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Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
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Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  54,570 Ratings  ·  4,032 Reviews
A stunning fantasy debut from a major new talent!

When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother 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
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Ace (first published 2011)
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Phoebe Saunders I'm a woman and a feminist and this is my favourite book trilogy, written by my favourite author. It's dark and bloody and confronting and utterly…moreI'm a woman and a feminist and this is my favourite book trilogy, written by my favourite author. It's dark and bloody and confronting and utterly compelling to me. It's also beautifully written and made me laugh and cry.

I honestly recommend this trilogy to everyone. I also open my recommendation with "Jorg is a very, very bad person". He's an anti anti-hero. He is unredeemed, but as you read, you grow to at least understand him and I felt really rewarded by that. I have read this trilogy two times and felt rewarded every time.

OK, so I recommend this book to everyone, but re-reading your question, I don't think this is for you (I feel like am betraying the author here!). As Daniel says, these issues will keep coming up for you and will completely overshadow your experience. It won't be a pleasant read.

Also, I now note that you asked this question a couple of months I'm curious what you decided to do?(less)
Miguel Halah, maybe the Percy Jackson series would be good for your brother, he'll surely love it if he hasn't read it. I would say it depends on how over…moreHalah, maybe the Percy Jackson series would be good for your brother, he'll surely love it if he hasn't read it. I would say it depends on how over protective you are and what you are willing to accept him to be exposed to. Just be advised, there are a few rape scenes, slaughter and violence. Swearing is very limited, which I am appreciative of. But I would say, I don't happen to have a younger brother but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't expose him to it just yet. It is very intricate and some scenes will definitely be a bit too much for him(graphically speaking). My best recommendation is the Alex Rider series(it is great, I assure you.) Or try The Percy Jackson Series. Also, The Pendragon Cycle(it's a series) by Stephen Lawhead.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Lawrence
Aug 02, 2016 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: mine

Prince of Thorns is 5 today!

& you can win the cover art with a comment here:

Prince of Thorns was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award, and didn't win. All of my books since then have been shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award. Emperor of Thorns actually won it! This year it's the turn of The Liar's Key.

You can vote here for any of the great books in the running (no registration, just click
Robin Hobb
Mar 01, 2013 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to grit my teeth several times to get through this, and more than once I wondered, "Why was this recommended to me?" Then the pieces began to fall into place. Not a tale for the faint of heart, but well worth it to prevail. Trust me.
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard of dark fantasy and anti-heroes, but this is the darkest fantasy with the anti-est anti-hero I've ever encountered. Our protagonist Jorg is only thirteen, but do not mistake this for a kids' book! Jorg is already the leader of a cutthroat gang of marauders, and has killed more men than most seasoned warriors -- including innocent civilians and a few of his own followers. Despite all this, I found myself rooting for Jorg, especially as more of his past is revealed, and we learn why he ...more
I can't get behind a book that has the main character raping girls in the first few pages.
No thanks, I am good.
I have read a lot of books with rape in them, but I have to say they were mostly with a female protagonist.
One of my favorite fantasy series, The Deed of Paksenarrion, Pak's lets herself be tortured for five days and nights, and rape isn’t the only thing that she has to suffer.
I understood why the character did this, I also understood why the author wrote the story the way she did.
Terry Brooks
Apr 22, 2013 Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This month I am recommending both PRINCE OF THORNS and KING OF THORNS by Mark Lawrence. 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 ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept seeing good things and/or controversy about Prince of Thorns everywhere I looked, and everyone loves controversy. I decided to take the arc along with me to Worldcon in Reno, with the intention or reading it by the pool (I am still not comfortable taking an expensive eReader poolside).

Boy, am I glad I did.

Prince of Thorns had me by the balls in the first chapter. I found myself stealing time to read just a page here and a page there, and whenever a rare block of time opened, I commandeere
Mar 27, 2015 Carol. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one, really
Here's Cliff Notes to my review: The Blade Itself Lite, with significantly less character development, a typical revenge plot and little redemption.

Feels suspiciously like watching a dog-fight video from ASPCA. Violent, powerful with a lack of finesse, subtlety or characterization, and the only redeeming aspect might occur at the end. The main character resists personal growth and opportunities for redemption, and commits violence after violence. We open as he watches a man die with his belly ri
Li Seagull
Nov 22, 2015 Li Seagull rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Potential serial killers/rapists and murderers as a how-to manual.
Recommended to Li by: Unfortunately, me.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Um?
I'm purposely using cat gifs to try and soften this review up a bit. I don't think it will help, but I just couldn't bring myself to search for anything bloody by the time I finished this book.

See that little boy on the cover, in all of his 14 year old glory?
By the fifth page I hated his guts. He repulsed me. Repulsed! And I'm not talking about just disliking his personality.
Oh, no! Full-on skeeved out.
The kid is an unrepentant murderer and rapist!


So why 4 stars, huh?
Weeeeell, he's just insane
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

(04/09) What can I say that I haven't already written ?

Warnings and other insights : Rereading Prince of Thorns after completing the series, I realize now how many details hint what will happen in Jorg's future, and this is brilliant. Indeed it gives the plot so much more depth!

Jorg is still my favorite anti-hero of all times : I could say so many things about him without never shedding light on his personality.
He is evil.
He is an asshole.
He is complex. He has layers. He is a PSYCHOPATH.

Peter Tr
Sep 24, 2016 Peter Tr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For more than a year I had only written 1 review for The Broken Empire trilogy. A terrible mistake, and one I regret deeply, considering it's my favorite story, and Lawrence my favorite author respectively. Each installment deserves a separate review, so i'm here to deliver.

Lawrence's debut is a milestone in modern fantasy. Solid writing and well-crafted characters, witty humor and sentimental elements, controversial circumstances and teeth-grinding situations, all skilfully combined in creating
Nov 18, 2013 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I had a lot of fun with this one. I'd read lots of discussion before actually jumping in and I have a couple things to say about it.

1. The rape at the beginning, while I in no way support this type of behavior, isn't graphic and does a good job showing how depraved these guys actually are. If it didn't include rape in some way, I really don't think it would have been nearly as believable, I mean, this is medieval times. Nobles were supposedly exercising their droit du seigneur. Again, not that I
Jul 09, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard so many good things about this book and although I'm not a fan of the gritty dark fantasy I think this was done exceeding well. Mark's prose is very well written and I found myself noting a number of particularly well done sentences, which is unusual for me to notice.

From time to time, fans of my series ask me to do a prequel on my character Royce and how he was when in the Black Diamond Thieves Guild and before the calming influences of Gwen and Hadrian started to shape him. From no
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

I’d heard a lot about Prince of Thorns before I picked it up. Naturally, some of the reviews were positive and some of them were negative. After reading the novel, I can honestly say I understand both points of view, because I found myself mesmerized by Mr. Lawrence’s first-person narrative yet horrified by the person I was reading about. But, beyond any doubt, this is a book that every fantasy fan should read at least once - and many will read over and
Jan 11, 2012 Todd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, fantasy
I got half way through 'Prince of Thorns' and could go no further. The over-the-top violence that some have written about didn't bother me or put me off the book. No, what DID put me off the book was this- I never, for even one moment, bought the 'Justin Bieber Meets Rambo' title character.

Yes, I've read ASOIAF, several times, and I'm aware that there are preteen and teen characters of derring-do in those books. The difference, and it is a fundamentally crucial one, is that George R.R. Martin ca
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

4.5 Stars

“War, my friends, is a thing of beauty. Those as says otherwise are losing.”

Houston commercial photography

If George R.R. Martin wrote young adult stories, they’d probably end up a little something like Prince of Thorns. In the first four pages the reader is exposed to raping and pillaging and beheadings . . .

Houston commercial photography

The Prince of Thorns is Prince Jorg – a boy who watched his mother and younger brother get murdered and who was pretty much left for dead by his

Because it is insane!! We have the mc who is so dark, and wicked, and oh so eff*cruel! Can I call him “Little Satan”?


Before I read this book, I know that I will be led through the journey by very dark character ( that many readers might hate ). So, I realize this point.. and told myself that I will not judge his bad actions. Let’s him leads me through dark path... Throw anything at me whatever he wants to do, because I’m ready and curious to know..

"Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?”

*I'm going to use Joffrey gifs for this review.

* warning this review contains un marked spoilers


Firstly I feel I need to clarify my rating because it honestly nearly got 4 stars. But I just couldn't get past the start, I absolutely hated it, I, nearly DNF at 10%. I was really excited to read prince of thorns it had been on my the list for ages, I can remember staring at it and thinking can't wait to read it i do not read bl
Cait (Paper Fury)
This is a very stabby book of darkness. So obviously I got along with it JUST FINE. It's about 14yo Jorg who is (A) a bookworm, (B) a psychopath, and (C) a terrifyingly stabby kid with the emotional empathy of a plastic plate and who genuinely likes to kill things and is on a mission of revenge. So yes, please, and thankyou, I LIKED THIS BOOK.

(I mean, who even let me loose to read books about villains??? You know they're my weakness omg.

So DEFINITELY be aware that you're reading a book about a v
Dec 30, 2014 Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"War, my friends, is a thing of beauty."

Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, heir to the throne of his father's kingdom, was nine years old when the Count of Renar's men ambushed the royal carriage, smashed his little brother's skull against a rock, and proceeded to rape and kill his mother. He himself was only saved by being thrown into a patch of hook-briars just moments before the attack. This episode is what turned him into the Prince of Thorns, and filled his existence with an insatiable lust for
Buddy read with Sonia!!

“'Water! Water!'
It’s always water with the dying.
Strange, it’s killing that gives me a thirst."

Confession time!

I am a sucker for anti-heroes, and villains. Good people, most of the time, just annoy me. I've been craving a story with a not-so-good hero, and this seems to be chillin on top of every list i hit. I had to check it out! Downloaded a sample on my Kindle, guess what the first word/line of the book is?!

"Raven! Always the ravens".

Any of you who know me ar
Dec 12, 2014 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Prince Jorg ran away from his castle with a band of highway robbers. This merry company kills, rapes, burns, and does all kinds of related activities with full Jorg's participation. Did I mention sometimes the merry band is afraid of Jorg? Did I mention Jorg is only fourteen? Anyway, the guy decides it is time to return home. This is where the real fun begins.

The shocking part of the book - atrocities committed by 14-year-old - did not work for me. There are several reasons. I suspect I became
Aug 02, 2015 Kaora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: absolutely-hated

I hated the main character from the start. He is a 14 year old boy leading a gang of ex-convicts. He is the anti-hero, with the book opening detailing his rape of farmer's daughters, and frequent visualizations of just about every person he meets dying to his blade in their chest or cutting off their head. Yeah we get it. You have to be cruel and disgusting to be the leader and you are the young boy that is so "bad" he frightens ghosts.... Riiight.

At some point I just stopped caring.

At lea
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 07, 2011 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most of the reviewers I'm baffled as to who I could possibly recommend this book to or if I should recommend it. On the other hand I couldn't put it down. The protagonist, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, is someone I abhored/admired from the first page until the last page. This book is disturbing, compelling, haunting, beautiful, disgusting and completely entertaining. The writing whispers evil thoughts into your mind. Your hand itches for steel. You start running through your mind every pett ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved it! Five stars for sure!

When Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath was nine, Count Renar's men ambushed his mother’s carriage. He was thrown into a briar patch and caught up on the vicious thorns (hence the title) and left for dead. While hanging there impaled on the thorns, he was forced to watch as his little brother was murdered and his mother was raped and then also murdered. When Prince Jorg was finally found and rescued, he was near death. After recovering, he vowed to make Count
Disclaimer: this book contains great amounts of awesomeness, a dark and wicked main character and a story that will sink its claws into your brain and never let you go.

Prince of Thorns has been sitting on my shelf since Christmas. I bought it on a whim because the synopsis sounded interesting and everybody was going on about how dark this book was, and then I almost forgot about it. A couple of days ago, it started showing up on my Goodreads feeds more and more often, and since I was in a bad re
Robin (Bridge Four)
Jorg Ancrath you are a sadistic bastard and I hate you….but I love you too


This is a book I walked into blind and I am really glad of that since I’m not sure I would have started it if someone had told me about Jorg. He isn’t the good man fighting the bad fight. No he is a killer, torturer, pillager, rapist and the harbinger of fear. Jorg leads a band of men who have terrorized quite a few places. At thirteen he is the leader of an army but by fifteen he will be King.
“You got responsibilities wh
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
REVISED: You know what, I tried this again by listening to the audio version and... it still sucks I still don't like it. The writing is fine, but man... snoozefest. I just could not get into it, reading or listening. I got halfway through the audio and couldn't even remember what was going on. I kept falling asleep. Haha. The writing is fine. It's just not for me. And I tried twice, so...

Previous review:I'm not going to rate this since I only got to 17%, but gosh was I BORED. I really thought
The Holy Terror
I'll be honest, this was a bit of a random pick for me. The multiple 1-star reviews from my friends were concerning, but when I actually went and read their reviews I realized a lot of people gave up on this because the main character rapes two girls in the second chapter. I totally understand not wanting to read this based on that because I have things that bother me enough to ruin an entire book too.

The reason why I could look past him raping those two girls was because of two things: it's not
Steve Drew
Oct 08, 2013 Steve Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SUMMARY: A wonderfully written, feverish dream of a Fantasy novel. I would highly recommend Prince of Thorns to anyone who is willing to step into a shade of darkness in order to experience this unique and well-crafted book by Mark Lawrence.

No question - a lot of readers will have trouble with this novel. The twists and flow of his protagonist's skewed mind and the brutality of Lawrence's world make for some tough sledding.

Read Prince of Thorns if you love excellent, refreshing writing and can
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[My next book Red Sister is out in April 2017]

Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in t
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Other Books in the Series

The Broken Empire (3 books)
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3)

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“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?” 397 likes
“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.” 344 likes
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