4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Having only previously read one of Joe Abercrombie’s books (Red Country), happy to read more of his work and curious to see how it would compare, I was glad when this was chosen as my book group’s Fantasy Book of the Month for August. Immediately I could tell that Abercrombie had adapted his writing style for a young adult audience – things were much more toned down. The language was less heavy, both in terms of description and swearing (!), and there was pretty much a complete absence of sex and violence – although the latter comes more into the story later on.
I was immediately thrown into Yarvi’s world and this was not an issue – the world and culture was slowly built up around the story as and when needed. Definitely a ‘smaller scale’ fantasy in comparison to Joe Abercrombie’s other work, this is by no means a ‘light’ fantasy. Despite the young adult target audience, it still retains that style that ‘Lord Grimdark’ is so well known for, whilst still being suitable for younger readers.
To me, it didn’t feel massively eventful. I think I was expecting a bit more action and whilst this definitely picks up towards the end, it was a slightly slower story than expected. And as I’ve come to learn from dark fantasy – once things seem like they’re working out and getting better for the protagonist, you can guarantee they’re only going to get worse…
I have to admit that I didn’t make too many notes on this book, as I read most of it whilst sat in cafes around Leiden and didn’t have a notebook with me. I apologise for this review, it doesn’t feel quite as coherent as I’d like it to be but right now my mind is filled with archaeological theory and I haven’t worked on much blog stuff in a little while! But what I can say is that it is definitely worth the read – particularly for those who haven’t read any Joe Abercrombie before, it’s a good way to ease yourself in to his style of grimdark fantasy.