Half a War [Review]


Synopsis: Princess Skara of Throvenland is forced to flee her home as Grandmother Wexen sends her bloodhound Bright Yilling to conquer Throvenland’s fortress and kill the king. Disguised as a slave Princess Skara reaches the hall of her cousin Queen Laithlin were King Uthil and King Gorm are busy tearing each other’s throats out – despite their alliance. As the only living descendant of the crown, Queen Skara joins the war table to bring Grandmother Wexen and the High King to their knees. After all, half a war is fought with words.

What a dragon thinks: I admit the third and final book was the weakest in the trilogy but despite the few minor issues I had, it still did good by its characters and plot. I was both pleased and upset that I still had the questionable talent to choose as my favourite character the one that would die. Too much? Spoiler? Come on, it’s called “Half a War”. People are bound to die.  But let’s take this one stroke at a time.

One of the things I didn’t like particularly much was that part of the story was told from Koll’s point of view. Probably because I didn’t really care about him or his motives. However, hearing the story from Skara was really lovely and I was happy to accompany her step by step through her great character development. Princess Skara starts out as a fragile girl clinging to values she wouldn’t be able to live up to if tested. Upon arriving in Thorlby, she has nothing but an old sailor as an advisor and her will to fight. With a lent bodyguard from Gorm and a lent minister from Uthil Skara tries to navigate the unpredictable waters of politics. Each moot leaves her better prepared for the world and soon she isn’t seen as the lost sheep of Throvenland any longer. At the assembly which will decide on the future of the Shattered Sea – war or peace – she surprises not only the warrior kings. One of my favourite characters!

Staying true to the style of the previous books there is plenty blood and gore dripping from the pages. Treacherous back-stabbing and epic battle and fight scenes which are not limited to the battlefield. Sharp-tongued dialogue and witty remarks make every moot just as dangerous. With ‘Half the World’ being mostly about Thorn Bathu and her character development and ‘Half a War’ focusing on Skara and the fates of the kingdoms opposing the High King the reader almost forgets what the trilogy really is about. We almost forget about Father Yarvi … and it hit me like a hammer in the end when all loose ends were tied up.

Another aspect I didn’t particularly like were the elves and their role in the final battle. I am not going to say more in order not to spoil anything. While I enjoyed more than I would like to admit trying to find out what the single elf-relics and elf-bangles could be it was almost too much elf-ness for me.

Favourite characters: Skara, Thorn, Skifr (I squealed when she reappeared, erhm)

Conclusion: Good characters. Strong female characters with GOOD development! A good story with minor issues that were entirely personal. All in all I think the book was intriguing and if there were yet another part I would totally read that as well.


  • Author: Joe Abercrombie
  • Title: Half a War
  • Year of Publication: 2015
  • Publishing House: Harper Voyage
  • Pages: 512
  • ISBN: 978-0-0-0755026-5



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