I originally had this as an ARC. It’s now out in paperback, so I do actually own a copy. I feel terrible about taking so long to get round to it; I can only cite a long, long, long, long… backlog. Also, I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood; I’ve read the First Law trilogy, and that is generally pretty violent and depressing. This was still… gritty, I guess, though that word might be overused, but the characters and situation are interesting enough.
I was actually amused by the parallels (initially) with The Goblin Emperor, which I love so much. It took almost every trope I was glad that Addison avoided, and used them to spin a new story. The result isn’t entirely original (I mean, I could go “oh goodie, it’s about time for the epic cross country trek followed by a battle”), but it is fun and very readable, and Abercrombie can ditch the worst of the profanity and write something that most people wouldn’t mind their teen reading. (I shouldn’t be surprised, given I know Chuck Wendig can do it too, and that man loves profanity like I love ketchup.)
Overall, the result is an interesting bunch of characters, a not-so-typical relationship between some of them (like, the teenage crush doesn’t come to anything), and a very readable book. I’ve got Half the World from the library, and intend to get to it very soon.