The Prince of Thorns – A Book Review

This is the first book in The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. It has been on my to-read list for a long time. I tried to read it a while back but after the first couple of chapters I left it. It was too gruesome for me at the time. But after reading The Prince of Fools (my review) by the same author and checking out many reviews by fellow bloggers and friends who highly recommended it, I thought I’d give it another try. Glad I did. The book was still too gruesome and quite dark but as you read further you get to know more about the characters and their reasons. I’m not saying that the reasons justify their actions, I’m only saying you understand them. [No spoilers in this review].9579634

The book follows the journey of Prince Jorg Ancrath, aka the Prince of Thorns, to take revenge on his mother and brother’s brutal murder that happened when he was 10 years old. At 13, he leads a group of bandits to find and kill the person who ordered their deaths. Jorg and his bandits, whom he calls Brothers, attack villages and torture and burn everyone in their way. He is not your average teenager, he’s brutal and has no remorse for his actions. This doesn’t sound like a book that could appeal to everyone nor make you feel any empathy towards the main character but there is a lot more to this book than that.

What I liked about it

  • The author’s writing style: I don’t usually read dark fantasy like this one, but the author did a great job with the writing and after getting past the first chapters it kinds gets easier to go through once you get into the story more. The book easily flows back and forth in time describing Jorg’s past and showing the reader how he ended up the way he did.
  • Humor and wit: As dark as it was, the book also had humor and wit which are two things I really like in a book.
  • The story line: it will keep you intrigued. After reading The Prince of Fools I am already a bit familiar with the setting of the book and some of the characters mentioned so it was easy to get engaged in the world of the broken empire.
  • The magic: there is no specific magic system, but the magic in this book was more of characters who posses magic and the existence of magical creatures and the way they were portrayed was interesting.
  • The cover: what can I say I like good covers.
  • Memorable Quotes: from the many here is one

         “Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you’ll find an edge to cut you.”

There wasn’t anything specific that I didn’t like. I did get a bit mixed up with the secondary characters, Jorg’s Brothers. I couldn’t get a clear vision of who they are besides two characters; Nuban and Makin.

Jorg is a character who is confident and arrogant and has been leading a group of grown men but while I was reading there was a question that kept popping up in my head: why did the author make Jorg so young and how did he realize that this age will be appropriate for the story?

If you’re looking for a typical hero that everyone will root for, this is not that book. But even so, you’ll find yourself following Jorg’s journey, wanting to know what he will do next and maybe rooting for him just to see him reach his destination.

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Prince of Fools – A Book Review

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].

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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.