The battlefield isn’t fair, especially when you are a girl touched by Mother War, like Thorn. And a world of deceit and treachery doesn’t always reward good men like Brand.

“You should be careful what oaths you make, Thorn. Each one is a chain about you.”

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The country of Gettland is heading toward an unwinnable war and will need warriors with the loyalty of Brand and the fierceness of Thorn. With half the world against her, Thorn makes no friends. But sometimes allies can be found among enemies.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Female warriors in fantasy have been a staple for me since I read Alanna: The First Adventure when I was a preteen. Thorn is no Alanna, and her world is darker and grittier (more Game of Thrones than fairy tale), but her story is a compelling one.

Plus, it was great to read the follow-up to Half a King, although the characters and plot was completely different. It’s refreshing to read a sequel that isn’t so closely tied to its predecessor.

Rating (5 stars)

The first thing that struck me about Half the World is that it doesn’t behave like a normal sequel. Instead of following the complex and interesting character of Yarvi, the way the first book did, Yarvi is now in a supporting role.

In fact, if someone picked this book up who hadn’t read Half a King, I doubt they would be confused.

Astonishingly, author Joe Abercrombie instead introduces two new, entirely different protagonists; Thorn and Brand. Both are young, but their motivations and ideals are nearly opposite. Abercrombie proves his skill at character development as well as weaving in threads of the tale from Half a King.

For me, Half the World surpassed its predecessor entirely, in plot, pacing, and characters. With two main characters, and the driving threat of war, the stakes are raised.