sword and sorcery adventures.

Jul 06, 2016

Excellent series

LPL_CentennialC Feb 22, 2016

This book is the beginning of an epic fantasy series that is sure to delight fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. A young, crippled prince must face his destiny when his father and older brother are murdered--and his journey of revenge takes him much farther than he ever thought possible. Half a King is a little slow paced, but Abercrombie’s complex characters and rich world building keep the story going throughout. My favorite parts of this book? A flawed narrator, compelling supporting characters, and gritty battle scenes. Perfect for young adults and adults alike!

DevilStateDan Aug 05, 2015

I'm now a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie - his action sequences are very well paced & gruesomely effective, his characters are beautifully flawed &/or troubled & his language use & writing style is great. These books are a great way in to his fantasy world, first seen in The Blade Itself & is a good option for young adults to explore his writing.
I'm hoping during this, my #2015ReadingChallenge to complete this trilogy in addition to the other trilogy that I chose.... just because I really like it!

mvkramer Jul 07, 2015

Be warned, this book is ADDICTIVE. I read it in one day, straight through - I almost never do that. Very fast-paced, exciting, great story for fantasy readers who like political schemes more than dragons and wizards. My one quibble is that the book is almost too fast - the author really could have spent more time with the characters. In fact, this book felt like a prequel volume almost - setting up a world and characters for later. I have the sequel on order, so we'll see if it lives up to my expectations.

May 04, 2015

I am new to the fantasy genre but this book has certainly meant this will change. Great characters and a twist. Can't wait to get my hands on the next installment.

Rbrightone Nov 17, 2014

Well worth reading. It took me a bit to get into it but after about page 40 or so I was hooked. Enjoy

Nov 15, 2014

An exciting, fast-paced story of revenge, with a couple of interesting twists thrown in. The main character is a bit of a switch from the standard sword wielding main character, as one of his arms is crippled; he is a schemer rather than a fighter.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Feb 23, 2017

chaponniere thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Quote
Oct 14, 2016

The wise speaker learns first when to stay silent.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top