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Now, Mr. Lawrence attempted to minimize these problems, glossed over them as much as possible, and his usual method appeared to be mayhem or gore whenever the story was not really working. However, this time around all the blood and brains Mr. Because, unfortunately, too much of King of Thorns is isolated incidents of horrendous gore or ghostly undead or sociopathic musings without any of it coalescing into a coherent story. Another major issue in this novel was the format, specifically the flashback chapters.

And before anyone mentions it, I do not want to hear about Sageous, because he is only trotted out a couple times in the book and is basically a non-entity — except when Mr. Lawrence wants to somehow blame him for every horrendous thing Jorg has ever done in his life. This one, minor character is not a reason for a flashback story.

Prince Of Thorns, The Broken Empire Trilogy: no spoilers

I realize most fantasy fans absolutely adore this book. It is hailed as the best thing since sliced bread or the internet or whatever. But even in fanboy land, it is obvious that this novel does not rise to the shocking brilliance of Prince of Thorns , which — even with its obvious weaknesses — grabbed hold of your throat on the first page and pulled you through its gore coated world whether you wished to follow or not.

And, you know, maybe it was wrong of me to expect Mr. Though the sadistic torture of the innocent dog in this novel was a great try. Lawrence was providing us that. Zero growth. Same old same old. And that stupendous post-apocalyptic setting that Mr. Lawrence teased us with in the first book. Great idea.

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2) by Mark Lawrence

Very intriguing. Not developed at all in this novel. Quite frankly, this great post-apocalyptic setting is going to waste, used more as a grab bag for weapons for Jorg than anything else. Perhaps some history about the last thousand years of human existence since the big apocalypse. I realize that as I published this criticism of the beloved sociopath Jorg that I will have offended the pride many of you have in this character.

A time of negative comments might come. Bad times for me. The fanboy universe opens up and all the haters come out to get me. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds.


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Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king. Lawrence's captivating writing and smooth prose keep the pages flying and have not a little to do Mark Lawrence stormed onto the scene well, as much as you can in the publishing world last year with his debut, Prince of Thorns , book one in The Broken Empire.

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Lawrence's captivating writing and smooth prose keep the pages flying and have not a little to do with making this work genius in its own ways. King of Thorns is quite the experience to say the least. I like his whole, "I'm going to make this happen no matter the odds" philosophy, but at times he really is hard to read. While his disposition on let's say kicking severed heads was enlightening, clever, and funny, it's also terribly creepy. And that's not the only one. I've heard it compared to "staring at a fire," you just can't stop, but how much are you really enjoying it?

King of Thorns

The more I think about it, the more this describes my reading experience. I don't really know how much I actually enjoyed the reading experience especially with the amount of cringe-worthy moments. This being said, I am vastly impressed by Lawrence's talent to not only keep you reading despite these moments, but to keep you rooting for a character who can be so deplorable.

I say "can be" because he does have his moments of goodness, they're just peppered with moments that make you a little sick or shocked even. Along with the character of Jorg, Lawrence employs a plot device throughout King of Thorns that I thought was incredibly interesting and worked extremely well. The book takes place four years after Prince of Thorns and consists of the present day and then lengthy flashbacks to four years earlier, when Jorg was newly "crowned" king of Renar.


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The present is actually his Wedding Day, but at the same time the Prince of Arrow has marched on the highlands of Renar with his countless soldiers. By flashing between these two time frames, we begin to find out that Jorg has not only grown, but has had dealings with the Prince of Arrow in the past. In the present, we see Jorg is going through some, let's call them mental experiences. He sees a dead child everywhere he goes, which is obviously a hallucination, and he holds some mysterious box. The box is not only an interesting addition to the story, but works as an impressive plot device, but I'm wary of revealing too much.

Let's just say there is an addition means of keeping information from the reader. As well as using clever plot devices, I found Lawrence's human to be clever in the extreme, with little gems like this strewn throughout: "They call it a gate but it is a door, five yards high, three yards wide, black oak with iron banding, a smaller door set into the middle of it for when it is simply men seeking entrance rather than giants.

This is definitely the kind of humor I prefer and Mark has a subtlety that just worked for me.

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Lawrence has created a series that challenges your perceptions and manages to be compulsively readable. The Broken Empire trilogy is an experience to say the least. I couldn't put it down and that's partly because I just couldn't look away. King of Thorns takes the anti-hero to a whole new level, one who might even give Logan Ninefingers of Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy a run for his money. View all 15 comments. Oct 04, Peter rated it it was amazing.

With my reading time becoming increasingly precious, only the very best authors make it to my reading pile at all, and of those, I went with Lawrence to read after finally finishing edits to The Daylight War. Lawrence's poetic prose is amazing, far and away the best of the modern fantasy authors. The prose can get a little hard to follow if you're sleepy or your brain is fried after a long day, but this is hardly a quibble. First person narrative is arguably the most difficult POV style, and Lawr With my reading time becoming increasingly precious, only the very best authors make it to my reading pile at all, and of those, I went with Lawrence to read after finally finishing edits to The Daylight War.

First person narrative is arguably the most difficult POV style, and Lawrence pulls it off brilliantly, putting you in the mind of a thoroughly despicable character and somehow making you root for him to succeed. The limited scope, however, forces Lawrence to jump around in time a bit and use some plot devices to feed information to the reader at an even pace that keeps ratcheting tension.

At times this can be a bit confusing, but for the most part the frustration only invests you further. And let's face it, I can hardly point fingers at people who jump around in time to tell a story. As with many fantasy serie,s there is more magic in book two than the first, sometimes in ways that are convenient for the protagonist, though it is largely window dressing. Almost everything that happens in the book plays second fiddle to Jorg's inner struggle as he attempts to find himself and unravel his own thoughts and desires from the influence of others. This is the REAL story, and it is a very satisfying one.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark when I was in London last summer, and he is a great guy in real life in addition to being one of my top ten favorite authors. We share publishers in the UK and thanks to the Penguin Random House merger, soon the US , and you can bet I will be pulling strings to get an early review copy of the third and final book in the series.

Prince of Thorns

View all 4 comments. Apr 22, Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing. They are two of three, with the third not yet published. I have read the first and am halfway through the second. As a fantasy tale, Prince Jorg Ancraft's story is quite extraordinary. It begins when he is 13 and already a stone cold killer with a horrific past. This is a dangerous and risky protagonist for any author to put forth, but Lawrence does it with verve and confidence. It is like a train wreck from which you cannot look away.

This is a story that you cannot put down. Every time I said to myself - and it was often - "Oh, he's not going to go there" or "he's not really going to do that," he did. A hard-edge tale of survival and conquest in a brutal medieval world well told and very compelling, it is different than anything I have ever read. View 2 comments. May 15, Markus rated it really liked it Shelves: , fantasy , post-apocalyptic.