Joe Abercrombie's Half the World Limited art

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

So far, most of Joe Abercrombie's Subterranean Press Limited Edition books presented splendid covers and interior art (most since I don't really like the Red Country cover). Recently, the covers for Half a King and Heroes were among my favorite works ever as far as Fantasy book covers are concerned. Well... they didn't disappoint with the cover and various interior illustrations for the follow-up in the Shattered Seas series, Half the World. The artist is Jon McCoy Enjoy!




By the way, have you ever bought a Subterranean Press Limited Edition book? Which one? If not, what book would you have liked? I think that Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson would have my pick, in fact, I almost bought it but instead, I ordered a signed print of the cover with Anomander Rake. Amazing work by Michael Komarck.

Grimdark conversations - New poll

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Let's start with the basics. What is grimdark? Nobody seems to agree on a universal signification. Do we really know where it comes from? The Urban dictionary is giving us this definition:
An adjective taken from the root words of grim and darkness, both of which are featured in the tagline for Warhammer 40,000: "In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war." It is usually used to describe a setting that would equal poor living conditions and life expectancies for those actually living in it.
This is simply the origin of the word and not its specific use in the Fantasy literature world. However, Know you meme seems to have more information about its origin:
The shorthand term “Grimdark” entered online usage as early as May 2008, when it was used as a descriptor in a blog post on the Wizards of the Coast about the newly released expansion set Shadowmoor. The blog post, titled “The Two-Sided Coin,” details the vision of the writers behind the expansion set. The author notes that they wanted to create a dark world without getting too “grimdark,” as there is still humor and hope in this game’s world. 

In May 2008, the term was used on 4chan’s /tg/ (traditional games) board to describe a potential game that would take place in a school of dark magic. The following month, Grimdark was added to 1d4chan, a Wiki for tropes discussed on the /tg/ board. That October, the term was defined on Urban Dictionary and the single serving site Grimdark.com was registered, containing a picture of an angel seated on a pile of skulls. 

The term has been also referenced in TV Tropes’ explanation of “Darker and Edgier,” the tone shift used to make a seemingly innocent fictive world seem more adult. The definition of Grimdark has also been discussed on the RPG.net forums, the Fanlore wiki and the Warhammer 40k message board Warseer. Grimdark images and fanfiction are shared on Equestria Daily, deviantArt, fanfiction.net and Tumblr.
And now let's look at what it means in the Fantasy world we love so much. Is it really a genre? A sub-genre of Fantasy? A sub-sub-genre of Dark Fantasy? The name given to novels where life is represented in a grittier and more 'realistic' fashion? Is it really important? So far, I think it was mostly used to talk about the 'darker' side of the books of the likes of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Richard K. Morgan, George R.R. Martin and Steven Erikson. Among them, some talked about it:

If you take a look at what the online community is rambling about, the fact that lots of best grimdark fantasy books lists exist, that you can find many forums or reddit posts discussing the topic, the presence of grimdark dedicated blogs (like Grimdark Fantasy Reader) or magazine (Grimdark Magazine), you can't denied that the term is still fashionable. Moreover, with the success of the authors I pointed out, it's no real surprise.

I also looked back at my previous poll. Back in 2013, I asked if you liked your Fantasy to be gritty and 87% of you answered positively. Sometime later, I asked if you thought that there was too much violence and you said no with a percentage of 88. The two factors are not representing all the elements that it takes to put the grimdark epithet on a Fantasy novel but they are fundamental factors. When I posted a poll about genre mixing, grimdark wasn't included...

You might ask yourselves why I'm I coming back with the grimdark topic? It's simple, there was an interesting conversation recently from key authors and thought-provoking bloggers. You really have to visit the great blog Nerds of a Feather, flock together and take a look at this:


And then, Mark Lawrence answered with a post of his own, featuring R. Scott Bakker, Teresa Frochock, Joe Abercrombie, Karen Miller, Richard K. Morgan and Kameron Hurley.

What's your opinion on this? Please share in the comments below.  As far as I'm concerned, I think that the grimdark epithet is misused and overused, as is often the case with specific sub-genres. However, it still represents a certain aspect that many Fantasy books have in common, more so in recent history. For some it's been misinterpreted as a negative moniker and it tends to frustrate the authors associated with it.  And there, I agree with most of what they have said about it.  You can't really define a book simply by saying that it's grimdark and less so an author... We ought to use the term sparingly and appropriately. Still, it's the source of interesting exchanges and debates, and simply for that fact, I'm glad that it found its place under the spotlight for a time. 

Taking all this into account, my next three questions for the poll are (with yes/no as answers for all of them):

Do you believe that grimdark is really a sub-genre of Fantasy?

Is grimdark dead?

Are you attracted by a book labelled as grimdark?

Best of 2014

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's that time of the year... or not anymore. I know I'm a bit late, but better late than never.  I always posted a best list and even if 2014 wasn't my best reading year as far as the number of novels I finished are concerned, I thought it was still a good idea to share. My life changed a lot last year with the birth of my daughter, my second child, but as she reached one year old, I think that I have now managed to return to some of my hobbies, reading and blogging included.

Moreover, I really wanted to finish Joe Abercrombie's Half a King, which looked like a great contender. Alas, even if I think that it's a very good book (my review here), it was enough to make my list. Neither is Mark Lawrence with Prince of Fools, (my review here) another very good book. So even if I didn't manage to review as many books as usual, 2014 was still a good crop for Fantasy!!!

'Best' from the past ...(20132012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009)

***


Best novel



Veil of the Deserters
Jeff Salyards


Veil of the Deserters is the second book in the Bloodsounder's Arc series by Jeff Salyards.  Two years ago, I named Jeff my favorite Fantasy debut of 2012 and he didn't disappoint me with the follow-up. That series explores many interesting themes in an original and imaginative setting. It's a blast!


Here's an extract of my review:

Next on the list is the "origin story" of Bloodsounder, Killcoin infamous weapon. In this case again, Arki is privy to detailed explanations granted by the need for his skills in deciphering old texts. The state of the world and the disappearance of the gods are even mixed in with this, finely expanding on the mythology, theology and geography (I'm looking at you the Godveil). Add to this the reason behind Emperor Cynead recall and you get a storytelling explosion. The last chapters are simply amazing.

What else is there to consider?  The author writing feels even more intuitive and competent while retaining the straightforward aspect and atmosphere we witnessed in Scourge, all for the greater benefit of the delivery of a first person perspective.  The descriptive aspect of it makes the world more vivid than most authors can achieve and the battles scenes could only be praised for a second time around. I was there even if it was not always easy to witness it. Simply a great story, with fascinating themes, meaningful characters and close combat action aplenty.
*

Runners-up for best novel


The Broken Eye
Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks' The Broken Eye is the third book in the Lightbringer series. With each new novel in this 4 books planned grand opus, Weeks story and more importantly his characters grow on me. With Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series, Weeks is at the head of the big fat Fantasy books of old evolution and it feels right at home on my shelves.

Here's an extract of my review:
When I finished The Blinding Knife, I knew that Weeks had four books planned for the series but it felt as if it was only the start of a long series spanning 10 or more volumes. And in the case of the Lightbringer series previous entry, it wasn't that the story was voluntarily extended, it's simply that no definitive endings were in sight and I enjoyed myself so much that I would have liked to spend much more time with Weeks' characters than the planned four books. Consequently, that's still the felling I have after having read The Broken Eye and that's a good sign. I think that the Lightbringer series will be one of the Epic Fantasy series that people compare other series to, if it can finish as it started.  It's not outstanding, but it fills a gap in the Epic Fantasy field alongside the likes of Brandon Sanderson's works.

The meticulously crafted world of Weeks is expanding, opening up and it feels like it's been energized in The Broken Eye.  The solid and original but sometimes obvious magic system shows no limit. It's now simply in the details, in the doctrine of the Chromaturgy and the way it's been twisted that the magic of the author's intricate creation really shine. That support for the cast is a mitigating factor explaining the enjoyment I wrote about earlier. The birthing process was arduous and scholarly but it ended up as a classy proposition.
[...] 
I hope I was able to show you how good and entertaining but not without flaws this series and particular novel are. I did say charming and I meant it. Many characters are simply heroic and against all odds, they succeed. A happy ending? Yes, in some storylines, it looks like a no-brainer. But judging by the characters killed, there's still hope of more surprises. And Brent, please take into consideration the info dumps like the payer of the Broken Eye (ouch) or all the recurrences on the previous books story. Gavin flashbacks were a blast tough. Give us more of his past! A prequel!
*


Words of Radiance
Brandon Sanderson

As I mentioned for The Broken Eye, Words of Radiance is right up my alley in term of big fat Fantasy novels and in this case, it will span 10 books. Words of Radiance is not without flaw but it's a memorable read that speaks well for the future of the Stormlight Archive.


Here's a glimpse of my review
Worldbuilding and magic systems are always a priority of Sanderson.  The basis for WoR is already solid. Slowly, the focus is taken away from the Shattered Plains, even if it's the full story that's taking place there.  The highstorms, sprens, shardplates and blades, fabrials, lashings, the Stormfather... all feel natural. The icing on the cake is the ability for him to make it even more fascinating. It's accepted but it's novelty. With the surprises at the ending... anyone want to know more about the Everstorm and its effects?

As a complement to the rich tale of the book, the mad king Taravangian and his random daily intelligence that spawned the prophetic diagram is making his plays.  The meta story is becoming more complex and the intrigue thickens while the characters remain at the core of this tapestry. Although the first half of the novel felt like a big epilogue of The Way of Kings in term of overall situation and had the same central setting, a whole new set of opportunities has opened in an intriguing new region.

The Stormlight Archive can now be seen as an impressive series, not simply a prelude of great things to come. Words of Radiance is a fascinating successor to The Way of Kings, but again it's not a revolution and has its flaws.  If I come back to the question I asked at the start of the review, I would say yes, Brandon Sanderson is a master, but not The master, of traditional, lengthy, magic heavy, classic but dexterously crafted, Epic Fantasy. WoR proves it for me. A very good read.
***

Best new author / Fantasy debut



Brian Staveley
The Emperor's Blades
Review

Last year, I said that: "More often that not, the debut authors who make name come as a surprise. ". 2014 was different. Brian Staveley's debut was pushed to the front with the help of the hype machine. His first book in the Unhewn Throne series, won't revolutionize the genre but Staveley's work should be a no brainer for fans of Epic Fantasy. From my review:
As you can see, there are enough original Fantasy elements to please everyone but the genre bending aficionado.  I already pointed out that the Kettral are a very good idea and you can consider that Staveley's magic system had some work put into it. It's not ''showing'' too much and we learn about it step by step, not simply in a rhetoric lecture in a class. In a nutshell, the leaches are magic practitioners who gather forces through a well which can be almost anything.  This is where it becomes interesting, the leaches hide their well from each other. This feature is used more than once by the author to create unpredictable situations. 
The Emperor's Blades presents its share of surprises but mostly by holding back some information from the reader (the author should work on this). The wells of leaches are an example.  Still, the book offers a good dose of action, more so when some of the different threads connect and is written with just the right amount of description and a pace keeping the reader interest high enough to make a satisfying page turner. And there's some great original swearing! 
To wrap things up, I would return to my opening statement, The Emperor's Blades is not the new thing that everybody will speculate about.  However, it offers interesting characters and even if the story and much of the "Medieval-themed" world building is conventional, it will quench the thirst of Epic Fantasy lovers in need of something familiar with some novelty here and there.  A commendable debut that will bring you back to old Fantasy we use to love.
***

Most beautiful map

Karvak Realm and Qiangguo
The Silk Map - Gaunt and Bone series by Chris Willrich
created by Rhys Davies



***

Runner-up for most beautiful map

The Syldoon Empire and Kingdom of Anuria
Sepia edition
Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards
created by William McAusland



***

Most beautiful cover

Half a King 
(Subterranean Press limited edition)


Joe Abercrombie
Cover art by Jon McCoy

*

Runners-up for most beautiful cover

The Mirror Empire
Kameron Hurley
Cover art by Richard Anderson


*

Bonus time!

Best cover art with an infamous hooded assassin

The Shadow Master
Craig Cormick
Cover art by Steve Stone



***

Best novels I read this year that came out before 2014


Blood Song
Anthony Ryan

In 2014, I read both Anthony Ryan's debut, Blood Song from the Raven's Shadow series and the follow-up, Tower Lord (I realized that I never reviewed the book...). Blood Song was a big surprise (even if the reviews were pretty good). Sadly, the follow-up isn't really... but I'm not here to review the second book but to tell you how great Blood Song is.

An extract from my review:
Orders, brotherhoods or guilds.  They have been part of many Fantasy stories, even more so when their members are young men or women (for the latter it's less frequent...) dumped by their parents, beggar children or vagrants in need of a home or thieves in need of redemption. Usually, while being related to some kind of religion (war is often an aspect of Gods found in Fantasy) these orders were put in place to educate youngsters in the art of fighting in various forms with some entity behind it all, a religious organisation, an Empire or a rich patron.  Sounds familiar enough? If you have read books like Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God, Elspeth Cooper's Songs of the Earth or more recently The Emperor's Blade by Brian Staveley, it should.

In comparison with the first two novels I enumerated, Blood Song succeeds phenomenally.  Within the Sixth Order, right from the start of the book but after an introduction with his future self, we find ourselves following the exploits, failures, hardships and joy of the larger than life Vaelin Al Sorna.  The world in which the young man tries to take his place is a grim one, reminiscent of the darkest period of the Middle Ages, but, even within the confines of his Order, he will find ways to prove himself.  It's the story of the coming of age of a legend, a dangerous man whose actions will change the world.  There's a specter of prophecy surrounding him, within and without his Order, which becomes solely the mean to hone him as a weapon as he eventually grasp the ins and outs of the world.
[...] 
Blood Song is a great debut.  I'm convinced that with a first book in a series as strong as this one, the Raven's Shadow is worth keeping an eye on.  It's not groundbreaking Fantasy but as you live the story of Vaelin right alongside him, and I really mean live it. You won't forget it.  Really an exceptionally compelling character. I'm glad that Ryan persisted in his quest to be published.
***

February releases

Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 started slowly in term of releases, but February more than makes up for it. Here's my Fantasy releases spotlight for this generous monthly bounty!

***


The Thorn of Dentonhill
A Novel of Maradaine
Marshall Ryan Maresca
February 3rd
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.
 
With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere's clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle.  Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere's side.
 
So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

***


The Autumn Republic
The Powder Mage book 3
Brian McClellan
February 10th
Adopest has fallen... 
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing and his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away. 
With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son. 
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed...
***


Half the World
The Shattered Sea book 2
Joe Abercrombie
February 12th
Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War. 
Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill. 
Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior. 
She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit. 
Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon. 
Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption. 
And weapons are made for one purpose. 
Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?
***


Guns of the Dawn
Adrian Tchaikovsky
February 12th
Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne's brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland. 
Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front. 
In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor's Club; the swamp's own natives hiding from the conflict.
As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne's cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation.
***


The Wide World's End
A Tournament of Shadows book 3
James Enge
February 17th
The tale of the early days of Morlock Ambrosius--master of all magical makers, wandering swordsman, and son of Merlin--concludes!  
From beyond the northern edge of the world, the Sunkillers (undying enemies of everything that lives and breathes and is an individual) are reaching into the sky of Laent to drain out its light and warmth. Their hope is to scrape sky, land, and sea clean of mortal life and return to where they once dwelled, before the first rising of the sun. Against them stand only the Graith of Guardians, defenders of the peaceful anarchy of the Wardlands. But the agents of the Sunkillers are abroad even in the Wardlands: plotting, betraying, murdering among the Graith.  
Married now for a century, Morlock Ambrosius and Aloe Oaij will take different paths to counter the threat. As Aloe ferrets out the enemy within the Graith, Morlock joins forces with his sister, the formidable Ambrosia Viviana, and crosses the monster-haunted plains of the deep north to confront the Sunkillers in their own realm. Morlock and Aloe think their parting is temporary, but it is final. They may or may not save the world, but they will not save each other, or themselves.
***


Shadow
Pendulum book 2
Will Elliot
February 24th
The Wall at World's End has been destroyed and Levaal stands naked again before its twin world. The Arch Mage seeks to unseat Vous before he joins the gods, but loyalties are fractured, within the Castle and among the Free Cities, as war and chaos looms. And a dragon may have escaped its sky prison, while a new alien force is rising by the name of Shadow. 
When Eric Albright opened a door and entered Levaal he was truly a stranger in a strange land. Now the Pilgrim seeks answers, on the dragons, the gods, the demon being called Tormentors, and on the disturbing link between himself and the being known as Shadow ... between our world and Levaal ...
***


Those Above
The Empty Throne book 1
Daniel Polansky
February 26th
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.  
Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.
***


The Iron Ghost
The Copper Promise book 2
Jen Williams
February 26th
Beware the dawning of a new mage... 
Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services. 
When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin - retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking...
***

Half a King review

Wednesday, January 28, 2015




Half a King is the first novel in a new trilogy by British author Joe Abercrombie, the Shattered Sea. The book was released In July 2014 and will be followed later this year by both the middle and final novels, Half the World and Half a War. How is Abercombie's foray into the YA crowd?
“I swore an oath to be avenged on the killers 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 itself. 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’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy...
I have been a fan of Joe's work since the Blade Itself and when he published The Heroes, I think he was at the top of his game, it's one of my favorite books of all time. Red Country was still very interesting but I admit that I was kind of shocked when I learned that he would be writing YA oriented Fantasy. Joe, who's been the new leader of the 'grimdark' wave (while in his case, it was always to support the story, not offend the readers or take advantage of it, and the epithet of 'grimdark' isn't an eulogy as far as he's concerned), would be adventuring into the YA country? What about characters like the Bloody-Nine, Glokta or Bremer Dan Gorst? I should have seen it coming...

Why have I believed that Joe would be predictable? Half a King isn't really a YA novel in the conventional sense. The gory factor or murkier side of humanity isn't as strong in this first book of the Shattered Sea, but it's still not intended solely for the younger crowd... from 7 (or a bit more?) to 77. Anyway, do we really care if it's YA or not? Is it good, that's the real question?

First and foremost are the differences between this work and Joe's previous books. Instead of jumping on the wagon with a number of power players already established, Half a King takes the overused farm boy with a destiny but reinterpret it in the guise of a deposed impaired pretender to the throne. Much more interesting. Furthermore, in contrast with the First Law series, the storytelling is more straightforward and offers a linear quest, even if it's around the sea.  Joe's writing is less elaborate, consisting of very short chapters focusing a lot on advancing the plot and the essential dialogues. The book is more accessible even if the First Law novels weren't laborious to dig into.

Yarvi, the main character, serves as an anchor to set the tone of the story.  From the start, it's clear that his handicap, his maimed hand, in a patriarchal world glorying warfare and fighting prowess is a huge problem, even more so when you're part of a royal family. That's why he chose the path of the Ministry, associated with women throughout the book. He feels weak and as if he doesn't belong, but at least he found an opportunity. It's clear that he will have to overcome more than just the challenge of surviving as a slave seeking retribution.

Then this fragile new possibility is shattered. He becomes king but swiftly enough, finds himself chained to an oar and starts making plans to recover his status. With only his mother as a possible and inaccessible trustworthy ally, his dedication for vengeance will allow him to make good use of his experience, knowledge and expertise gathered through his studies under Mother Gundring of the Ministry. From the necessary friendship he will make and the hardship of their collective flight, will emerge a whole new man. Yarvi will finally bloom, become the man would could have been king, such as he thought he never could be or hasn't had it in him. His mother's son.

The mangled boy's tale is compelling but remember that the author is a character driven writer and it shows in the secondary characters accompanying the ex-king of Gettland, who swore an oath he won't abandon.  I strongly believed in the process by which Yarvi was able to gather them to his cause, even if some of it is simply for survival reasons. A man nicknamed Nothing without much to say but fighting like no other, two fellow oarsmen full of opinions and a long life experience, another slave that Yarvi betrayed, and a romance worthy navigator. Nice cast.

However, by the time they reach their destination and the eventual long awaited confrontation, a foe plays the "I talk for too long and give an opportunity for a kill" game, a secret identity is revealed, still shockingly, as a too fortuitous event (but spicing up the story) and some events are manifestly assumed but all this remains captivating enough. I'm glad that no joyful Disney endings were in sight but I wasn't totally enthralled by the ending. As I mentioned, Yarvi's the anchor to this world and it's a gloomy one. Eventually, the lack of merriment, even in the whole settings visited and people the unlikely group ran across, can create a feeling of bleakness.

They say that you have to look at the journey and not the destination. While it's been an entertaining journey, for me, it wasn't a mesmerizing one. I like Yarvi and what he has become, I want to know what happens to him next, but it's not a powerful craving. A very good book but not an 'Abercrombie's great' one. Still, pick it up, you'll miss something if you don't.

Cover:  The Subterranean Press limited edition cover is amazing while the covers for both the hardcover editions  (UK and US) are ok...
Release date: July 15th 2014
Map: Indeed, of the Shattered Sea and environs
Number of pages: 352 pages hardcover edition
Acquisition method: My own e-book purchase
Other: No...

I liked...Was disappointed by...
Yarvi's blossomingThe constant feeling of bleakness
The secondary castSome twists
The plot all along the journey when Yarvi gathers supportThe less elaborate writing



Half a King review rating :

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