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The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,726 ratings  ·  115 reviews
When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treach ...more
Paperback, 494 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
I believe that The Kingdoms Of Thorn and Bone is one of the most criminally underrated works of fantasy around.
As far as I can discern, Greg Keyes hasn't exactly been a prolific writer, apart from some tie-in, or shared media, works for the likes of Star Wars and Babylon 5.
This series stands as his Magnum Opus.

Kingdoms is a seamless and close to perfect blend of old school charm and modern fantasy sensibilities. It is epic and grandiose, but it is also intimate and personal.
It is a fresh look on
...more
StoryTellerShannon
Well, I feel some people are a bit harsh towards this book compared to the first one, yet, some people are also too generous in ratings. I did, however, give this four stars as I felt this was a 3.5 book, like his last one, and, the time before, I gave him a 3 star rating.

This isn't a five star novel. George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is a five star novel.

That said, it isn't fair to compare anyone to GRRM as he's top of the line and has been writing for over 30 years (i.e. varied in
...more
Bcvs
Very good, this one! So close to a 5 star rating.
The abrupt, loose ending spoiled it a bit for me and I really, really, really didn't like that last bit about Leoff.
Still, highly recommended and I will definitely read the next book in the series.
Mei-Lu
The Briar King was a bit of a slog for me, but this book was such a good read, it made the slog completely worth it.

I absolutely loved the way the characters and storyline developed and one of my favorite characters in the series is Leoff, who was introduced here.

If you like pseudo-medieval geo-political fantasy (you know, princesses in peril, civil war, mystical monsters, evil monks and secret assassin guilds) you'll love this series. If like me, you feel this type of fantasy tends to be cliche
...more
Tracy
Apr 30, 2008 Tracy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Recommended to Tracy by: no one
Monsters, gruesome sacrifices, dark sorcery, swordsmen devoted to honor, and a young woman being driven into the arms of her potent destiny are set loose in The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes. This second novel of his Kingdoms of Thorn and Born epic fantasy series benefits from the setting developed in the first book, and the characters are really allowed to blossom within the adventure.

For fantasy readers, Keyes delivers a complete bill of goods as he weaves multiple fantasy elements such as mag
...more
Eli
Going into this book, I was afraid the author wouldn't adequately develop the characters he introduced in the first novel. I was a little worried that he wouldn't be able to keep up the pace. I needn't have been concerned. It was very refreshing to read a story showing interesting character development without being hit over the head with it, as I've sometimes experienced in Orson Scott Card's writing. My criticism of the first book was that I didn't quite get deeply enough into the characters' ...more
Andi
Aug 11, 2011 Andi added it
Shelves: fantasy
These are deep waters...

I stayed up until three in the morning to finish this, and had to talk myself out of going on to Blood Knight. Keyes delivers in this one. Although much of it is classic fantasy the writing is great, practical yet lyrical. His characters are fabulous, layered, flawed, and interesting.

The thing that keeps me so engaged is the political intrigue, mixed with the background of fantastical monsters and our motley group of heroes. When a composer is the one that delivers the mo
...more
YouKneeK
This is the second book in the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, and I enjoyed it even more than I had enjoyed the first. The first book, while very good, took time to completely grab my interest. I think that was primarily because there were a lot of characters to get to know, and there were a lot of different plot threads that needed time to develop. It took time for all of these things to be introduced and built up to the point where I was really invested. With this book, I started out fully ...more
Mo
This is the second book in Keyes' epic-fantasy series. I'm not reading many of those kind of series anymore (too long, too similar, too boring, generally), but I've liked Keyes ever since reading 'Chosen of the Changeling'. So, a while ago I bought and read the first book in this series and wasn't disappointed. Took me a while to get round to reading this one, but once again: good read.

I rather like how Keyes takes traditional elements, almost clichéd characters even, yet manages to weave them i
...more
Lasairfiona Smith
Nov 27, 2007 Lasairfiona Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy a good series with a lot of action
The organization of this book is different from the first book. More of the main characters interact so the chapters aren't organized by character anymore. Keyes seems to be really getting into his writting groove. This isn't high literature but it is a fun read. The story seems to stumble a bit as we try and figure out who is good and who is evil. This changing of opinions should be written with a bit more umph but the main characters coming together gives the book the cohesion it needs. I am r ...more
Mike
To save time I'm reviewing the series rather than the individual books.

I enjoyed The Kingdom of Thorn and Bone, but I did have some issues. For one thing, it's quite a bit darker than the fantasy books I usually enjoy -- more in the vein of "grimdark" fantasy, though perhaps not as much as George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, which it slightly predates. The series also had a bit more torture, murder, sex, and sensuality than I would normally choose (the sex is not explicit, but the tortu
...more
Kristen
Just as with The Briar King, Keyes charges straight into the action and keeps it at full throttle throughout the entire book. Some scenes literally had me holding my breath in suspense, and others left me near tears. The characters we met before return and become even more developed, and those that are new seem like familiar friends.

It's been a while since I've been this fully engaged in a fantasy story. It's about damn time.
Matt
A worthy sequel to The Briar King, it retains all the attractive characteristics of the first book (depth, pace, mystery and welcome brevity for epic fantasy).

Cleanly resolves several plots lines from the first book, and raises a few new questions, while managing to provide something that feels like a "whole" book rather than a few hundred pages chopped out of the middle of a bigger book as so many middle books in series do.
Esther
I read the first book in this series - The Briar King - but I got back into the series fairly swiftly, and without having to spend any time referring back to the prior book. I definitely enjoyed this fast-paced fantasy and impeccable world-building.

The premise of this series is that a whole series of "myths" are rearing their heads in a politically-fractured fantasy world, and various factions all have different views on how to face this. We watch the novel through a variety of viewpoints - from
...more
Brenda
It has been a really, really long time since I read the first book in this series, and I can't remember anything about it except for that I liked it a lot. I liked this one too, but definitely wish I would have read the books closer together. It's good epic fantasy, and I liked how the different plots related to each other and came together.
mandy
The second book in the series is much better than the first. Anne grows into a stronger and more likable character (to me, at least), and we finally see some mingling between these groups of characters. Sometimes the dialogue is still a bit eh, but it's easy to overlook as the story is really going at a faster pace and it's exciting to read.
♥ Unaeve ♥ Olga
What? This is the end already? How did i come to the end so fast?
Lol!
"Benefits" of reading books on Kindle..you can get surprised when you come to the last page if yow wasn't monitoring the page numbers(or percent) -and I definitely wasn't because the last 30% of the book was a hell of a raid!

Julie
Good continuation of the story, the charcters become more likable as we get to know them more throughout this book. The story also gets better as we move through the book, things aren't as black and white as you believe they are.

I enjoyed it, and look forward to the next book and the series.
Nancy
Not bad, although the chapter rotation frayed a nerve. But it seemed like a connecting book to the next big event - a lot of characters in transit and transition. And for all the reference to prophesy, not a lot really fleshed out... I suppose it will be revealed in more detail in the following volumes.

Although the number of POVs tends to limit the immediate engagement and development of sympathy for any one character (aided by the jarring switches from chapter POV to chapter POV), and I admit t
...more
Solace Winter
This novel did much of what I did not like in the first novel, which was the switching points of views without seeming to have a purpose of all of these characters. Many of them are separate and do not even seem to be following the same plot line. Mostly the Aspar storyline, as the others work well with playing off of each other, even though they are not together. I do not even dislike the plots of Aspar and friends, however I feel they are jarring in how the rest of the story is being told. Des ...more
zjakkelien
This isn't really a separate book, I think the whole series is one book that happened to be too thick to put in one cover. In a way, my review for The charnel prince is therefore about the same as my review for The briar king. The only difference is that by now I don't mind the shifts in POV any more. I mostly know the characters, and I know enough of the world not to get thrown, so it doesn't confuse me so much anymore. There are two new characters, one of which I really like (the composer) and ...more
Joy
Jul 01, 2010 Joy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: series
I had to wait 2 days to get this from the library and that it was a trial proves it to be a captivating story.
Valerie
Sep 10, 2008 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: sequelmania
Shelves: fantasy-sf
It seemed a long time between sequels! But this was almost as good as the first.
Rachel
Nov 26, 2011 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American fans of Tolkien
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
This excellent fantasy series ("Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone") is very
reminiscent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire - except that
it's actually finished! (There's one more book in the series that I
haven't yet read.) It follows a similar format, structurally, and the
'feel' of the writing is very similar. The story itself, however, is
quite original - at least, more so than many fantasy epics. I mean,
it's still got Dark Forces and Bold Warriors and Beautiful Queens etc,
etc... but we want th
...more
Eric Moreno
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian
Book: 9.5/10 - 2/19/11
Series: 5/10 - 3/21/11
This is another series that started out well but ended terribly. The first two books were excellent - great fantasy with interesting and detailed characters; a good plot with an interesting world with a big back story. It kind of reminded me of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, but focusing on fewer characters with a less intricate plot. The third book was still solid, but there was less character and plot development...still interesting an
...more
by Ax
In crescendo

Questo secondo volume della Saga di Keyes mi è sembrato migliore del primo. L'approccio ai personaggi e alle vicende l'ho sentito più maturo, dimostrando di avere qualcosa di interessante da raccontare e scavando più in profondità nel mondo creato, anche se a mio avviso avrebbe potuto osare di più sul versante delle emozioni umane.
Una buona storia, molto scorrevole, in attesa di essere compresa più avanti, nei restanti libri (un paio).
Ubiquitousbastard
This book built on the plot of the first one, expanded it, and made it better. I loved the introduction of Leoff, (he quickly became my favorite character, which wasn't easy considering that I already had a few in the top spot.) and the plot threads of the first book really get more depth and start to make more sense. I really started to hate the church, and my opinion of the Briar King became a little less certain. Aspar White and Winna still bored the crap out of me, but because the ending is ...more
Shari  Mulluane
The Charnel Prince proved to be another captivating read. The tension remains high, the PoV switches were done smoothly, and the characters all develop in believable ways. One of the reasons, I believe, that this series is so popular, is the balance. There are many components to this story. Mystery, love, politics, humor, interesting world building, loyalty, betrayal, royal characters, and lowborn characters are all present in equal measure. Moreover, those are just examples, there are many them ...more
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Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...

Other Books in the Series

Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone (4 books)
  • The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1)
  • The Blood Knight (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #3)
  • The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #4)
The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1) Conquest (Edge of Victory, #1) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #7) Rebirth (Edge of Victory, #2) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #8) The Final Prophecy (Star Wars: New Jedi Order, #18) The Blood Knight (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #3)

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