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The Broken Empire #1

Prince of Thorns

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2011)
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.

From being 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 has the ability to master the living and the 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.

Mark Lawrence's debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

373 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. Before becoming a fulltime writer in 2015 day job was as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say 'this isn't rocket science ... oh wait, it actually is'.

Mark used to have a list of hobbies back when he did science by day. Now his time is really just divided between writing and caring for his disabled daughter. There are occasional forays into computer games too.

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5 stars
34,885 (31%)
4 stars
40,316 (36%)
3 stars
24,358 (21%)
2 stars
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1 star
4,212 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,071 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
August 2, 2023
Prince of Thorns is 12 today! Soon it'll be a teenager :o

Great to see Prince of Thorns still getting so many reviews in its 12th year.

Those of you wanting to get a copy of The Broken Empire signed & numbered, limited edition, omnibus … well, you're too late. All gone. As are the Red Queen's War signed & numbered, limited edition, omnibus copies.

You can however still pre-order the 10th anniversary signed & numbered, illustrated, leather-bound, limited edition of King of Thorns!

Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes

Road Brothers : tales from the Broken Empire is now out!

an anthology of 14 short stories about Jorg &/or his companions!

Prince of Thorns is 25th on Goodreads' voteable Best Epic Fantasy list!


Yay! Robin Hobb (newly welcomed to Goodreads) reviewed my book on Goodreads! LOOK That's officially ten types of awesome right there!

Yay! Terry Brooks reviewed my book on Goodreads!
LOOK Unreal! I read The Sword of Shannara as a kid in 1979!

Yay! Rick Riordan reviewed Prince of Thorns on Goodreads! LOOK

Yay! Peter V Brett reviewed Prince of Thorns on Goodreads! LOOK

Wow... Orson Scott Card reviewed the whole trilogy! Look.


And on twitter Holly 'Spiderwick Chronicles' Black said "I gotta say, Prince of Thorns was pretty great."

& reviews from other fine authors Anthony Ryan,Courtney Schafer, & Theresa Frohock

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Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 256 books408k followers
November 8, 2013
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 has become such a hardened, unrepentant killer. He lives in a broken empire where minor lords are constantly squabbling, but who is really pulling the strings of power? Jorg intends to find out. He aims to become king by the time he is fifteen, and once you meet you, you won't be betting against him! If you've ever wanted to read a first-person book about a hero who is also the darkest of villains, try this out. It's not like anything I've ever read before.

Profile Image for Robin Hobb.
Author 294 books99k followers
March 2, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Elspeth.
836 reviews131 followers
June 19, 2015
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.
I can see why an author will do this to their female leads, it can make them stronger, give them motivation to become the best they can be to fight evil in whatever form it comes in.
There are a couple of reasons I have issues with the main character being rapist, the first being the obvious. I cannot empathize with a rapist, there isn’t a good enough reason in the world for me to like a person that commits such a crime. I can’t think of another author that has had their main character act in the way Jorg has.
This leads into my second reason for disliking the course of actions of this book. It’s an easy out, a cheap shot in making the main character be evil, and he is evil, this is not the actions of an anti-hero. I like a good anti-hero, I enjoy the show Dexter, and Richard Kadrey writes a mean one with his Sandman Slim series.
I like books where the author takes time to build the story so the reader and the character get to know each other and settle their differences.
In this book there isn’t time, the author just jumped right in with this disgusting display to portray what a horrible man Jorg is.
This is why I will not be reading this book, it’s not all the reasons, but it’s the top two.

EDIT: Here is the rape scene that people are saying never happened.

Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
May 10, 2017
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 enough to be interesting. And to be quite honest, I kept hoping little Jorg would somehow redeem himself. In some way. Just a little bit!
But the little bastard just kept on slicing throats, throwing people off cliffs, and shooting arrows through the hearts of anyone he really cares about.
To be fair, Jorg has Batman syndrome. He watched the slaughter of his mother and little brother when he was only 10 years old.
He has some unresolved issues...


Except instead of taking the Bruce Wayne approach to things ( I will SAVE Gotham! ), he's gone all dark and demonic on the inside. Hate will do that to you. It's ok to get angry, you just have to channel it the right way. Hate? Not so much. That shit will just eat you up.
And then who's gonna want to adopt you from the shelter?


So, Jorg started out an angry 10 year old, and when he finds out the King (who just happens to be his father) won't attack the man responsible for his mother & brother's death, he loses it. He hates the king who attacked his family, and he hates his father for letting it slide. In a rather spectacular show of lunacy, he runs away from home and takes up with a group of killers, eventually becoming their leader.
Hate, amirite?
What comes after hate?
EVIL, that's what! Pure evil! The kind of evil who thinks it's funny to taunt the farmer you just gutted by telling him you just found his daughters. Mmmmm. Yummy!
It's a slippery slope, people! If you let yourself go down that road, you'll find yourself sucked in deeper and deeper...with no way out.


And that scene, with the dying farmer, is where we start the journey with Jorg. He's a few days shy of 14, and already the leader of his motley band of Brothers. You would think it would be impossible for a kid to have somehow taken the leadership role, especially among a group of hardened murderers.
In my mind, this is how his takeover would have gone:


But Jorg is a fearless, scary little shit. And he's not the type to back down. Ever. To anyone.
I kinda had to respect that about him, you know?
At any rate, the kid is ruthless enough to scare these guys into submission.


Besides, the vast majority of his crew were not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. They were good at raping & pillaging, but that was as far as their mental capacities took them. In other words, they may have been scum, but they weren't very hard to manipulate.


However, along the road, he runs into his father's priest. In a cage. No, seriously. Jorg (naturally) wants to kill him but decides to use him to herald his return back to his kingdom.
But not before he stares down an army of the undead, and sends them running for the hills.
Yeah, I know! I told you this little fucker was scary!


Alright, once he makes his grand entrance back at the castle, that's when this show really gets going.
Jorg finally gets to face-off with his father!
Except, it's not as cool as Jorg imagined it in his head. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite of cool.


Turns out, his father has remarried, and the new wife is preggers with Jorg 2.0. Unfortunately, dear old Dad doesn't exactly want his asshole, runaway son taking the throne away from his new spawn. Naturally, Jorg's first thought is how he's going to kill the pregnant bitch.
Because he's sweet like that...


But before he can even begin to starting plotting ways to push his stepmother down a flight of stairs, he runs into her sister...his new aunt.
Aunt Hot Babe!
And now he's conflicted. I mean, he likes her so much he doesn't even want to rape her!
WTF, Jorg?! Are you losing your edge over a girl?!


Ehhh. Not really. He debates whether or not to kill her, just so he doesn't have to worry about getting too attached. Luckily for her, it doesn't matter for long. Because Papa King is sending him on a suicide mission to take out one of the enemy kingdoms. If he returns victorious, it will prove his loyalty and restore him as the heir.
Hahahahahahaha! Yeah, Jorg isn't falling for it, either.


But there's not much he can do but play along. His father has a powerful magician with some scary powers. This dude can get inside your head, read your thoughts, and control your body.
And Jorg, surprisingly, has managed to get on his bad side.


Although to be fair, this guy has managed to get on Jorg's bad side, as well.
For the record, my money was always on the psychotic tween...


Ok, the rest of the story is full of exciting adventure! Mutants, necromancers, and radioactive waste are waiting for our intrepid band of don't even remotely resemble heroes. But the good thing is, you really don't care when any of them bites it. Well, except for that one guy...


There are plenty of Big Secrets that come to light by the time this story was over. But towards the end, there was one thing the king did that I really didn't see coming!


And then there was that other thing that made me think Jorg might be redeemable. Ish. See, there is a bit of a hole in the kid's memory. Not much, mind you. Just a teeny tiny chunk.
But it turns out to be quite a doozy!


Alright, so is Jorg the kind of character that I think most people will like? No.
He's just about as rotten and unsympathetic as they come.
However, by the end of this book, he had learned one very important lesson that I think will resonate with everyone.
Sexytimes with a willing hooker is much more pleasant than going the old forcible rape route.
Awwww. He's really growing as a person, don't you think?


My point is, this is DEFINITELY not a book for everyone. I liked it, but that was only because I knew what I was getting into beforehand. If I could find a Trigger Warning cat gif, I would put it up in a heartbeat! However, because I can't, I'm just going to close the door and let you decide for yourself whether or not you want to read this one...


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Profile Image for carol..
1,567 reviews8,221 followers
March 28, 2015
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 ripped open, while some of his men loot corpses, rape women and set buildings on fire, and another comes through and chops off heads. Ostensibly it is in pursuit of a larger goal, but what it translates to is a path of casual violence, both intimate and large. I get that that's what the author means to show, but I felt sort of sick and uncomfortable reading it. The most interesting parts were the "four years ago" flashbacks that begin to flesh out how our lead became the dysfunctional person he is. The tragedy looms large and awful, but the story lacks the sense of spiraling into rage that would helps us understand how he transformed the killing and it's aftermath into the path he did.

An interesting angle is the sort of post-apocalyptic connection that is at first hinted at with literary references, and then becomes more obvious. Forgive me, but it reminds me strongly of the trend later Shannara books took, with mysterious ruins, mutated populations and nuclear waste leaks. In this first book, there is little that is unique except

Character building is a fatal flaw in Prince of Thorns. The band of twisted merry men are each little more than a significantly defining characteristic. Furthermore, the only two positively influential people in the prince's life are created out of the simplistic racial stereotypes of the "Magical Negro," and the "wise Asian teacher" who has the child's best interest in mind despite being a slave/indentured servant. The prince himself is more than a wee bit overqualified, like a master video game assassin; an expert tactician, skilled in hand-to-hand combat, decent blade work, physically fast, good horsemanship, able to use a crossbow, and all despite being only fifteen.

While I've dabbled in gaming, I've always stayed away from the flat-out warfare/shooter video games (excepting Bioshock and it's lovely period inspired weirdness). I feel like I'm seeing a trend in modern fantasy towards books inspired by that kind of video-game based storyline that focuses on the imagery of violence and quest-driven action with minimal characterization. Personally, I like my people and worlds more fully developed, but I can see where this book might appeal to that population.

One uncharacterized star

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2012/1...
Profile Image for Lis.
265 reviews61 followers
January 22, 2022
Note from 2022: I wrote this review when I was 12 or something, and it's gotten a lot of views since then. I look back at it now expecting to cringe, but I honestly still agree with the spirit of what's been written, even if I would go about it a different way if I wrote it now. But for the sake of transparency, I guess I'll leave it how it is. It has seemed to resonate with some people, and made other people quite angry. I also think that author ML, beyond this initial debut series, has written some cool books and has gotten better (whether consciously having gotten similar feedback from elsewhere along the lines of what is mentioned in this review, or just bc his writing in general got better as he wrote more books — funny how those things kind of go together) with a lot of the issues that got me fired up back in 2011. I liked his Book of the Ancestors series and gave those good reviews on this site. Anyway, if you're still here to leave an angry comment in 2022... can I ask... why bother?


Cw: rape

Well, I did it. I finished it to the last page, mostly so I could review it like this. Give me a medal, because I was very much tempted to drop it when within the first few pages, the protagonist manages to rape two women and murder a few others just 'cause. More on this later.

This book was the metaphorical equivalent of some /r/morbidreality bullshit. Palahniuk pulls this shit too, but at least he does it well. Lazy writing. Lazy lazy lazy lazy lazy. It's like filming a trainwreck and presenting it unedited because Oh man look at it! It's Art! It's Edgy! But it's honestly lazy and ineffective and there's just way better stuff out there than this.

I am not protesting the use of rape as a plot device, however sickening I might find it personally. This book starts out with the plundering and burning of some small town in the country. Jorg is seen giving several less-than-stable orders to his men about what exactly they can do about the absence of material wealth, and points them in the way of several farm girls. Cue rape. Just 'cause. It's just so tiring to see men engage with sexual violence when it suits them as a rushed characterization job, then turn around and give the women in the book absolutely no agency or discernible personality. The two juxtaposed are just...so tiring, and utterly uninteresting.

And why is it that every white male author writes shit like this literally for the sake of being edgy and cool? This was senseless, baseless — there was simply no point. Why am I expected to be sympathetic to the main character when he pulls shit like this?

There was a great quote I'm going to bring up that was directed at ASOIAF, but it will work here:
Tons of trolls have thrown out the “but THINGS WERE JUST LIKE THAT BACK THEN!” argument ad nauseum. Which is total bullshit, of course...

I just want to ask, why is it whenever producers/directors/writers want to demonstrate “gritty historic realism” it’s ALWAYS RAPE? It’s always sexual violence toward women/girls.

You know what would be gritty historic realism? Dysentery. GoT has battles and armies marching all over the place. You want to show “what things were like back then”? Why aren’t we seeing 500 guys by the side of a road puking and shitting their guts out from drinking contaminated water while the rest of the army straggles along trying to keep going? Or a village getting wiped out by cholera? Or typhus, polio or plague epidemics?

I'M GOING TO GO AHEAD AND ANSWER WHY PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO WANT TO DO THAT — No one wants to see that shit. Interesting.

Anyway, let's move on to the other characters.

Wait. What other characters?

Jorg IS the main character, but, I mean, seriously, it's almost as if the most important supporting characters around him were just plot devices in living flesh and bone and nothing more. No development. Totally flat. Lifeless. Existing to only complement the already-gritty-edgy-omgimsocool vibe of the main character. Don't they get any development? At all?

Another point — one redeeming part of this book could have been female representation, but... what did you DO to Katherine, for fuck's sake?

We have her stand there as Jorg starts to strangle her near the end. That's what you do to her. Here we have that recurring motif of violence against women, where every girl is either raped or beaten and don't exist in this insipid, too-edgy plot in their own right.

In case you couldn't figure it out, I do not recommend this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews46k followers
January 10, 2022
Buddy read with Jorg's fangirl, Anna

Here it is, I finally got around to this famous Grimdark novel. Let it be known first that Prince of Thorns is not my first Mark Lawrence’s book, the first was Red Sister, his newest and what the majority of his fans considered as his best work so far. Though I can’t say the same for the series yet, Prince of Thorns, the first book in the Broken Empire trilogy, one of the most famous Grimdark fantasy in the market and Mark Lawrence’s debut novel is inferior compared to Red Sister but hey, I’m not here to do a step-by-step comparison.

PoT as a whole is still more of an okay to good read for me since there’s nothing special yet as of now other than the unique main character. I have problems with almost every aspect of the book excluding the MC and prose. One thing for sure, reading this book while you’re having one of those bad day and felt like obliterating all things in sight proved to be quite satisfactory.

The entire book follow only one POV in 1st person perspective and this may be off putting for a lot of people especially since the main character, Jorg Ancrath, the Prince of Thorns who’s “broken” by a traumatic event in his past is an asshole, insane, and sociopath say the least. He’s pretty much Batman/Bruce Wayne (*gasp*Bruce Wayne is Batman!?) who goes down the road of Joker.

Personally, I find people’s reactions towards the violence in this book to be overblown, there are tons of other books more violent and gritty than this, a single 2 page torture scene by Glokta in The First Law trilogy made me grit my teeth more than this whole book. Yes, there is violence and yes Jorg is a rapist and murderer but from people's reaction, I think I just didn't expect the rape scene to happened off-screen in one short paragraph. This doesn’t mean I support his actions at ALL, these scenes (offscreen or not) can indeed be very triggering, and they must be treated carefully. But sometimes, I do wonder why we're okay with reading tons of people’s head bashed like potato in tons of other books we read and yet we don't bat an eye towards those scenes. Somehow, one short vague paragraph about rape is worse than people’s head exploding or bodies part being cut off.

I must also state that the book really lacking in actions department, there’s tiny bits of action here and there but most of them are forgettable except for maybe one courtly duel scene.

In my opinion, Jorg as a character is really unique to read, there’s probably less than 10 POV I know which role-played a sociopath or villain as the main POV and although he started out as a complete villain, by the end of this book he transformed himself to be an anti-hero and I can’t wait to read more about his development.

“The way to break the cycle is to kill every single one of the bastards that fucked you over. Every last one of them. Kill them all. Kill their mother, kill their brothers, kill their children, kill their dog.”

If there’s a con that I had with Jorg’s POV, it’s not on reading his behavior or personality (once again, doesn’t mean I support his actions AT ALL) but his godlike ability in everything. He’s 14 years old, his narrative sounded like a 20-30 years old adult (probably due to his past), blessed with power and skills better than all veteran soldiers which doesn't make sense. Not to mention that all conflicts in this book seems too convenient for him to solve and the infamous enemies he faced more or less have an IQ so low to even be considered a worthy enemy. I find myself reading the book almost completely devoid of intensity excluding one or two scene.

Picture: Chibi Jorg by peastri

Another great thing about the book is in its prose. The structure of the book is told within two time frames, past and present and Mark’s prose is really great in gripping the reader to the book. It’s immersive, well written and philosophical at times.

“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.”

Now, two of my biggest problem with the book lies in its lack of well written characters and world-building. Jorg aside, there’s no other compelling characters, all the other side characters are devoid of personality that I could care less if they died or not. This includes Jorg’s group of mercenary, the Road Brothers. I want the books I read to have other compelling characters rather than one only, the more the better. This is achievable despite the 1st person narrative, Kingkiller Chronicle for example, for a book solely focused on Kvothe, there are tons of other great characters endearing for the readers despite their brief appearances, Simon, Auri, Devi etc. I really hope the sequels to this book to have more great side characters to care for.

And finally, the world-building aspect, this book doesn’t have the feel of an epic or high fantasy book, at least not yet as of now. There’s no lore or mythology here, the setting of the world is the same as ours with fictional cities in a map with high resemblance to Europe or maybe it is Europe I have no idea yet. The God in this book is Jesus, there’s talk of Plato, Roma, India, Robin Hood that it felt at times like reading historical fiction. There are some elements of high fantasy of course, with the undead and angel for example but their brief appearances and the setting of the world doesn’t help in bringing the tone of high fantasy to the book as of now, there’s actually a hint of Sci-Fi in the world-building and that part intrigued me so let’s just say, my problem lies in my expectation for thinking this is a standard high fantasy book.

Picture: Jorg & an angel. (Interior Artwork from Broken Empire Omnibus edition by Jason Chan)

Despite the faults I have with the book, Jorg and the prose itself manage to pushed me to read the book in 2 days (not something to be proud of though, the book is really short) and from what I gathered so far, this book is more like a setup for the next two books. It’s more of a character background book to Jorg rather than his real journey and the ending of the book really piqued my interest in continuing the trilogy, which I’ll do so after posting this review. Prince of Thorns is an okay read for me and I hope the rest of the trilogy could push the series towards greatness.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
Profile Image for Terry Brooks.
Author 389 books77.3k followers
April 22, 2013
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 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.
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 99 books11.8k followers
September 9, 2011
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 commandeered it in the name of PoT. Read the whole book in less than a week. This used to be nothing, I would read two books a week in high school and college, but these days even a standard 300pp paperback can take me weeks to finish. Too much to do. If I’m reading 50+ pages a day, that is a damn good book.

I was immediately pulled into Prince Jorg’s sociopathic little world, fascinated by the flashbacks of his past that hinted at how he became the amoral monster he was. Lawrence’s writing is a wonderful mix of vivid metaphor and tight, economical prose. There are no wasted words, each is beautifully chosen. His world, too, is a wonderful blend of medieval and post-apocalyptic fantasy. Jorg’s interactions with his teachers, foes, mercenary brothers and royal family are fabulously done.

After seeing mixed reviews and controversy, I expected PoT to be a lot more violent and disturbing than it actually was. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. I think my own books are fairly tame compared to what goes on in the really real world, and yet there are plenty of reviewers who would have you think they are one long rape scene. Fool me once, reviewers, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Don’t get me wrong. Lawrence’s Prince Jorg is one delightfully twisted little bastard. But you may find yourself having a little sympathy as you get to know him.

Blink, and you might even find yourself rooting for him to succeed.
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books514 followers
February 19, 2023
My complete review of Prince of Thorns is published at Grimdark Magazine.

Prince of Thorns is simultaneously a grimdark fantasy, a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller, and an epic revenge narrative told from the point of view of a first-rate sociopath. The sociopath in question is Honorous Jorg Ancrath, a brutally violent prince-child whose actions are not guided by any accepted sense of morality. As we learn more about the tragedies of Jorg’s childhood, we recognize how he became so twisted and understand his motivation for revenge.

Jorg Ancrath has become one of the most iconic characters in grimdark fantasy. Mark Lawrence paints a very compelling portrait of a physically and emotionally scarred protagonist who is full of pride and consumed by rage. Telling the story from the first-person perspective of Jorg is the perfect way to get into his mind and understand the origin of his cruelty. Somehow, we also develop sympathy for Jorg throughout the course of the narrative. This is a testament to Mark Lawrence’s excellent characterization of Jorg in all of his complexity.

Some readers have been turned off by Jorg’s seemingly irredeemable penchant for violence. But this is nothing new in literature. One of the greatest novels of all time, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866), is also a first-person narrative told by a psychotic murderer who seeks to rationalize his acts of homicide. A more modern example is A Clockwork Orange, the 1962 classic by Anthony Burgess. Alex, the main character from A Clockwork Orange, served as inspiration for Mark Lawrence when he crafted Jorg, although Alex is even more viciously evil than Jorg, committing horrendous acts of violence for his own perverse amusement.

A large part of what makes Jorg so compelling as a main character is the voice that Mark Lawrence has created for him. He is disturbed and illogical, but also darkly comic and even naïve in some respects. Jorg’s dark humor keeps the prose vibrant and the reader engaged throughout the novel, as we experience a combination of repugnance and wicked delight. All of this is balanced by Jorg’s deep-seated sadness, which reveals itself gradually throughout The Broken Empire trilogy.

The worldbuilding in Prince of Thorns is limited by Jorg’s own tunnel vision. Nevertheless, Mark Lawrence does a compelling job building layers of political intrigue in the neo-feudal land of the Broken Empire. Readers will be treated to more complete worldbuilding in the next two volumes of the trilogy, as well as in the companion Red Queen’s War trilogy.

Prince of Thorns is not a magic-heavy book, but it does include scenes of necromancy and dream- and fire-magic. The magic system is not explained in Prince of Thorns. Mark Lawrence leaves it to the reader to piece together the magic system across his five trilogies, which ends up being more science fiction than fantasy.

One of my favorite aspects of Prince of Thorns is the way Mark Lawrence blends grimdark fantasy with elements of post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi. The hints are there throughout the book. As a reader, the most surprising and rewarding aspect of this novel is when we discover the true nature of the world in which Jorg is living.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading Prince of Thorns several times. This is the special type of novel that gets better each time through, revealing its hidden layers and connections to the greater universe of Mark Lawrence’s writing. Jorg’s viciously dark humor also becomes more hilarious upon each reread. Most recently, I enjoyed reading the new Prince of Thorns Limited Edition, published by Grim Oak Press in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of this grimdark classic. The Limited Edition is a gorgeous bonded leather-bound volume with a sewn-in black satin bookmark, also featuring new full-color artwork by Jason Chan.

Prince of Thorns is one of the best and most influential books in grimdark fantasy, authored by one of the founding fathers of the genre. If you haven’t read Prince of Thorns yet, what are you waiting for? Come, brethren, and hear this Grimdark Gospel according to St. Mark.

Profile Image for Michael.
Author 108 books93k followers
July 9, 2013
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 now on I will tell them if you want to see "that kind of book" they should look to Prince of Thorns. Mark does an exceptional job writing the anti-hero. He is in fact what I would imagine Royce would be like so there in reason to write such a book as it would pale in comparision.

I do have just a few little complaints (authors never can read anything without analyzing a work). I had a bit of a problem with a fourteen-year-old boy accomplishing some of the things he does. Most women I know would be able to hold their own against someone this age so I had to suspend my belief with regard to his ability to rape. Also I don't think a band of surly men would really follow someone of Jorg's age.

As the book progressed and it was determined to be a post-apocalyptic earth I found that a bit hard to wrap my head around. Mixing keypad/computer technolgy with the fantasy setting was "different" and I'm interested to see what significance the setting will have as the series played out.

All in all a quality book by a bold new author. I think this is an exceptional book which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys dark and gritty fantasy. I wish Mark well in his future endeavors and expect to see great things from him.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,114 followers
August 16, 2020
3.5 ⭐️

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

Okay. So Prince Jorg is a fucked up little psycho. After suffering serious loss due to violence, at a young age. Jorg is hell bent on revenge.
With his band of brothers they raid and pillage their way through their enemies towns until they reach the final showdown.

Jorg is a hard character to root for. He is just such a messed up kid I can’t get on board with his behaviour. There is rape, racism, murder, torture. You name it. Also there was a side element of necromancy which kind of lost me, I wasn’t really sure what was happening there.

I will still continue the series to see where it goes.


Edit: I have actually read a Mark Lawrence book now. The Girl and the Stars - and it was freaking awesome so I need to get my act together and read his other books ASAP!

Me: Has nearly every Mark Lawrence book on TBR

Also me: Has never actually read a Mark Lawrence book.

Best change that then!

Ordered from the library
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews407 followers
November 25, 2016
Disclaimer: This is not a book for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. There is violence and a 14 years old prince with a total lack of conscience.


Now, did you ever have a really bad day? Did you ever want to punch something/someone just to vent your anger? Did someone ever belittle you and you had to hold your tongue? Did you ever imagine how it would be if you were free to do whatever the f*ck you want to? No morals or laws to contain you. No conscience to keep you in check.


Well, yesterday was such a day for me. A day when it was proven to me yet again that being a good, honest person let's other people think they can trample all over you. So I had a lot of anger in me with no satisfactory way to release the pressure. I have morals, a conscience, so what to do? Good things there's GR, so I posted that I need a book about a broken, angry hero/heroine who sets upon getting their revenge. And they get it. No pretty, fluffy stuff. Just an angry person who gets their way. That's when Petrik, Haifoun and Nafeeza came in and all three of them recommended the same book: Prince of Thorns. And, guys, thank you! I loved it!

Prince Jorg Ancrath was only 10 years old when his uncle had his mother and brother killed. He expected his father, the king, to go to war, but it was all settled for a few coins and trade rights. That made the boy snap, free some prisoners and join a brotherhood of criminals and rapists. He soon became their leader.


That brings us to the present, when Jorg is mostly a man at 14. He kills and rapes. And he never forgot he's need for revenge. But guess what. His father remarried and his new queen is pregnant. And the king's personal Rasputin claims the future child will be a male. That prompts the king to find out if his first born is still alive or not. What's more interesting is that Jorg decides to return to court where, bam!, Rasputin, aka Sageous, tries to pull his nasty magic on him. Of course his father is an idiot already under the creep's influence. And then...


Lord Ruler, I loved this book! It's exquisite for when you're angry. Because all you want is for Jorg to go berserk. No stupid YA bullshit. No fluffy romance to make the character want to better himself. Just hate, anger and revenge.

Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,946 followers
May 10, 2022
Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

A good start to the series involving bad people doing bad things to each other

Prince of Thorns was a very enjoyable read for me, in part because of the positive trajectory this book took through it's telling. As I started the book I was extremely worried that I was going to hate it, as I didn't love the writing style and the dual storylines (one past, one present) felt a little jarring and unneeded.

Fortunately, these concerns faded to the background as the book picked up pace and by the end of it I was thoroughly invested in the story and the characters. I love a darker story, which this book fully embraces and the plot wrapped up in a pleasant way that sets up the next story wonderfully. I thought the magic elements to this book were well executed and the plot was tight.

There were two notable downsides to this book though that prevented me from giving it a 5/5.

First, I did not love the writing style - which consisted mostly of very short sentences. If you are familiar with Red Rising, it is written in a similar style. I don't mind shorter sentences, but it was continual and I was hungry for some greater structure to them as I was reading.

I also thought the characters were difficult to root for. Not just because they are all intentionally dislikeable, but because you don't ever feel really invested in their success. I think of a series like The First Law which also featured a lot of POV characters who are horrible people, but they are written so well that you can't help but root for a character like Glokta. That's no so in these books, but I am hoping that changes as I continue along with this series.

Overall though I did enjoy this book and look forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
November 27, 2018
I’ve always had very mixed feelings about Lawrence’s world, but at this point in the series I did actually think it was fairly good. I thought the second book was much the same, then the third book was the complete ruination of this fantasy universe, but I’ll address that fully in my later reviews of the series. For now though, the Prince of Thorns was exciting and dark. However, it did have some major problems that limited it severely.

A dark protagonist

Initially, the first few chapters almost put me off the book entirely. The writing seemed substandard and disjointed. At points it was like it had been written by a violent child, though as the nature of the protagonist was revealed, I began to see the desired effect behind the prose. It is short, snappy and sadistic. Is that even possible? Well, it is in Prince Jorg’s world. The writing almost reflects him in a weird sort of way. If you don’t like him, then put the book down. (I, again, almost did) There’s no point trying to read this; he won’t change; he won’t develop: he will simply remain the same psychopath all the way through.

“You got responsibilities when you’re a leader. You got a responsibility not to kill too many of your men. Or who’re you going to lead?”


He is ruthless, resourceful and brilliant. His responses to the situations he finds himself in are imaginative and often hilarious. After surviving a horrific ordeal during his childhood, the Prince is forever changed. Something dark seeped into his soul and changed him forever. He now leads a crew of thugs, and one random knight. Together they savage the landscape. Their ultimate goal is killing Count Renar, the man who murdered the Prince’s mother and brother. Though first, to get to him, Jorg must return home to confront his farther who wishes him dead. This is no easy task.

There’s just no empathy to be had

His character may not develop (an impossible thing in this case) but the plot does; it begins to change into a tale of real depth and bloodiness. I like the origin story and how it unfolded. Structurally speaking, this book is well put together; it was intense and exciting. . Once the flash back chapters began, the thorns grabbed me and didn’t let go till I finished reading. The problem this book has is with Jorg himself. There are much bigger problems in the entire series, but, as I said, I will lay them down later.

The problem with Jorg is that he is too much of an anti-hero. He may be funny; he may be violent and entertaining, but he cannot be invested in. If a character likes to murder and allow his men to rape, and can think of nothing but destruction, then he isn’t very redeemable. He is a lost cause. There is nothing in him but hate and bitterness. I feel like Lawrence wrote himself into a corner with this character. He couldn’t realistically change him once he started; he had to keep him how he was, but what he was was flawed and careless. If misfortune came his way I was neither happy nor sad; I couldn’t care less what happened to him. I don’t hate him, though I simply have no sympathy for him, which, for me, is a major part of reading; thus, this book was missing a vital ingredient. If I can’t sympathise with the protagonist, or care for his plight even if he is an evil person, then I simply cannot fully enjoy the book. The emotion is everything.

The Broken Empire Trilogy
1. Prince of Thorns- A heartless 2.5 stars
2.King of Thorns A dreadful 1 star
3. The Emperor of Thorns - A Hateful 1 star

Author 1 book360 followers
February 28, 2017
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 a novel that will redefine the term grimdark.

The world building is well structured and ever-expanding, with elements closely resembling that of an alternate universe in medieval times. In comes the (easy to understand yet complex to define) magic system, that combined with the aforementioned world building gives you the impression of a random, and usually seen in fantasy, fantastical world. Pleasantly shocking revelations prove you otherwise.

“I think maybe we die every day. Maybe we're born new each dawn, a little changed, a little further on our own road. When enough days stand between you and the person you were, you're strangers. Maybe that's what growing up is. Maybe I have grown up.”

The Protagonist, Jorg of Ancrath (pronounced like it's spelled, not "Yorg"), is one of the most controversial characters in modern fantasy. He begins his journey as a crystal-clear villain, and proceeds into carving his path as a beloved Anti-Hero, creating a lot of debates in fantasy fiction cycles, for whether he should be despised or praised, loved or hated. The answer is none of them. He should simply be enjoyed. You don't have to like a character in order to enjoy his story. And, considering the realism (and humanism) that characterizes Mark's world (as seen with the moral and theological issues raised, as well as the inner struggles of the characters), that's a story one doesn't usually find in fantasy (or in fiction in general), and surely doesn't simply dismiss.

All in all, i find The Broken Empire to be the greatest fantasy fiction story of the decade, belonging to the top of your TBR list, unless you are one of those little sisses who can't stand the realism on Mark's books. It's a medieval story for fuck's sake, of course they will rape, kill & pillage (and not necessarily in that order).

You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/
Profile Image for Kaora.
585 reviews282 followers
August 3, 2015

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 least it was short. Although it should have ended after . That would have made a much better book.
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,066 followers
April 12, 2020
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 over again.

The bloody tale spun by Mark Lawrence centers on Jorg Ancrath. This ten year old flees privilege preferring to grow up among highwaymen, stealing, raping, torturing, and killing everyone in his path, as he follows a convoluted pathway to revenge. Revenge against the man who killed his mother and brother, but also revenge against the world which has somehow failed him.

Now, Jorg is no hero, nor is he an anti-hero by anyone’s definition. In many reader’s eyes, Jorg will be evil incarnate, though I do not believe he views himself in quite that light himself. No, Jorg seems to picture himself above the petty, frailties of humanity, as if the hook-briars, which gave him his moniker, drained both his blood and his morality away at the same time. This allowed him to see life for what it really is, for as Jorg himself explains:

“When they killed him(Jorg’s brother), Mother wouldn't hold her peace, so they slit her throat. I was stupid then, being only nine, and I fought to save them both. But the thorns held me tight. I've learned to appreciate thorns since. The thorns taught me the game. They let me understand what all those grim and serious men who've fought the Hundred War have yet to learn. You can only win the game when you understand that it IS a game. Let a man play chess, and tell him that every pawn is his friend. Let him think both bishops holy. Let him remember happy days in the shadows of his castles. Let him love his queen. Watch him loose them all.”

Life is one huge chess board to Jorg, filled to the brim with pieces he can cast aside as he sees fit. Those you love or care for or feel responsibility toward are merely weaknesses, holding you down. “Anything that you cannot sacrifice pins you. Makes you predictable, makes you weak.” Indeed, to our young Prince of Thorns’ thinking, there is only one expectation placed upon any leader: “not to kill too many of your men. Or who’re you going to lead?” This is Jorg’s world view, which he pursues with a relentlessness seldom seen in fantasy novels.

But he has other endearing qualities though, right?

Nope. Not any that I recall.

In Jorg’s defense, his is an esoteric view of reality, which justifies all his moral faults, because his cruelty and heartlessness are merely the true state of man’s nature, not the lies people tells themselves about honor or love or being a “good man.” (Survival of the fittest on steroids, if you will.) No, those antiquated notions of “civilized” people are the lies . . . the deceptions in Jorg's mind. Only he truly appreciates men and the world they have built for themselves; the untruths people have plastered upon the true face of reality to make themselves feel better. Life is about surviving and obtaining what you desire. The truth is that “pride” is what drives man, makes him reach for something higher than himself, and forces him to sacrifice anyone and everything in order to achieve it.

Jorg explains this view of reality to his peeping toms (readers) throughout the book. His thoughts laying out a framework that points to each man deciding his own fate. No god controls Jorg Ancrath. No divinity or morality defines him. He is a primal force of nature, exhibiting to all around him that man is the god of this world and can live his life however he chooses. The evils, which he metes out against his fellow human, merely an expression of his divine right to set his own rules, master his own fate, and play the game the way it was meant to be played - unless you have the strength to stop him from doing so!

That is the reality Jorg Ancrath demands that you look at and understand. Many times, it seems he is standing over his next victim yelling at the reader to take a good look, because this is what awaits you when you set yourself up as gods. For when every person is their own god and can define their own morality, there is nothing left to stop a Jorg Ancrath except brute force. Might makes right!

Now, it is no easy task to write a character as devious, blood-thirsty and committed to his world view as Jorg. Most times an author who tries, fails due to the believability factor. A few too many rapes or people tortured, and the character ascends into the land of fairy tales, where witches live in ginger bread houses and cook lost children in their ovens. However, Mr. Lawrence never crosses that imaginary line into unbelievability. Jorg’s mixture of philosophical musings and absolute viciousness creates a character who seems as real as Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin on a History Channel documentary.

Even the constant flashbacks between present and past Mr. Lawrence uses to tell Jorg’s tale doesn’t detract from this book. Normally, I cannot stand an author jerking me from place to place, and especially from present to past, but here Mr. Lawrence does it so seamlessly that it never disrupts the natural flow of the novel, but actually adds another element of enjoyment, as a reader is allowed to put the jig-saw pieces together to understand how Jorg Ancrath became this monster you are reading about.

But the cherry on top of all this is Mr. Lawrence writing slight of hand, as the standard, medieval fantasy setting is turned on its head and turns out to be so much more than a reader initially expected. This mysterious history only adds to one’s desire to explore, discover and learn about this world, which has birthed and nurtured a Prince of Thorns.

Now, there are always thing about a book that do not work no matter how good it is. Prince of Thorns had it share of those like every other novel. I’d feel remiss if I did not point out my few criticism of the novel.

First, Jorg routinely accomplishes physical feats at nine, ten and fourteen that seem impossible. Perhaps I feel this way because I have an 11 year old and 9 year old son, but it is true nonetheless, because no child - no matter how mentally deranged - would have the brute strength to do many of the things Jorg supposedly does when he is so young. Even at fourteen years old, the believability factor of many of Jorg’s physical accomplishments just seems ridiculous.

Two, Jorg’s descent into madness seemed a bit too quick. He is shown as a normal, well-adjusted child of royalty; all the privileges of life accruing to him before his mother and brother’s tragic killings. Hell, he himself says his mother would leave their home before criminals were executed to spare him from such atrocious events. So, I believe it is fair to say Jorg Ancrath was “sheltered” in his world’s context from the true horrors of life. However, our normal, nine year old becomes the poster child for sociopaths everywhere over night basically. It just was too much of a stretch for me, even though I enjoyed reading about it.

Third, Jorg constantly rolls the dice of chance, counting on his deviousness and pure luck to allow him to win every encounter he finds himself in. And throughout the book, he makes wilder and wilder decision; many with no real plan at all, yet it always works out for Jorg. He wins time and again against impossible odds, where no one would have been able to overcome the fundamental difficulties of what he was attempting, but which poses little hindrance to Jorg’s inevitable triumph.

Four, Jorg and everyone else in the book are basically not worth killing. No good guys at all here. While it was refreshing to read about a truly evil character like Jorg, I also had nothing to contrast his despicableness against. I personally find it more interesting when there are two sides in a confrontation, where I can “root” for someone. Here, Jorg is basically killing other people who act as viciously as he does or people who happen to be around when he wants to kill someone, so I never really “cared” about the outcome, because I did not have anyone to “root” for or against.

To sum up, other reviewers have hailed Mark Lawrence’s book as “a breath of fresh air in a genre where characters often fall flat.” I won’t go that far, but I will say it is an interesting twist on the traditional, fantasy genre. The story of a sociopath killing his fellow human beings while espousing his own brand of morality was an interesting read. No matter how distasteful Jorg is - and believe me he does not have a single redeeming quality to salvage his soul in this book - you find yourself wanting to read more about him, hoping that somewhere along the line he has an epiphany that reveals his erroneous morality, or that a true hero shows up and cuts his heart out. Neither happens in this book, but there are two more books to read. Hope springs eternal as the old saying goes.
Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,962 followers
June 30, 2022
There’s a line in “Not the Same Anymore” by The Strokes that always reminds me of this book: The child prisoner grows up to seek his enemy’s throat cut. This is the essence of Prince of Thorns: an exploration of how one Jorg Ancrath, after watching his family get brutally murdered in front of him, falls into the depths of his unchecked rage and becomes a Dostoevsky-style psychopath. It’s at once a psychological thriller, a frightening dystopia, a grimdark classic, and a fascinating character study.

Prince of Thorns can be disorienting. The story is told in a refreshingly nonlinear manner. Since it’s written in the first person with Jorg as a very limited narrator with tunnel vision, the scope of the rest of the Broken Empire is never clear. When we learn about some aspect of the politics, culture, or even the side characters, it is only because Jorg found it important enough to point out. We’re not even sure if certain characters are alive or not, since Jorg doesn’t care enough to check. While some characters may seem shallow and two-dimensional, this is because they are only seen from Jorg’s point of view, and he only sees people as things he can use. This sets the book apart from many other fantasy novels that followed, and helps establish Prince of Thorns as a haunting probe into the mind of a truly despicable person.

Jorg Ancrath is many things. He is distressingly hilarious. He is deeply disturbed. He is dangerously amoral. His often directionless rage and resentment is coupled with his heavy depression and despair, adding unexpected layers to his character. He often reveals a philosophical side, his burning love of knowledge peeking out from behind a brutish exterior. Make no mistake, though—he is a brute, a violent and unhinged psychopath. But he is also an abused child hiding a deep sadness and regret. His story is gripping and horrifying and unflinchingly bloody, pulling me in from the very first page.

Prince of Thorns is an iconic book with an undeniable legacy. The modern Crime and Punishment, the fantastical Clockwork Orange—it’s been called many things, but it is truly an original, genre-bending classic that has set the standard for all future grimdark novels.

4.5 stars

Profile Image for James Tivendale.
317 reviews1,343 followers
January 14, 2018
Introduction to the Prince of Thorns - Prince Jorg. Mark Lawrence's creation of a charismatic, intellectual evil being that is arguably on par with Anthony Burgess's Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange. Unlike American Psycho's Patrick Bateman and other fictional psychopaths - we are presented reasons to sympathise with our pal Jorg as an event when he was 10 shocked his very soul and led to his stupidly cool nickname (see the book title) :)

This book is shown (like many good debut books I have noticed) in two parts. A current day presentation of events - Jorg coming back after 4 years on the road of murdering, pillaging, raping and all manner of naughty things but also what happened four years ago following on from the tragic event up to meeting his gang of your road raggamuffins before his 4 years debauchery/discovery started. Or his gang of 'droogs' as brother Alex would have said.

Speaking of his gang. It is a tight-knit bunch. Jorg is heartless the majority of the time but certain people for whatever reason he takes under his wing. His pals include colourful characters such as dark skinned, warrior-esque Nuban, childlike monster Gog, Knight of the Realm - Makin and large beefcake of a brute Rike. You can see he has composed a colourful and interesting gang who follow him completely - as road brothers, but also because of his wit, intelligence and I think they are slightly scared but also in awe of him.... even though at the books finale he is still only a fresh-faced fourteen-year-old. Also, I am not sure if anyone has made this connection before but his gang reminded me a bit of Kaladin and Bridge 4 in Stormlight Archives. Obviously with two very different gang leaders but the camaraderie and even the makeup of the personnel in said gang is very similar. The language in this book is not that difficult. It is a young adult fantasy in the way it is written although the tone of it is very grim and despondent.

I read this first half of the book about 4 months ago and put it down. The reason is that, well - it didn't seem very fantasy. More historical in a fictional world. The first half of the book is about road battles, court happens and just political conversations. They even follow the same God and study the same philosophers as us here on Earth. I picked this up again today - and literally, as soon as I got past the first half of the book - we are escorted into a pleasant typical fantasy whirlwind featuring necromancers, mages, monsters, dead people etc...

The book is full of great scenes - a nice courtly showdown of Jorg vs a Knight and fighting the dead in an underground tunnel are two of many.

This book does come to a nice conclusion but I can't wait to see what happens in King of Thorns. I will say, Jorg father seems like a right b*stard and there is always a girl who blinds our heroes vision and thoughts, sigh. It makes good fiction, though.

If you haven't checked it out please do.

Your friend, James x

Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
November 18, 2013
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 support the behavior or even that I enjoy reading about it. I don't and I'm glad it's never really revisited, at least not in action.

2. Many have said that Jorg, the main protagonist, is too young. First, he definitely acts his age. If anyone says one thing, he wants to do the opposite. That's got teenager written all over it. Second, I really don't think people remember being that age and aren't giving it nearly enough credit. An intelligent teenager could easily act this way, especially given how Jorg was raised and how he spent all his time during the last 4 years.

3. It's hard to believe a small band could defeat a much larger group of soldiers as happens toward the beginning. Actually, it wasn't. We're told they're the best at what they do, no one stands a chance against them. Then, without getting into too much detail, they strategically make it happen. Disbelief suspended.

Told in the first person and alternating, but not every other chapter, between the present and chapters that begin with "Four years earlier," Prince of Thorns is an unruly tale of revenge. Prince Jorg watched his mother and brother murdered and will do whatever it takes, and I mean WHATEVER it takes, to make things right.

After falling in with the worst humans alive, a band that could fit in nicely with the likes of Joe Abercrombie's Black Dow and company, Jorg's every thought is centered on reeking havoc for his sworn enemy, Count Renar.

As you can imagine, Jorg has some pretty evil thoughts and yet this book is amazingly hard to put down. For some reason, you can't help but root for him. He's had it bad, but his attitude, outside of all the really bad stuff (which is a lot), is pretty compelling and I loved it. Jorg makes things happen. It doesn't matter the odds either, he has no fear of such petty things and it's great, especially given his age, which as I mentioned above, in no way phased me and really only added to my enjoyment of the story. I love rooting for the little guy.

Seriously, go read Prince of Thorns now. It's a really quick read too, both in terms of page length and the fact that you won't be able to put it down.
Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,233 followers
April 24, 2017
3.5 STARS ★★★

"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 blurbs often and didn't with this so I thought this book was about a bunch of 14 year olds running around killing trained soldiers, I also hated Jorge to begin with a 14 year old bashing grown men and giving orders how unrealistic.. Yeah right.. I got to chapter 12 and found out the warband was grown men then I actually had trouble not reading it, everytime it was picked up I devoured it, I read until I couldn't read anymore. I will admit I had a little break to finish another book, but when I picked this book up and finished it I decided I liked it and enjoyed reading it. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the part in the mountain was with the necromancers and monsters, totally loved that part so much ! I love magic and as soon as that component was added in I loved this book. I liked getting to know Jorge in his flashbacks to his childhood, I liked seeing how Jorge became a monster I thought what he went through was very fitting to the title and it was good to read, I feel like I understand him now, lol. I loved seeing how Jorge meet his warband four years ago and how they traveled around terrorizing people trying to get Jorges revenge. I did however feel confused towards the end to where this series was heading ? Like really I have no idea what it's about expect a psychopath wanting revenge. I hope to see more things in the plot next book.

[insert smug clapping gif]

I'm very impressed that this is a debut novel, the writing is fantastic and the story itself is amazing, it draws the reader in, I think this is a hate it or love it kind of book due to the main character being an anti hero (actually a psychopath teenager with so much anger) It is hard to pull off a character as complex as Jorge but this author on his first attempt got it. I'm honestly looking forward to reading the rest of this series, I'm pretty much inlove with Jorge the sicko and can't wait to see what he does next. Definitely a different fantasy read for me, I haven't read much anti hero so it was definitely a different experience for me being from an evil perspective, but I really enjoyed it. I also hated the POV I liked third person, this was first person, I like multi character POV, this was single character POV. But I got past those issues and just read the book.


"Hate will keep you alive where love fails”

I've always loved the anti - hero or the villain, I find them so intriguing & different so while reading this book I felt my interest rising in Jorge and his motives, this is of course after my dilemma with the start. I like Jorge and I understand why he does the things he does (sometimes), he has had it rough and there is definitely something wrong with him, he is an actual psychopath, I LOVE HIM. I'll admit at the start I was skeptical then after the first half of the book I got over my cringing and being a sissy and started loving what he was doing & now I feel like I need more Jorge. He is smart, he is manipulative & he is badass he is also very SICK & fucked up, LOL. But I did keep thinking to myself when will someone kill this TURD, like seriously how does he get away with the shit he says and does... then I realized its because Jorge literally does whatever the fuck he wants & I enjoy that. No one can stop him haha his a slippery sucker.
I kept feeling the need throughout this book to compare him to Joffrey from a game of thrones like they seriously have so much in common. I hate Joffrey don't get me wrong *cough cough* was the best thing ever, in glad he is gone. But Joffrey and Jorge do the unthinkable and are both cruel but that's all these two share. Jorge has a brain, whereas Joffrey doesn't. (Not a Joffrey gif I no.. It was needed tho) in the mountain there was that scene were Jorge ate a heart...

[insert eating heart gif]

I enjoyed all characters even the bad ones the Kings dream witch, he intrigued me and I want to know more about this dream magic. I also liked Makin - I hate his name so much tho, it confused me at the start for a word not a name. Makin was a loyal character, I have no idea why he is loyal to Jorge who is an asshole to everyone, but he is and I liked that. I would have enjoyed reading from his POV sometimes I'll like to know what he really thinks about Jorge and his decisions.

I really loved the Nuban, he was my favorite character. It was a shame to lose him so quickly in the series I would have enjoyed seeing more of this character and once again a POV. I liked seeing Jorge swoon over Katherine who barely took notice of him. .

[insert ugly face gif]

There wasn't enough characters for me to love or hate. This book was mostly about Jorge and his fucked up past.

’ll tell you now. That silence almost beat me. It’s the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears. The spirits of the dead have nothing on it. The dead one tried to show me hell, but it was a pale imitation of the horror I can paint on the darkness in a quiet moment.”

"Lucifer spoke thus. Pride took him from heaven, though he sat at God's right hand.' Her voice grew faint, the hint of a whisper. 'In the end pride is the only evil, the root of all sins.'
'Pride is all I have.”

Great solid read, not for the faint hearted, good shock value & enjoyable story.

[insert cocky asshole gif]
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,382 followers
November 30, 2020
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“Tell me, tutor,’ I said. ‘Is revenge a science, or an art?”

After reading and loving Lawrence’s Impossible Times series earlier this year, I decided to start reading his other books. This is also a known controversial series in the adult fantasy world and I always stand somewhere in the middle when it comes to those. I like to think of myself as a fair reader and I succeed in seeing what people liked or hated in those kind of books.

The story is a revenge story revolving around Prince Jorg who lost his mom and brother when he was younger (He is still young in this book, 13-14 years to be more precise) and he is kind of traumatized and trying to reach their killer facing his father the king through this adventure.

The writing is good, I already knew Lawrence has good writing from reading his other series and I think he grew as a writer from what I have read so far or maybe he is a better science fiction writer than a fantasy one. I was confused at some points and I faced this reading the other series and I searched a bit through my friend’s reviews and it looks like I was not the only one who was confused. I wouldn’t count it against the book because these were small parts that I was confused in!

“Few things worth having can be got easily.”

Jorg is not a likeable character and I don’t think he is intended to be one. But I had some problems with him anyway. First, he was only 13-14 years at the time of this story and there were flash backs from when he was 10 years old and since I work in the pediatrics department now, I couldn’t take him seriously because I can’t think that a 13 years old would be that dangerous and evil no matter how you try to show me that. He was unnaturally strong, he was a rapist, a thief, a murderer and the excuses that were given for all of that were not convincing. I also thought the secondary characters did not have much page-time and thus I couldn’t say I had strong feelings toward them.

The world-building also was a bit surprising for me, I always thought the story takes place in historical settings so it was shocking for me to see a computer demanding a password, that’s when I understood it is a post-apocalyptic world! There was not much exploring for the world and magic but I think it has potential.

The plot did not bring much to my reading experience, I thought the book would be a bit more creative and action-packed but that was part of my disappointment as it wasn’t. I always am reading faster when I am approaching the final chapters but that was not the case here. I was just trying to finish the book which kind of sucks! I also should note that I did not believe it was that dark. I have read less notorious books which impacted me more from that aspect!

“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.”

Summary: I thought the book was okay and average and I was expecting more. The characters were not the best, the writing is good but sometimes confusing and the plot is not that unique. I still believe Lawrence is a good writer because I saw his potential and that’s why I am gonna continue book 2 in this series and then jump into his Book of the Ancestor’s series!
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews352 followers
August 4, 2018
DNF at page 200.
Is not the violence and the age of the Prince Jorg, but apart from that the book is not tell me anything.....
I will give it another try at the insistence of a friend
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,481 reviews7,776 followers
July 28, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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 father, the King. Jorg had other plans, however . . . .

“I swallowed darkness, and darkness swallowed me.”

Rather than dying he took to the road, where he learned from the Brothers how to survive – and how to kill . . .

“The stink of death comes in many flavours, but I like to think I recognize the Reaper in all his guises.”

It is now time for Jorg to return home, to face the demons that haunt him, and to reclaim his right to the throne . . .

“This is where it starts. When they write the legend, this will be the first page.”

Is it wrong to maybe want a rapey 14-year old Prince to be your book boyfriend? If so, then it’s definitely NOT ME who feels that way. It’s Mitchell. I loved this book. Talk about a change of freaking pace from the usual Mary Sue and her insta-loving self. Not only was Prince of Thorns filled with characters I should have hated (but of course ended up loving), it was action-packed from the first page to the last and even included a twist that made me all . . . .

Houston commercial photography

I liked this so much I’m going to read the second book in the series – and I NEVER read the second book in the series. I just have to see what Jorg gets up to next. The only complaint I really have is the back-and-forth timeline. I think this story could have been told with a prologue in the present time, then a flashback to four years prior, and continued from there until it was back in the present again. (Of course, that’s most likely because I personally think the wonky timeline thing is too overused.)

Alright, so there’s my big swoony review. On the flipside, please note that a ton of my GR friends 1 Starred this sucker. If you are a freak like Mitchell and myself jump right in. If not? Don’t blame me when you hate it. And also, I’m not sure how this puppy is categorized most places, but my library has it shelved as both YA and Fantasy. Don’t let young children read this. Not only is it not appropriate, but . . . .

Houston commercial photography

(^^^^Ha! That ought to earn me some friends.)
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
September 9, 2020
Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1), Mark Lawrence

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led 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 he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar's men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage.

Life and death are no more than a game to him and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father's castle. Treachery and dark magic.

No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

The Broken Empire Trilogy is a trilogy of fantasy novels written by American-British author Mark Lawrence. The first volume, Prince of Thorns, was published on August 2, 2011. The second, King of Thorns, was published on August 7, 2012. The third and final volume, Emperor of Thorns, was published on August 6, 2013.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه اصلی: روز بیست و پنجم ماه ژوئن سال 2018میلادی

عنوان: شاهزاده ی خارها: کتاب نخست از سه گانه امپراتوری درهم شکسته؛ نویسنده: مارک لارنس؛ مترجم: امیررضا لطفی پناه؛ تصویرگر سعید فرهنگیان؛ دبیر مجموعه: نیما کهندانی؛ تهران، نشر باژ، 1398؛ در 316ص؛ شابک دوره 9786222190569؛ شابک جلد نخست 9786222190606؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی برای نوجوانان - سده 21م

از یک کودک سلطنتی ممتاز، بزرگوار شده توسط مادری دوست داشتنی، «هونوریس جورگ آنکرث» شاهزاده‌ ی خارها شده است؛ پسری دلربا (و شاید فریبنده)، و فاسد، که گروهی شوم، از مجرمان را، در مجموعه ای از تاخت و تازها، و جنایات، رهبری میکند؛ دنیا در آشوب است: خشونت فراوان، کابوسها در همه‌ جا ست؛ «جورگ» قابلیت اینرا دارد، تا بر مرده و زنده، سلطه یابد؛ اما آنجا، هنوز چیزی وجود دارد، که دلسردی‌ را در او باقی می‌گذارد؛ در برگشت به قلعه‌ ی پدرش، «جورگ» باید، با وحشت‌هایی از کودکی‌ خویش، روبرو شود، و با دستهایی که مخالف او هستند، آینده ای برای خود بتراشد؛ هنگامیکه او نه ساله بود، مادر و برادرش را دید، که در برابر دیدگان او کشته شدند، زمانیکه او سیزده ساله بود، رهبر گروهی از دزدان و قاتلان شد؛ در پانزده سالگی، میخواهد تا پادشاه شود...؛

برای شاهزاده «هونوریس جورگ آنکرث»، زمانش رسیده تا به قلعه ای برگردد، که رویش را از آن برگرداند؛ تا چیزی را بگیرد، که حق اوست؛ از روزیکه به خارهای خارزار دوخته شده، و آویزان ماند، و مشاهده کرد، که مردان «کنت رنار» مادر و برادر جوانش را، سلاخی کردند، او به سوی بیرون ریختن خشم خود رانده شد؛ زندگی و مرگ برای او، چیزی بیش از یک بازی نیستند، و چیزی برای او باقی نمانده، تا از دست بدهد؛ اما خیانت و جادوی سیاه، هنوز در قلعه‌ ی پدرش منتظر او هستند؛ مهم نیست که اراده‌ ی او چقدر تواناست، آیا مردی جوان، می‌تواند دشمنانی با قدرتی فراتر از خیال او را، مغلوب کند؟

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
August 7, 2011
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 petty grievance you have experienced since kindergarten. Revenge, sweet revenge burns hotly. Your thoughts moves past those bulwarks of civilizing philosophy and for a moment you touch the lizard brain.

This book will shake a rattle and it is up to you whether you go into the weeds to investigate or if you take the safer path and move away as quickly as possible. I chose to go into the weeds or should I say the thorns and will again for book two.
Profile Image for Pang.
420 reviews359 followers
February 2, 2016

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..

“From the Royal Child, to the Ruthless Prince of Thorns”

I was taken through this vengeful journey by a boy, he is Jorg Honorous Ancrath. A prince who saw his family murdered brutally right before his eyes. And it’s even more painful that he cannot help them since he struck in the Rose’s thorns. The thorns.. that sting his skin, hurtful to the bone. That bastard Count Renar he swears to revenge for what that man done!


Man, not many books will be led by freakin’ bad character like this! I found that I had a lot of *gasps* moments with the mouth open wide. Why? Because Jorg is only 13!!! and he kills many people more than I can count without remorse!!

Imagine me in his head and knew that ‘if I want to kill, I gonna kill!’ It’s like his normal nature. O.O He not even has to think again and again about right or wrong, or about all the bad things he done!

Jorg is so ambitious, and brave, and yes cunning. It’s really interesting to read the character that can sacrifice anything or anyone only for success. It was… oh ho wow ho Does you have a heart? boy I want to ask you. Jorg intrigued me with what he gonna do. I think that, think this. Sometimes I saw he care, but another time he sacrifices! Wow.. this boy is so twist. *damn* Read it by yourself and know what I mean… ;)
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