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].
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.