Prince Yarvi, unnecessary but available heir to the Black Throne of Gettland and owner of a crippled hand, has his sights set on becoming a Brother: part of the religious brethren who are there only for the Gods of the land. But his father and brother are murdered by a rival King and he must take the throne, despite all of his fears and the fact that, because of his crippled hand, he is seen as half a man.
Treachery raises its ugly head however, and he is betrayed by his family and left for dead. He swears an unbreakable oath and, together with a bunch of misfit ex-slaves, Yarvi returns home to recapture a throne he never wanted.
I am disappointed with myself for being disappointed with this book. I suppose since Abercrombie s a firm favourite of mine that I had higher expectations of this book than I necessarily should have, but that does not deter from my disappointment.
I can buckle part of my disappointment to the fact that this is a YA novel and obviously the Grimdark
is toned down. Despite that, you can clearly tell who the author is: Joe Abercrombie certainly has his very own unique writing style that not a lot of other authors do have. My issues with this book were probably the characters first and foremost: they all felt like recycled First Law World characters. Nothing was an amalgamation of all the Northmen, Threetrees and Ninefingers especially; Shadikshirram was Cosca just with a sex change and most of the others were thrown together out of the lot. It was familiar, which can be nice, but this was too familiar.
The world building was, as ever, brilliant. I don't think anyone does it quite as well as Abercrombie, but it still felt very much like backdrop here. Eh, I don't know, maybe it was the fact that it was Young Adult and toned down, or just the fact it only took him 8-10 months to write. I will read the rest of the series, because my faith is a stupid and stubborn thing, but I cannot say that I will like them.