A Goodreads user
A Goodreads user asked:

Okay, I read about 15 pages and felt sick to my stomach. I can handle a war story/ violence, but is it going to be worth it? It was recommended to me, but I don't handle reading certain things well...i.e. violence against children, torture etc....needless to say the very beginning already has me second guessing if I should continue. Any advise would be great. To read or not to read?

To answer questions about Prince of Thorns, please sign up.
Phoebe Saunders I'm a woman and a feminist and this is my favourite book trilogy, written by my favourite author. It's dark and bloody and confronting and utterly compelling to me. It's also beautifully written and made me laugh and cry.

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

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

Also, I now note that you asked this question a couple of months ago...now I'm curious what you decided to do?
Daniel Ruffolo The thing about this series that seems to give a lot of people pause, is the idea that they're so used to the main character being a protagonist, and that you're supposed to identify with him, and be on his side. When they come to a book that isn't like that it ends up being really confusing.

You are SUPPOSED to hate Jorg. You are supposed to think he is a horrible, evil person. He murders, he rapes, he steals, he uses people. The important thing to keep in mind as you read the books is that -everybody else around him ALSO thinks he is horrible-

This book series contains all of those things yes, but it doesn't glorify them or even imply you are supposed to be okay with them. Literally everybody in the whole series besides his equally evil flunkies thinks he is horrible, and wants him stopped.

If reading those scenes at all is too much for you, then don't read it, because they keep coming up. If the problem is the idea that you're supposed to find a way to like this character, and thus be okay with what he does, consider yourself reassured: He is horrible and evil, and you can enjoy the quality of the writing, and the great story while hating him.
Bat Girl Also, upon further reading reviews, I've noticed that many of the 5 stars are by men, when many of the 1 stars are by women...(NOT ALL, but many) Am I to assume that's because of more rape and pillaging? Because I'm not sure how I much more "Rape the farm girls, and then burn them to death" I can take.
Chandré Louw I feel like a lot of readers are over thinking the violence in this book. If you really feel that uncomfortable reading a book then stop reading it. Chances are the book won't become any less gritty later on , it might become more so.

However , the key to becoming a more well rounded reader is to open your mind to all kinds of stories and situations. Even if the story feels morally incorrect to you it could still affect you in a positive way by reassuring you of your morals or whatever the case may be.

It's refreshing to have a main character that you don't fall in love with at first and opens you up to understanding our generic way of pre-judging a person without any justification of our assumptions.
Katrina As I was reading, I actually wondered if the first chapter was intentionally vicious to either weed out readers like me, or attract readers with tastes opposite to mine. Because I had that thought, I stubbornly read on. The first section is really the worst in terms of the viciousness and raping. The rest of the book (I did finish it) continues the protagonist's callousness toward others, and has plenty of violence, but it didn't feel as intentionally offensive. It also provides a rationale toward the end explaining Jorg's thought process/actions/development over the past four years, which, if not satisfying, is acceptable in context. I'm undecided about reading the next book - intrigued by the post-apocalyptic setting, but not really invested in any of the characters or the writing.
Jonas Kaufman I had a similar reaction and opted not to read it.

Which made me sad because the opening was, while grim, also witty. I liked Jorg's dry gallows wit. But what happens right out the gate made me very uncomfortable.
Laura-Lee Rahn Do you have any idea how many MILLIONS of books are published each year just in America?! Here's my advice to you.
What is beautiful and good to others may not be meant for you. Listen to your gut instinct. Listen to your heart. Find a book that will elate, encourage and motivate YOU. There are lots to choose from and nobody like you in the whole world. You can do it. Chose what's right for you. And on an even more personal note. I admire you for not just "going with the flow" and doing something because everyone else wants you to. It will work in your favor in much more than merely choosing your next book. LLR
Satarupa I think the core conflict in the book from reader point of view is whether you would support an evil person if he could bring results. You will find similar conflict in real life too (i.e. brilliant jerks) which is why I read the book to find out if I could in this situation. But unlike many of my favorite anti-heroes like Lelouch vi Britannia, Light Yagami etc. the hero was neither that brilliant nor were his opponents good enough to challenge him and bring some conflict or evil enough to make us choose between relative evils. All in all, I couldn't care about any of the characters at the end of the book. Though I have given it a 3 rating for the interesting world-building.
JS Hamilton I found the protagonist unsympathetic, as obviously intended. But the reasons for his actions and mental states become clearer the longer you read the story. My feeling is that although there's some redemption in play, this is more about coming to understand other things behind his actions. I cannot go into details without spoiling the reveals, but I can tell you they're there.
Dallas No anti-hero here, straight up villain! It hits you hard at the start to set the tone and let you know what to expect. I love this book, but not for the violence etc, I love it for the darkness, the tone, the language and poetic introspection of a character who knows he is horrifically damaged. He lets 'the dead' see inside his mind because once they see the darkest parts they run from him. In relative terms he can be an anti hero, because he is the protagonist, but in absolute terms he is a villain. It's about villains against villains. And that's not for everybody. Generally, I reckon feeling sick to your stomach from reading something is a pretty clear indicator that it probably isn't for you. But I think the first 20-30 pages are the most full-on.
⚰Rusty Bottoms ⚰ Maybe Percy Jackson would be better for you? There is a lot of knifing going down in this one. It's a bloodbath.
Pete Gowdy Have you tried Harry Potter?
Stefan Weiß it's very violent and an awesome book. There will be violence against kids too and worse. It's good for people who don't think war is sunshine and noble kings. It's an AWESOME book series, all 3 parts of the series
Ketto I don't know about anyone else, but as a woman, I highly enjoy reading about violence and the much grittier side of things when it comes to fiction. It's something I prefer to see because it's something that appeals to me in a way that makes (or can make) a story interesting. Why is the character driven to such violence? How is their reaction to it? Does it change over time or does it remain static? Sometimes violence is necessary, but when it's gratuitous and there for no reason, it seems pointless as opposed to me not actually liking to read it.
Ignacio Escandón At first I stopped reading it for the same reasons, but I gave Jorg another chance. Now I finished the second one in two days, is worth reading it
Abbie Riddle This book is dark, twisted and incredibly disturbing and conflicting on many, many levels. The main character is a socio-path and I don't know if redemption can even happen for him, although as a mom and a woman with a degree in social work/counseling I find myself intrigued and wanting to find a way to "fix" it all. Brokennes displays itself differently with different people - here it's through blood-thirst, violence, and revenge. I would say this book may not be something you want to consider reading. The themes of violence, rape (especially when they raze towns), revenge, torture, and various other forms of pain are revisited often. In fact the book is written in such a way that you are in the mind of the poor, broken socio-path himself.

I did finish it. I gave it a good review. It's edgy. And the truth is that in times of war and disquiet these are very real happenings. We only have to look back to any war ever fought to find the very same type of issues. That doesn't, however, make it any easier to read or swallow.
RJ Don't bother. I'm about halfway done with it and am just skimming the rest. Nothing really happens except for violence, more violence, and Jorg being repellent. Fine. I don't need main characters or POV characters in stories to be "good" in order to enjoy the story, but I at least need their badness to be interesting and well written, and this isn't.
Jamie Owens the thing about fantasy books is there's a hero,falls in love and saves the day. these books are sooo different which is a good thing.lets have a bad guy who's funny and plays by his rules.and you may be surprised he may end up a good guy all along.
Image for Prince of Thorns
by Mark Lawrence (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more