- Page Count: 336
- Release Date: July 15, 2014
- My Rating: 4.5 stars
Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.
But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…
I went into this high fantasy book bracing myself for a lot of pages with tiny words and painfully detailed worldbuilding, but it ended up being such an awesome surprise! It’s actually a pretty quick read with short chapters, the pacing is great, and I was totally laughing out loud in parts. Plus, there were three big plot twists I did NOT see coming… and I loved it all.
Prince Yarvi is born with a crippled hand and will not let himself or the reader forget that he is therefore half a man because he can’t even hold a shield. Yarvi was never meant to be king, but all sorts of twisted schemes ensue and he finds himself on the throne… (view spoiler) and goes through a LOT before the story comes full circle in a wonderfully clever way.
I’ll admit the story itself isn’t anything terribly original, but the way everything unfolds makes it stand out. I was just so thrilled that the plot (and my attention) didn’t get lost in some endless descriptions or flowery writing. The story is polished and straightforward but still has some powerful imagery & deep dialogue. Hooray.
The main character will usually make or break a story for me and I really liked Yarvi! He manages to turn his empathy, patience, and wit into weapons. And I’ve been annoyed with how a lot of male fantasy authors write women (I mean, we are people… not some magical other species. It’s not that hard) but that was never an issue here. All of the characters were really well done! Like the villains were so unexpected and human.
This is the first book I’ve read by Joe Abercrombie and I’ll definitely be reading more. There’s just this witty tone to most of the story that made everything way more adventurous instead of some very serious and important ordeal. The dialogue was hilariously real, too!
Basically, this felt like a YA version of the typical adult fantasy novel, which is apparently exactly what I want.