Title and Author: Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie (Advanced Reader Copy)
Publisher: Del Rey
Expected Publication Date: July 18, 2014 (it's available now)
Target Audience/Age Group: Young Adult
Part of a Series? Maybe
Will the Reviewer Keep It In His/Her Library? No
The first three pages set the scene beautifully. Prince Yarvi has one good hand but since he lives in a society where two good hands are required to hold sword and shield, he isn't respected or valued. He's somewhat happily training to be a minister–until his father and brother are killed. Suddenly he's supposed to become king and rule people who think little of him. Think Vikings.
He has an uncle who is a great warrior. Can you see where all this is leading? I could. From page 20 (the start of chapter 4) I turned to page 229 (chapter 35) to give the book the MMWR test. It flunked. Everything I thought was going to happen clearly had. There were a few characters who evidently became friends of the hero in whatever happened to him in between the beginning and the end, but they weren't engaging enough to make me read the middle.