Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War
Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior
Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon
And Weapons are made for one purpose
Content: Thorn Bathu, born to fight, is named murderer after a boy dies at her hand in the training square. Father Yarvi, deep-cunning and far-seeing, spares her life and takes her on a journey across the Shattered Sea and beyond to find allies against the High King.
What a dragon thinks: The Shattered Sea series has proven to be one of my favourite ones. I had to reread ‘Half the World’ since I have finally found the time to start the third and final book ‘Half a War’ (which I rather like so far). Ever since I entered the viking-ish world of the Shattered Sea I have been wanting to read more. The world is dark and misty, cold oozes from the pages and it seems not even Mother Sun could chase the clamminess away. I review ‘Half the World’ because it might just be my favourite in the series.
Father Yarvi brings the crew of the South Wind together again but apart from Rulf there are only new faces on board yet soon enough I started to love the rugged warriors and sailors. I prayed to the Tall and the Small Gods they would all make it through the novel alive even if my favourite characters have a knack of getting themselves killed. Almost every natural phenomenon or situation or profession has a god or goddess standing watch over it. The most important ones perhaps are Mother War and Father Peace – please appreciate also She Who Strikes the Anvil or She Who Spoke First – and I really like the idea of this northern pantheon.
The belligerent and ever-frowning Thorn Bathu is one of my favourite characters in the book. Character Development such as in Thorn I have not seen often in fantasy novels. She always wanted to become a warrior and earn a place on a raid but for a woman in a male-dominated, sexist society that is far from easy. Thorn works hard and everything she has achieved in the course of the book came from skill and brutal training. She didn’t wake up one morning and was ready to go and defeat seven men by herself. Thorn has been training for ten years before she swore to serve Father Yarvi lest she be killed for a murder that wasn’t one.
Once she is aboard the South Wind she trains with the best and her mistress is handing out harsh lessons: Skifr, a dark-skinned woman with terrifying battle skills. She has one goal and that is to make Thorn deadlier than any warrior in the Shattered Sea. I have a weak spot for women who save themselves, women who fight – with words or blades -, women who stand up for themselves. Abercrombie has a lot of such women in this series. Queens, female smiths, ordinary women, Empresses and so on. They are each strong in their own way and there are plenty of them. Thorn is such a woman but she is far from being a perfect shining character: she is rude, not the brightest, stubborn, proud and has so many other flaws which makes her much more human in my eyes. The best way to describe her would be as done frequently in the book: a splinter in the world’s arse.
Ehrm … yes, on with the review. Witty dialogue and a somewhat stiff, yet perfectly fitting with the setting, writing style make the book a real joy to read. Crude jokes, sick burns and wise and beautiful quotes. Whichever you prefer, the book presents us a nice mixture of beauty but also gore. In a way, I would describe it as Game of Thrones for a younger audience: less complex, less boobs (seriously, there was one time Thorn’s chest came up and it was actually relevant to the plot?!) and less Joffrey. But the gore remains.
Favourite characters: Skifr, Thorn, Yarvi, Odda, Fror
Conclusion: A fast-paced adventure across the Shattered Sea with a crew you will take a shine to. Battles, skirmishes, intrigues and betrayal. If you like viking-ish worlds and strong women being badass then this book and series for that matter, is definitely for you.
- Author: Joe Abercrombie
- Title: Half the World
- Year of Publication: 2015
- Publishing House: Harper Voyage
- Pages: 486
- ISBN: 978-0-00-811756-6
The fanart was created by AyarnE on deviantart.com. She has amazing stuff! Check her stuff out! Permission to use this image was given.