Third book of the Shattered Sea trilogy
By Joe Abercrombie
Available now from Del Rey (Penguin Random House)
Read my reviews of Half a King and Half the World
I was excited to finish the Shattered Sea trilogy since I enjoyed both of the first two books. There's something so satisfying about finishing a series.
Each of the books shifts focus to a different narrator. The main narrator of HALF A WAR is Skara, a princess who sees her family slaughtered. She's traumatized and in exile, but she's also a queen now. She must figure out how to be more than a figurehead and rescue her country from war. Half a war is political shenanigans, and I love political shenanigans. (What I didn't love is how many times characters express that sentiment. Half a war, it's the title, we get it.)
The protagonists of the previous two books do appear. Yarvi is used very well. He's changed from who he was at the beginning of HALF A KING, and do many of the characters' points of view he's one of the villains. Even though we only got a third of his journey through his eyes, it's been an intriguing one to watch. I didn't think Thorn and Brand, from HALF THE WORLD, were used as well. In fact, I rather disliked how they were treated in this book.
The Shattered Sea trilogy is composed of three very different coming-of-age stories. Skara's story is probably my favorite of the three. I admired the balance between her inexperience and her ability to learn quickly, listen wisely, and act decisively. The co-protagonist, Raith, didn't impress me as much. He's a brutal fighter annoyed at being traded to Skara like a thing, but he does think she's hot. His character development felt inorganic, especially when Skara's was right there being done smoothly and neatly.
I thought HALF A WAR was a strong ending to the series. The main storylines come to satisfying conclusions, but not completely neat ones that are false to what comes before. The previous stories are built on, although too many elements from HALF THE WORLD fall to the wayside. And Skara is the strongest protagonist of the series, which definitely gives the story a boost. I think HALF A WAR will definitely satisfy fans of the Shattered Sea trilogy.