Half a King – Early Reactions

Posted on February 19th, 2014 in reviews

Advance Reader Copies of Half a King have been out in the wild for a couple of weeks now and a few bold pioneers have already read and commented upon them, and I must say the onslaught of positivity is almost enough to thaw the splinter of deadly ice I have for a heart.  Shall we go over a couple?  Why not.  Just for you guys.  Not for me.  For you.

NYT bestseller Robin Hobb:

‘I’ve enjoyed Abercrombie’s books before but this one had an exceptionally tight focus on the protagonist that I really liked. And the story does not compromise anywhere. It’s a coming of age story but that trite description does it no justice. No spoilers here, just a whole hearted recommendation.’

NYT no. 1 bestseller Patrick Rothfuss:

‘I’ve been a fan of Abercrombie’s stuff for years. His worldbuilding is great, his characterization is marvelous, he writes an amazing action scene … That said, sometimes I put down one of his books and think to myself, “Well, I guess everything sucks and everyone in the world is awful and we’re all pretty much fucked in the end, aren’t we?” Sometimes his books leave me feeling a little bleak … This book didn’t hit me that way. I got all the grit that I love in Abercrombie, and the craft, and the character. And the book was grim… but it never got so far as being bleak. Simply said, I think this is my favorite Abercrombie book yet. And that’s really saying something.’

NYT no. 1 bestseller Rick Riordan:

‘I’m a big fan of Abercrombie’s stark gritty fantasy books for grown-ups. His fiction pulls no punches and takes no prisoners (unless those prisoners are later tortured and executed). So I was curious to see how he would approach the world of young adult fiction in Half a King. The answer: brilliantly … As in all Abercrombie’s books, friends turn out to be enemies, enemies turn out to be friends; the line between good and evil is murky indeed; and nothing goes quite as we expect. Abercrombie also throws in his trademark dark humor and got me to laugh even during some grim scenes. With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, Half a King is definitely a full adventure.’

Myke Cole, author of Control Point:

‘HALF A KING can be summed up in a single word: Masterpiece … It’s a coming of age story. It’s a Viking saga. It’s a revenge tale and family drama and the return of the prodigal son. But most of all, it’s this: a short time alongside people as weak and blundering as we are, and in the midst of it all, as heroic.  Far too short a time, as it turns out. What a wonderful book.’

Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates:
“holy crap this is a good book … Half A King is full of all the adventure I’ve come to expect from Abercrombie and a tenderness I never knew he had.  There’s infinitely more to Joe Abercrombie than we ever thought.”

Sound good to you guys?  Thought so.  It’ll be out in July in the UK and US…

27 Comments So Far... (join in)


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  1. Smug much?

    Looking forward to it.

  2. best get that fucker signed off and in the shops lad! boof!

  3. You, sir, are smug as heck. You, sir, deserve to be. Can’t wait to read this one!

  4. This is great news. Really looking forward to it. This is the YA book that you’re writing I take it.

  5. Brilliant as always mr. Abercrombie.
    I must admit when you first mentioned you would tone down the adult themes in this book, i was worried. But these reviews really makes me excited about Half a king.
    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Well I hope there are some 1 star reviews for your Twitter feed….

    Moist with anticipation.

  7. July can not come fast enough!! Does this mean we will also be seeing a new issue of the graphic novel soon as well? Very much looking forward to all. Thanks!!

  8. The reviews looks good; very excited. Planning on pre-ordering soon. The cover art looks awesome too. Though I still have no idea if I’m going to be purchasing a YA book, as one of your earlier posts suggested, or just a slightly less vulgar and violent Joe Abercrombie book.

  9. Guess that frozen splinter must be shrinking as we speak.

  10. If you want to send me one, I’ll give you another blurb to add to the collection:-)

  11. Were I a cynical man I might suspect you authors get together and exchange ringing endorsements of one another’s works over a pint or more.

    Since I have read all you other stuff excepting a short story or two I will doubtless read this. Why stop now?

  12. i will like to play West went your Books make to tv thx u sir !

  13. Sounds fantastic. Really looking forward to this one.

  14. I would literally do unthinkable things to get my filthy paws on this.

    Unthinkable.

  15. Already ordered the kindle edition.Thanks Joe

  16. Are you sure you didn’t cash in some markers on these (frankly rather poor) authors after winning a few hands of poker at a fantasycon in Morecambe??? NYT is obviously the North Yorkshire Times, and I think you have Patrick and Patricia Rothfuss mixed up – she wrote 101 Cures for Mastitis in Cows, which was indeed on the list in 1961.

    I have my copy on preorder at Amazon, and please tell us that the majestic Mr Pacey is doing the audiobook.

  17. I wonder how you go about picking the quotes for blurb . . The most flattering, the most amusing or the most high-profile writer?

    Or the one which introduces your work to fans of another author or even genre?

  18. ^ “amusing” was a poor choice of words there . . “most eye-catching” is better

  19. Any news on release of an Audiobook version? I thought Steven Pacey was excellent in your other collaborations and I almost never have the time to sit down and read.

  20. Morgz,
    I would guess simultaneous with the book. In the US it’s a separate deal with Recorded Audio. In the UK it’ll be from Harper Collins. Honestly, unlikely to be Pacey. I think he’s a brilliant narrator, and undoubtedly would use him for other First Law work, but I think it might be sensible to have a distinct and different voice for these books (possibly a younger voice).

  21. Well done, Joe :)

    I’m really dying to read these books now…

  22. Hi Joe,
    do you know when “Half a king” will be published in Germany? Hope to hear from you soon!

  23. Thilo,
    There is a German deal, and I believe they took the manuscript some time ago to begin translation, so I would hope not too long after the English versions appear, but can’t say for sure at this stage.

  24. Hello Mr Abercrombie. This is the first time I comment on here. I have only read two of your books so far (now reading the third in the First Law series), so I’m sure I’m not the most qualified person to talk about your books. However, with regards to what Patrick Rothfuss said about your other works: I feel very differently about it. For me your books have always been very hopeful. Because much like most of us in the real world, your characters are very flawed. They make mistakes, and poor decisions like the rest of us. Yet it’s clear: despite their flaws, they are also very much worth caring about.

    The humour helps too of course, half of the time I am grinning like a fool while reading your books. I really think of Glokta sometimes as the character of Blackadder, at his best. The same kind of snarky sarcasm, trying to protect his self-interests while always just barely succeeding to stay afloat.

    I look forward to this new series.

  25. Very much looking forward to this, Joe.

    Following on from Morgz comment – I’ve ‘read’ twice through all 6 of the First Law books courtesy of Steven Pacey’s myriad voices. Even if he isn’t picked for this new series, I wanted to give him a shout out as being terrific. Severard voiced with a touch of Michael Cain? Shouldn’t work, but I’m completely transported.

    Quick question Joe, did you have a say in the casting of the narrator? Also, once you’ve heard the narration of your first books, do the characters voices when you’re writing take on the narrator’s voice, or do they sound different to you?

    Cheers!

  26. Chop! Chop!

    Not sure if a `young adult` genre exists. Young adult`s humour doesn`t seem to extend further than calling each other gay these days.

    Urry the huck fup – been a while since red country

  27. Much praise to Mr. Abercrombie and to his writing. The first book I ever read was best served cold, since then I have read everything he has written and been an avid reader of his work. By far the best character you created was Logan “lamb” ninefingers. Let’s not forget the infamous soldier of fortune Nicomo Cosca, and even that worm Glotka, I could go on about the characters but if you’ve read any of the books, you’ve undoubtedly picked your own favorite. As with the other readers I was skeptical about the new series, but either way I cannot wait for it to hit the shelves in the U.S. Counting down the days and looking forward to another epic story. Again thank you for bringing us such great stories, keep up the great work sir.

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