Half a King - Joe Abercrombie

This novel had pretty much everything I enjoy about Abercrombie's writing.  The characters all had their own depth to them.  There was more going on with each of them than the main character was necessarily able to see.  And at least one revelation about a particular character, Ankran, really caught me off guard in a way that was heart-wrenchingly poignant.  He may have been my favorite.  The point is, don't presume everyone is what they seem!

 

The mythology of the setting was interesting and felt fairly unique to me.  I liked the fact that the genders assigned to various deities were mostly the opposite of what one typically sees.  For instance, Mother War, and Father Peace.  The use of elves seemed original to me, and that's a difficult thing to achieve these days.

 

The main character was thoughtful and tried to do the right thing.  He was fairly likable, occasionally somewhat naive, but not to an extent that was hard to believe.  He showed a certain tendency toward compassion in the face of ruthlessness from those around him.  

 

There was at least one character death I predicted, but a couple of plot twists near the end that I didn't.  I think I only predicted the death because I've come to know Abercrombie's style, but despite that, he still has a talent for the unexpected.  

 

The one thing I might've enjoyed more about this would've been if it were a little longer, giving me more time to get to know Yarvi's relationships with the other characters.  I'm just used to a longer book.  But it was quite enjoyable, and for those unfamiliar with the author, I'd say it's a good introduction to his writing.  This is perhaps not quite as dark as some of his other books, but it by no means had a neat, happy ending, either.  That said, it was definitely the right ending.