Half a King

High fantasy. Seems like it’s everywhere now, since Game of Thrones became popular.

I dunno, maybe it was everywhere before that, but it’s one of those things where you don’t notice it until you do, and then it’s everywhere.

Either way–I’m glad, because I love it. I mean, I don’t foresee anyone writing as hardcore and complicated a world as George RR Martin’s, but there is a lot of great stuff out there.

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Today’s selection was Half a King by Joe Abercrombie, and it did not disappoint. Yarvi, a second son, is set to take his minister’s test, when his father and brother are killed. Suddenly he is thrust into kingdom and all it’s responsibilities. He is quickly betrothed to his brother’s promised wife, and coronated. However, his uncle sees the opportunity to take the throne. I don’t want to give you any more, because, spoilers, but the book is essentially Yarvi’s fight for a kingdom he wasn’t supposed to have.

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say this is based in Viking/Norse history. The names have sort of a Scandinavian feel to them, and the lifestyle is based around the sea and oarsman powered boats. Besides that, the world is fairly simple in it’s structure, at least in this first book. The characters are well written, and everything flows well.

I especially liked the banter between the oarsmen (and women). As you’d expect, they were an ornery, dirty lot, but good-natured and hearty. Once they got out of captivity, I loved how they banded together into a family group. Oh, and the author sneaks in a Homer-esque joke in there, so watch out for that. Definitely got a smirk out of me!

Something else important about this story–the hero of this book is disabled. While everyone else gives him a world of crap for it–like thinking him the lesser prince, for instance–he never lets it slow him down. If anything, it makes him smarter and stronger.

I just added the second book to my TBR, which is about as great a compliment as I can give any series. If it’s good enough for me to pick up the next one, you know you’ve got a winner in my heart! Now, let’s see how soon the library will take to get it to me.

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Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass.

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This is one of those books that has everyone talking right now, so naturally, I couldn’t wait to read it. High fantasy with a female assassin? Yes please.

Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t completely live up to the hype.

It wasn’t terrible, I did like the basic storyline, and Celeana was a pretty badass character overall. But, I felt like the structure was just very elementary in development. I felt like I had read this book before at times, that I knew already what was going to happen.

There were also some character traits that just didn’t make any sense to me. The biggest of those–Chaol seems pretty naive for a Captain of the Guard. How in the world did he get to that rank without killing a man or seeing a man die? Not exactly the type of backbone I want protecting my castle…just saying.

Speaking of Chaol…and Dorian. TALK ABOUT A LOVE TRIANGLE HOLY CRAP. I probably won’t read the rest of the series (which is rare for me, and tells you just how disinterested I was in the first book), but have fun with trying to sort that one out. It’s about as delightful as Peeta vs Gale.

Anyway, I might be the only person on the bloggersphere who doesn’t like this book. And I’m really surprised that I didn’t. For me it was just iffy writing. This is Sarah Maas’ first book, so maybe she’ll get stronger as she goes. I don’t want to totally dismiss her, but this one wasn’t enough for me to keep going.

Has anyone  else read the other books in the series? Do they get any better as they progress?