I started off the year reading a book from an author I have never read before, Mark Lawrence. For a while now I’ve been reading so many good reviews about the author’s books so I tried reading The Prince of Thorns. Unfortunately (and I say this because I wanted to like it), I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters. However, after reading the reviews for the Prince of Fools and making sure that I can still read the series without reading the Broken Empire, I thought I’d give it a try and last month I got the audio book and started listening. [There are no spoilers in this post].
This is the first book in the Red Queen trilogy. It takes place in Red March part of the Broken Empire. Red March is ruled by the Red Queen who is also the grandmother of one of the main characters Prince Jalan Kendeth, tenth in line for the throne. In the beginning of the book, word arrives to Red March that the dead is rising and a war could be imminent so the Red Queen calls on her family to help defend the realm. Jalan doesn’t want to be a part of this but finds himself so after being struck by a magical spell cast by a witch called the Silent Sister and his life becomes entangled with a viking warrior named Snorri ver Snagason. The book follows their journey through the Broken Empire and Jalan realizes that what’s happening is much bigger than he anticipated.
What I liked about it:
- I enjoyed the writing style of the author. There was humor, wit and quotable dialogues and was easy to follow. I think it would have been even better if I read it instead of listening to it. I usually like to read the book when there are quotable dialogues, so that’s what I’ll do for the next one.
- The plot was intriguing and I really enjoy books that have magic and journeys.
- The main characters were interesting and well defined and I liked watching their progress throughout the book.
- The narration of Jalan and Snori was good, I liked the way the narrator expressed the different emotions that were happening to them.
- The cover. Yes I’m one of those who think the book cover is important (though I don’t judge the book entirely on that). I don’t have the physical book but if I get it I’d get this one.
What I didn’t like about it:
- The secondary characters towards the end of the book didn’t interest me much, and I found out that a lot of them were introduced in the Broken Empire series so perhaps I needed the background.
- The narrator was good but I had a hard time following the narration of the secondary characters, that’s another reason why I’m going to read and not listen to the next book.
This is a book I recommend, it is fun with a lot of dark humor and wit and references to the Norse Mythology like Loki, Odin and Valhalla.
I can’t say whether you should read the Broken Empire first or not, but from what I noticed it might be a bit better if you do, just to know more about the world setting and some of the characters. At this time, I don’t plan to to read it (do let me know if you think I should) but I hope it’ll get better in the follow up books.