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King of Thorns

(The Broken Empire #2)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  60,993 ratings  ·  2,946 reviews
The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition.

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lo
Hardcover, 449 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Ace Books (first published August 2012)
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Paul Harmon No this book is the next generation of learning through osmosis. Contained within the covers are only the energy and thoughts of the author, as you tu…moreNo this book is the next generation of learning through osmosis. Contained within the covers are only the energy and thoughts of the author, as you turn the blank pages the ideas flow through and into your open chakras creating something akin to virtual reality crossed with empathy. The chakras you need to open depend on the emotion put forth by the author...Im particularly fond on the chapters where Lawrence stimulates my Sacral Chakra...It makes me feel especially..."close" to the author.(less)
Shima In my opinion it gets a lot better, of course I liked the first book too so I'm not sure if this applies to you. In this book we get to see a more mor…moreIn my opinion it gets a lot better, of course I liked the first book too so I'm not sure if this applies to you. In this book we get to see a more moral side of Jorg and it has a more interesting plot and a lot of twists, also the other characters also get a lot more developed.

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Jorg Ancrath, you little fucker.

My feelings towards Jorg and this book can be best described as the epitome of an abusive relationship.

Jorg is not a nice man. Actually, for most of the book, he's 14 years old, so fuck the "nice man" part because he's not even a man yet. But he'll rip your head off, quite literally, if you say that to his face.

He is a rapist. A murderer. He tortures. He kills haphazardly. He is destructive, capricious. A madman in every sense of the word. He will wound you, ph
Mark Lawrence
Aug 20, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with legs (also those without)
Six death scenes cut from the book:


King of Thorns was a gamble on the intelligence of my readers - I bet on it being pretty high - I appear to have won.

Some readers struggle with the non-linear progression through two time-lines and various memories. It is, I'll agree, not the standard way to write a fantasy book, though those who read literary fiction will be more used to seeing a narrative flex its muscles in more imaginative ways.

Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"I read the small forgotten books. The ones found behind the rows on the shelves. In locked chests. In pieces to be assembled. They look old. Some are--a hundred years, three hundred, maybe five, but Orrin's are most ancient. Mine though, they look older, as if what is written in them takes its toll, even on parchment and leather. Mine were set down after the Burning, after the Builders ignited their many suns."

I first met Jorg Ancrath in the first book of The Broken Empire called Prince of Thor
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books as soon as I finish the book.

It pains me to say this, but virtually nothing about this book fits with what I want out of a fantasy book

I quite enjoyed the first book in this series, and while I thought there were some major decisions made about character development and writing style that I thoroughly disliked, I thought the plot was wonderful and carried the book into something that showed a lot of promi
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/5 Stars

A lot of reader and fans claimed King of Thorns to be the best out of the Broken Empire trilogy, it pained me to do so but I can’t agree with that notion.

I’m going to inform you right from the beginning of my review, there's an innocent dog torture scene in this book and I’ll admit that part was quite tough to read. However, this doesn’t mean that the scene itself isn’t important to the overarching story, there’s a reason behind this scene. It’s really well written and in my opinion,
John Mauro
Dec 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My complete review is published at Grimdark Magazine.

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is one of the greatest masterpieces of grimdark fantasy, a towering literary achievement that takes us into the darkened mind and heart of Jorg Ancrath as he comes to terms with several of the most tragic events of his young life. In this second volume of the Broken Empire trilogy, Jorg has matured compared to the impulsive, rage-driven youth of Prince of Thorns. In King of Thorns, Jorg’s unbridled anger is bala
Rick Riordan
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think this is my favorite book in an excellent trilogy, because the odds are so severely against our anti-hero Jorg. The stakes are high and the plot twists are perfect. Having killed his uncle and secured a small kingdom in the mountains, young Jorg now faces a powerful, charismatic enemy – the Prince of Arrow – who seems destined to unite the Broken Empire. The action jumps back in forth in time, from the siege of Jorg’s capital to several years before, showing us how Jorg traveled the empir ...more
Sean Barrs
Dec 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, 1-star-reads
Unpopular opinion time!

There are some brilliant anti-heroes in the realms of fiction. Anthony Burgress’ Alex from A Clockwork Orange and Byron’s Don Juan immediately spring to mind. In both cases, the characters are undeniably flawed and twisted; they exploit the world, and other people, to meet their own ends: they are egotistical bastards with little (to no) scruples.

Mark Lawrence’s Jorg Ancrath is no different; he is a nasty piece of work who lives simply for himself. There’s nothing wrong w
Milda Page Runner
Sometimes the world slows and you notice every small thing, as if you stood between two beats of eternity’s heart.(...) The air hung heavy with the metallic scent of rain. I wondered: if I stood out there, in the flood, would the rain wrap a grey life and make it shine? Should I stand, arms spread, and raise my face? Let it wash me clean. Or did my stains run too deep?

Err… * picks up the jaw from the floor* Wow!

This book is in an entirely different league than Prince of Thorns. So many layers, s
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews


In the below review, I had many criticisms about the story, specifically how Jorg seemingly produced "super-powers" out of thin air to save himself. While that is exactly how I felt after closing King, Emperor of Thorns satisfactorily explained those aspects of the story, so when reading this review, please understand many of my criticisms were later made moot by Mr. La
Petros Triantafyllou
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you regularly follow my reviews, you must have already noticed that nice out of ten times I don't get to enjoy the next installments in a series as much as the first one (probably due to the fact that I'm already acquainted with the world & character building, as well as the magic system, so i am less impressed by the rest of the story). King of Thorns is the exception to the "rule". The one out of ten.

"Fifteen! I'd hardly be fifteen and rousting villages. By the time fifteen came around, I'd
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

As good as the first? Not quite but I still really liked it.

The story is told from three points of view, Jorg's present as he faces a massive army set to destroy him, flash back four years as Jorg tries to discover the origins of a mysterious copper box that seems to have stolen some of his memories, and finally the journal entries of Katherine Jorg's love interest.

At times I found this bouncing back and forth confusing but I'm pretty sure it was only because of how slowly I was forced to read

Oct 04, 2012 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
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“They say that time is a great teacher but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”

Prince of Thorns ★★★
King of Thorns ★★ 1/2

I usually read book series one book per month, that way I don’t forget all the details and it also prevents me from getting bored of the book series. I am saying this because I read Prince of Thorns back in November last year but I could not find it in me to pick the second book in December. I just felt that
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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. This divisive book found a fan in me, despite this particular first person point of view that all notions of good and virtue tells you to hate.

I found a lot of things that I liked about Jorg even though I didn't love everything about him. Lawrence's captivating writing and smooth prose keep the pages flying and have not a little to do
Terry Brooks
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The warrior rides a black stallion. Smoke shrouds the castle ruins behind him and the wind gives only glimpses of the corpse-choked gap between high and broken walls. That same wind streams long dark hair across his shoulders, like a pennant, and flutters the remnants of his cloak. To his left and right more riders emerge from the fog of war, warriors all, their armour dented, torn, smeared with soot and blood."

Honourous Jorg Ancrath, the Prince of Thorns, has become a king in his own right, an
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books

This book wrecked me. It was sad, hilarious and gory at the same time.

Granted, I thought this would be a boring middle book by the first 250 pages. Oh Boi was I wrong. Jorg is the same bloody bastard he was in book one, I'd say he's even scarier at this point. I'm truly terrified for book 3 and can't wait to finish the series. Also I can't believe I've DNF'ed book 1 two times. I'm so glad I gave it another chance, it's my favorite series now!
Craig Slater
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
King of Thorns (#2 Broken Empire) by Mark Lawrence.

Hmm, What to say about this Author and this series, without spoiling any of the twists or surprises. Book one, Prince of Thorns was one of the surprises of 2011. If you didn't get it on your to do list you should add it now. I'll wait while you do.

Ok? Done?

At it's essence, this series is a VERY dark and violent tale, told first person, from the point of view of Jorg the young and disturbed ringleader of a brutal band of wandering misfits (Bro
The most interesting thing I took away from this book was that I started to like Jorg, albeit just a bit, more. He still does reprehensible things, don't get me wrong, but he's older and wiser and not so eager to jump in and kill people without asking questions first. He strategizes a great deal more as well and really tries to think many steps ahead of his opponents. Jorg actually seems to be bothered when certain people are hurt or die, instead of just forgetting them and moving on. He thinks ...more
Will M.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
I don't want to be harsh and all, but all I can say of King of Thorns would be that it was fucking boring. It's a shame compared to Prince of Thorns.

The plot's utterly full of useless shit. This novel could've been way shorter. It has 500+ pages (on my iPad) and most of the novel was full of useless conversations. It also has too much adjectives, and tends to describe things longer than it should. And where the fuck is the action? I really liked the first book because it was full of violence
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This second book in the Broken Empire series was of a similar quality to the first. Which means it was pretty good!

The Story

This story picks up 4 years after the end of the first book. An 18 year old Jorg now sits on the throne of Renar, but still dreams of being Emperor. His main competition for the role, the beloved Prince of Arrow, marches on Jorg's kingdom with an army many times that of Renar. In a fair fight there would only be one winner. Fighting fair has never been part of Honorous Jor
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it
THE SOCIOPATH IS AT IT AGAIN While I despised Jorg in Prince of Thorns, the story itself was highly entertaining and kept me turning pages as quickly as I could read them.  However, I did not find this novel as engrossing, perhaps because I've grown somewhat use to the main character's sociopathic behavior. 
In any event, since the "shock" value of Jorg didn't overwhelm me this go round, I found myself focusing a great deal on the story itself, which quite honestly was a bit underwhelming.  I co
Charlotte May
DNF on page 280.

Just not my thing. I really enjoyed The Girl and the Stars and I want to try the Red Sister trilogy. But I’m not really finding this one that exciting and I’m trying to be stricter with books. If I don’t like something, time to move on.
samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2020-shelf
Still a nasty piece of grimdark, but I have to be honest: there are a FEW more redeeming features to our young little psychopath in this book than there were in one that came before.

I probably sound like that's a bad thing... right? Well... yeah. I was USED to loving to hate the little murderous sociopathic little punk. I don't want him humanized. I want him to plow over all his enemies and random bystanders who might have been within spitting distance of him. I want him to burn the world.

Or rat
Phee 💗💜💙
Well, I’m pleased to say that I am pleasantly surprised at my feelings towards this book. Upon first reading I didn’t much care for it at all. I didn’t like Jorg, I didn’t care for his brothers and I got overly confused by the different timelines in this book. Couple that with my tendency to read rather quickly and I was left rather underwhelmed.
However, upon my re-read 4 years later my opinions have changed somewhat.

Don’t get me wrong, I still didn’t much care for Jorg’s brothers. I don’t fee
Veronica Morfi
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was really good. I loved that there were mainly two different storylines in different times (four years ago and wedding day). Also, since Jorg himself did not know his own plan and what happened in the past we got to figure it out together. I am surprised that I like Jorg. He really comes off as the villain most of the time but still I feel sorry for him and also really want him to win the war and become Emperor. In any case, now I need to get my hands on the third book cause I am curious t ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fantasy-grim
*** 4.75 ***

So disturbingly good!!!!!!
Luna. ✨
Argh this review got deleted ! Sorry to repost guys.


“We die a little every day and by degrees we’re reborn into different men, older men in the same clothes, with the same scars.”

Oopsy another unpopular opinion from me *evil cackle*.
Firstly I must start this review by saying this book was extremely overhyped imo. Everyone raves on about how great this book is, but to be honest it was just okay for me. I once again went into this book with high expectations as I did with Princ
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: King of Thorns - Lawrence [April 11, 2022] 32 28 May 24, 2022 11:14PM  
Katharine or Miana? 37 864 Oct 16, 2020 04:34PM  
How is "Jorg" pronounced? 14 463 Jan 03, 2020 11:07AM  
Helix Book Challe...: * BOTM #3 - King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence 1 3 Aug 02, 2019 03:09PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: King of Thorns [Apr 2, 2018] 316 74 May 01, 2018 11:19PM  

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Other books in the series

The Broken Empire (3 books)
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3)

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