Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Published by Harper Voyager on August 4, 2011
ISBN: 9781101543290
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Dark Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 389
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased Book
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three stars - Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence - REVIEW

BOOK ONE IN THE BROKEN EMPIRE TRILOGY
“Prince of Thorns
deserves attention as the work of an iconoclast who seems determined to turn that familiar thing, Medievalesque Fantasy Trilogy, entirely on its head.”—Locus 

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king...
It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him—and he has nothing left to lose.
But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

TRIGGER WARNING – RAPE/MURDER

Prince of Thorns is the first book in the Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. After reading his Book of Ice series I quickly realised his brand of storytelling is one that I love immensely. There is action aplenty but at the core of the story is a pulsing heart that bleeds with every injustice. He made me remember why I fell in love with Fantasy, in particular Grimdark.

Prince of Thorns follows fourteen-year-old Jorg Ancrath. I’m kind of torn between loving and loathing Jorg. In his defence (if there is any) he was a boy that lost his mother and brother in the worst circumstances. He was hurting and his father was about as emotionally intelligent as a jellyfish. Instead, he palmed off to his tutor who really tried with Jorg, but he knew about the darkness that resided within him. Ultimately, he was a traumatised little boy who grew to allow that darkness to consume him. A ten-year-old boy quickly advanced from thinking evil deeds to committing them. Rape and murder are amongst his evil deeds. He’s a controversial character for sure and I imagine his acts will split the community.

Jorg leads a group of bandits across the countryside as they pillage and kill. Make no bones about it Jorg is a complete sociopath. He forces his viewpoint of the world on everyone else. He’s hateful and he allows that hate to make his decisions. There is no regret and no empathy towards his enemies, and he kills them with such. Some very upsetting scenes involving rape so if this is a triggering point for you, I’d reconsider if this is a book for you.  

The writing in Prince of Thorns is visceral and without apology. The pacing moved extremely quickly, and I finished the story in about a day. It transports you into the heart of the story and you almost feel like you are a bystander to the events taking place – you can hear the clanging of swords, and the choking of victims spluttering on their lifeblood. A post-apocalyptic world setting that gave the reader a glimpse into a world we could be facing in real life if the crazy dictators of the world are allowed to continue with their battle for power. That part of it was frightening.

I’m really interested in how this story will develop. Is there any redemption in Jorg? Is he capable of that kind of growth or will he just continue to kill without abandon? Is he too damaged? I’d like to see him come out the other side to offer some kind of feeling that he actually cares about something.    


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image 4 - Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence - REVIEW

Mark Lawrence was born in Urbana–Champaign, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire is the related RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. THE BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy is set on a different world and is followed by the related BOOK OF THE ICE trilogy. There is also THE IMPOSSIBLE TIMES trilogy, a D&D/sci-fi work set in London in the 80s. All of these trilogies can be read in any order. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Mark Lawrence

three stars - Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence - REVIEW