Half the World: Book 2 in the Shattered Sea series

Half the World (Shattered Sea) - Joe Abercrombie

A few years ago I realized the fantasy genre had lost its appeal to me. I figured my tastes had just changed, and I stopped picking up fantasy titles. And then I found myself with an obligation to read Half a King. I was stunned at how much I enjoyed it. It had all the things I liked about the genre (adventure, grit, heroics, intrigue), while fast tracking right past the parts that turn me off (excessive world building, jargon, predictable cliches). I'm not sure how Abercrombie does it, but he manages to weave stories that suck you in and spark your imagination. When I put Half a King down I knew right away I wanted to read the next in the series. I was not disappointed. This book delivers on all accounts.

Half the World follows different main characters, through the same world, roughly a year after the events of the first story. (If you haven't read the first book in the series you could jump in with this one, though it might not be as rich an experience.) The characters you met in Half a King make appearances in this story, some playing major rolls while others merely cameo. It was good to see familiar faces. Make no mistake though, you will become fully invested in the characters of this story as well. I loved Thorn, and even Brand. The other side characters were so well drawn they quickly became favorites as well. By the end of the book I was invested in this growing cast of characters, which in turns makes me invested in the conflicts and larger trials they are facing.

If you're in the mood for an adventure, and/or watching a surly girl become a fierce woman, then don't miss this one. It's exciting, well crafted, and full of memorable scenes, settings, and characters. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, and to press this book into the hands of fantasy fans and readers seeking a memorable and truly strong female lead.