Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he ca- No, wait. Wrong series. Though you might be hard-pressed to know it. Because aside from a lack of offensive language and a slightly downplayed level of violence, Abercrombie's young adult SHATTERED SEA series is pretty damn close to as good as his FIRST LAW series.
It has the same array of gray characters (they're just usually younger), the same twists and turns of plot, the same political intrigue, and the same moments of sudden violence where you genuinely wonder whether the character you've been rooting for is going to come through it alive.
Half the World has the unenviable job of being the middle book of a trilogy, and just like Before They Are Hanged, it has to move every character into their appropriate place for events that will transpire in the final book - and all whilst still telling its own story. In this case, I would suggest Abercrombie does a better job here than what he achieved with Before They Are Hanged, if only because the journey the main POV characters Thorn and Brand take with Father Yarvi to find allies against the High King is clearer cut and successfully dealt with by the last page, unlike my recollection of what took place in the middle book of THE FIRST LAW series.
However, Half the World does run a little long - a good 110 pages longer than its predecessor - and at times the pace does drag. Particularly in the last 80 or so pages. As such, I did not enjoy this quite as much as I did Half a King, but I definitely like where the story ended. And as such, I cannot help but think Half a War is going to be one incredible book.
Now if only it would hurry up and get delivered already...
3.5 Hopes Not Gone the Way We Would Like for Half the World.