e-book The Emperors Shadow War (The High King: A Tale of Alus Book 2)

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I have found that his stories are driven much more by the characters in them than the actual plots and this is no exception to that rule but the story and plot line are very good and well developed as well. Characters: It has been three years since the event of Half a King and there are many characters old and new to be found.


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Instead of me rolling my eyes at her, I found that I understood where she was coming from and I watched her transformation from someone who could brawl like a man into a clever and deadly killer. She is all pride and anger. She has too much confidence and too little.

She does not know herself. A black-skinned old woman with a face lean as famine and hair shaved to gray fuzz. She picked her nose with one long forefinger, carefully examined the results, then flicked them away. Most stumps have the dignity to rot quietly without causing offense. But she is always human, always flawed and forever trying to find her way. Brand has dreamed of being a warrior for Gettland for as long as he can remember. He has dreamed of glory, serving his country and doing good. He is so shocked to find that the leaders he has longed to serve for so long might be fallible too.

Brand stared in sick disbelief. Or Hunnan would tell his part in it, for he was a respected master-at-arms. The king or the queen would draw out the truth, for they were wise and righteous. Someone would do something. Maybe, like him, they were all waiting for someone else to put things right. Brand is the character that tries to do the right thing no matter the cost to him.

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He is the character that is a hero without trying to be a hero. I loved his character and even though he makes mistakes along the way he is always looking out for those he cares for. He is reluctant to fight but is a terror when he does. The growth of Brand and Thorn is amazing over the course of the story. The development of their relationship and the way each of them sees the other was heartwarming and the little inkling of romance I missed in Half a King.

He peered at her over the rim of his cup. One of those people with nought in them but hard stares and hard words.

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Face like a slapped arse. Plumbing a girl without so much as a by your leave. I believe it though. He is a little darker in this installment and he is on a mission. He might have taken the oath to be a Father but he is still working to fulfill the oath he made to avenge the death of his own. How far will he go though? I have an oath to keep. The Journey Well like any good journey it is fraught with danger and peril.

As the crew journey to find allies among enemies and Yarvi must me more cunning than the High King and Grandmother Wexxen if he is going to save Gettland. Sometimes when there is a lot of traveling I get bored but the way it is set up with the different cities in this world and the time building comradery on the ship, because we all know how close oarmates become, I enjoyed it. There is plenty of time wheeling and dealing with foreign powers and trying to survive life threatening experiences that the story just flew by. Overall I liked this so much more than Half a King, which I totally adored.

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Was it the addition of a little bit of a romance? Or having Yarvi be a little older and teetering between good and evil? Or all the other crazy cool world building and characters? There just seemed to be a better blend of everything in this story. Plenty of surprises along the way and since it is JA you know that not every character will make it out alive. Nothing is ever guaranteed so I was nervous for my favorite characters many times in the story.

View all 15 comments. Feb 07, Sean Barrs the Bookdragon rated it liked it Shelves: fantasy , 3-star-reads , y-a. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie was half good. I loved the addition of Thorn Barthu as a new protagonist; she is one tough bitch, and one this series desperately needed. However, I found Brand to be nothing but bland and boring.

At points he felt like furniture, despite the fact that he was the mastermind behind the whole adventure. Without the addition of the hostile, bad tempered and brutal fighting Thorn Barthu, I may have stopped Half the World by Joe Abercrombie was half good.

Without the addition of the hostile, bad tempered and brutal fighting Thorn Barthu, I may have stopped reading the series at this point; her toughness saved it all for me. She begins the novel as a relatively unexperienced warrior in training, and by the end she is bold enough to challenge the best of them. She goes toe to toe with the mighty warlord, and gives as good as she gets; she faces down many men and has them running in fear; she defends a princess and earns a name: she becomes a warrior of the Shattered Sea.

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I like her character. She has developed in a believable and well-paced way, which is quite surprising considering how short this novel is.

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She has come far through her vigorous training with a very mysterious character. For me, she has saved the novel, and gave me a reason to actually read the next book. He is physically strong, but emotionally he is quite vulnerable and a little bit of a doormat. This seems a little odd to me considering the world he is in.

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The most exciting thing he does in the novel is haul a boat up a hill. This is no exaggeration; this was literally his moment of heroism in the story. The main problem with him is that he undergoing a romance with Thorn.

Yes, Thorn. I found this unbelievable. Surely, a woman like her would be attracted to a real man, a man with the strength to match her own? This part of the plot for me just felt silly, and considering how it ends in the next book makes it look even more stupid. In addition to this, I wanted to see a little bit more of Farther Yarvi. Yes, he is in the plot. Yes, he is a major character in the story. But, I was disappointed not to have him as a point of view character.

I feel that this series needs its strong warrior Thorn but it also needs to be narrated by the farther of lies; it needs to be narrated by a person who represents the scheming side of the Shattered Sea. I think the novel would have been stronger because he too would have undergone a large amount of character development. I mean, he has already, but if he was a central point of view character then it would be felt more deeply. Overall, I did like this, but I feel like it could have been better.

The Shattered Sea 1.