Thursday 30 June 2011

Early Review: Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence

Series: The Broken Empire 1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 384
To be Published: August 4th 2011 Harper Voyager
Review by Mikael

"Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse."

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him. 


Brother Jorg, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, will be King by fifteen. Emperor by 21, probably. But at the moment he is a road bandit, rapist, butcher, torturer. And he is the hero of the book Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence. 

You get heroes of all kind in fantasy literature – heroes with varying degree of skill, powers and motivation. The good guys are pure of heart and clean of face. Then we have the anti-heroes, the unwilling heroes who have the hero-hood thrust upon them, but they always come through, and finally show their heart of gold. 

Brother Jorg is at the far end of that scale, you might say. He is a stone cold bastard, thirteen year of age, killed more men than the plague. But ok – the land is riddled with war; the feuds between the little kingdoms have been going on for decades, centuries. If he can become the Emperor, at least there will be no more war. 

Prince of Thorns is the first book of a trilogy, where we will follow Jorg’s path. The set is an alternate Europe (with magic, ghosts and monstrosities), refreshing it its simplicity. The focus is entirely on Jorg. His stubbornness and lack of fear is legendary – he survives against overwhelming odds by a mixture of intelligence, brutality, dirty tricks, cunning, necromancy, etc. 

What do I think about it? If you can get through the initial revulsion in the first dozens of pages (where the author really grinds your nose into the feces of brutality and immorality, to get your mind on the right track) it’s a wonderful book! A page turner, I personally read it in one sitting. Ok, you may learn that Jorg has had a rough childhood to motivate his deeds, but that doesn’t really matter. It is refreshing to just be able to follow the machinations of an artful bastard, winning against all odds. Just don’t expect much romance and love – there is a hint, but no more. 

Extremely different! But refreshingly so. I will read the other two books, that’s a promise. 

Recommended, for some 

Extreme evil – sets the scene for things to come

 PS from Blodeuedd, he said that he is giving it a really strong 4

Now let me introduce you to today's guest reviewer:
My name is Mikael and I like fantasy. 

(*applauds*, great introduction, lol, my own fault, I told him he could write it that short *headdesk* But what more, he is from Finland like I am. And I begged him to read this book and review it since I must confess I hit a spot in the book and could read no more. But after this awesome review I will read the book one day. Because the writing was great but I just have to get past one upsetting thing in the beginning).


  1. Aside from the really brutal beginning, this sounds like an intriguing read. I don't read much fantasy, but I like the idea of an alternative Europe with magic and ghosts and a variety of other things. Nice review!

  2. Hi Mikael, nice to meet you. Don't worry about the introduction, I beat you - I haven't sent it at all ;p.

    Re: Prince of Thorns...well, I read all parts of The Game of Thrones by G.R.R.Martin. I don't think this book gory scenes could get any worse than killings and rapes presented by Mr Martin so I suppose I am game. A lovely review btw, definitely better than your intro. ;P

  3. That cover looks an awful lot like another fantasy cover, but I can't remember the author or series name. :(

  4. Ahhhh! I've been hearing all kinds of great things about this book!

    Great guest review. I'm intrigued and very interesting in reading PoT myself.

  5. First... HI! *waves*

    @Blodeuedd... I understand about letting them have free range w/writing abou themselves and having to headdesk later. ;)

    As far as the book, I think I'd be like Blodeuedd and have a hard time with the beginning, but if I can get past that, I think it sounds very interesting. A lot different than most fantasy books. I'm curious.

  6. that's awesome that it's different from the norm

  7. Welcome Mikael and nice to meet you :)

    Excellent review and I don't mind the brutal parts, but thanks for the warning. Since this book is that different and good I will add to my tbr. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Welcome Mikael, glad you liked the book, not sure it is my cup of tea though.

  9. @Jenny
    What can I say, I do love fantasy so I always recommend that to everyone :) I love that is is so different

    Lol, you meanie you ;)
    Well I did stop reading Martin, sometimes I just get so pissed at characters. I sense a theme.
    I do think you could enjoy it

    Hm *thinks about that* I can't help you there

  10. @Missie
    I am glad I can bring more people to my blog, and demand they guestreview ;)

    Oh my, how ever to we put up with it all ;)

    One day I shall not be so chicken and finish it

    I am glad you enjoyed the review :)

  11. @Aurian
    Not for everyone, but that is life

    Hm..not seeing it...ok seeing it a bit now :)

  12. "the author really grinds your nose into the feces of brutality and immorality" - Have I told you that you have got the best way with words? That being said, I'm not sure I can take the feces of brutality at this time. I'd rather have the yummy dessert of kindness, please.

  13. Thank you for sharing and the honesty, Mikael! :)

    I'm not sure I could get through the upsetting part...

  14. hmmm - I'm thinking no. The idea of a rapist as a hero is more revulsion than I think I can overcome. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  15. I actually like anti heros but ussually there aren't any in the books that I read. I will have to look into this series.

    Looking forward to more reviews from Mikael :)

  16. Awesome! Okay, I'll have to keep in mind about the beginning if I get this book. By if I mean I want it, but the stacks are gnawing at my ... well, you know what. ;)

    Thanks for the great review and Great to meet you!

  17. Hi Mikael! :) Nice to meet you.
    Your first paragraph makes Brother Jorg sound like a monster! :O I don't think I will like him much. But it will be interesting to read a book with an anti-hero as the main protagonist.

  18. @Steph
    Oh alas, that line was not mine. But I do know how to get the bes guest reviewers :D
    Kindness is always preferred

    it was upsetting, to say the least

    You get why I stopped reading. I just did not know how to get past that fact


  19. @Jenny
    I will see if I can get him to come over again :)

    Oh I know! I should ban myself from buying books, winning books or accepting books. But it is too hard

    I always end up like the anti-heroes but this guy might be a tough nut to crack

  20. This so went to my wishlist! I'm all for brutal :D

  21. Great guest review...glad that he enjoyed it!

  22. That's awesome. Great review from a new voice...haven't read much fantasy but I should really look into checking this one out. So is Mikael going to start reviewing for you more or does he have his own blog he's writing?

  23. Elsyium
    Lol, then you might just really like it :D


    Nope no blog and it was just this one book I begged him to read. I just know way too few people who likes to read fantasy. It's a shame. Anyway, perhaps he sees this and wants to review more :=)

  24. Nice review by Mikael! I think 'refreshingly different' is always a good thing.



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