Dani's Reviews > Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns by Mark  Lawrence
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's review
Jan 24, 2015

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bookshelves: post-apocalyptic, sagas, magical-reality, fiction, fantasy

"(...)Hate will keep you alive where love fails..."

Prince of Thorns is the first book of The Broken Empire trilogy. It's a character-driven fantasy book set on a post-apocalyptic Europe. I think it's very challenging for a fantasy book to be set on the future when the majority of them take us back to the Medieval Era.

As I stated before, the story is driven by the main character, Jorg Ancrath. He is a prince that has escaped his castle and what is left of his family. He is full of hatred because his mother and his little brother were brutally murdered by Count Renar, four years earlier, while Jorg was watching hanging in a briar thorn bush. Those scars have apparently marked him for life.

The story is told from the perspective of thirteen-year old Jorg, leader of a band of outlaws and some chapters work as flashbacks to tell us what happened 4 years ago.

If you are looking for a heroe, don't read this book. Jorg Ancrath is prince, king and emperor of anti-heroes. He destroys things, he murders people, he rapes women. Although, at the end of the book we get to question all of that. It is a complex story, there are lots of magic, so everything must be questioned. I don't want to give away much information so I'll stop talking and put a quote:

"(...)You’re a piece in somebody else’s game, and all you’ll earn from it is a sword through the stomach, unless you redeem yourself in the next twenty seconds..."

Overall, it's an amazing story, but a few things didn't work out for me. The secondary characters are mildly developed. I've already started the second book of the series, so I can tell you the development gets better.

But my main concern is the lack of information on how this future world turned into an almost medieval one again, how the Empire broke and what really happened the Day of a Thousand Suns. At the beginning of the book I was very disoriented because of this, but some of the last chapters give us an insight in some of these situations.

Also, I liked the duality of Jorg at the end of the book, and I really think we'll encounter someone very different on the second book. And also, a man of eighteen, so maybe my problem trying to figure out how a boy of thirteen could do the things he did won't be an issue anymore.

"(...)Blood is on these hands, these ink-stained hands, but I don’t feel the sin. 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..."

So read it without judgement and enjoy the wonderful prose of Mark Lawrence.
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Reading Progress

January 24, 2015 – Started Reading
January 24, 2015 – Shelved
January 24, 2015 –
page 44
13.58% "Too many characters and very scarce information about them."
January 24, 2015 –
page 63
19.44% ""(...)A part of me longed to lay it all down, that weight I carried, the acid pain of memory, the corrosion of hate...""
January 24, 2015 –
page 65
20.06% ""(...)And we went out into the day, and all the heat of it couldn’t touch the ice in me...""
January 24, 2015 –
page 77
23.77% ""(...)“Terror and entertainment are weapons of statehood, Jorg.”...""
January 24, 2015 –
page 82
25.31% ""(...)“It’s not a game, Sir Makin. You teach these boys to play by the rules, and they’re going to lose. It’s not a game.”...""
January 26, 2015 –
page 104
32.1% "It's getting a little better now."
January 26, 2015 –
page 118
36.42% ""(...)Wait when waiting is called for. [...] But never hesitate...""
January 27, 2015 –
page 124
38.27% ""(...)“Dreams tell a man who he is”...""
January 27, 2015 –
page 130
40.12% ""(...)You soon learn there’s no elegance or dignity in death if you spend time in the castle kitchens. You learn how ugly it is, and how good it tastes...""
January 27, 2015 –
page 152
46.91% "So, this is a fantasy book set in the future but I need more information on how it all turned medieval again."
January 29, 2015 –
page 186
January 30, 2015 –
page 219
67.59% "Hmm... there are certain situations that are exactly the same as some on A Song of Ice and Fire and I do not like that. I know it probably is a coincidence, but :/"
January 31, 2015 –
page 237
73.15% "Now I can officially say that it turned futuristic."
February 1, 2015 –
page 248
February 1, 2015 –
page 248
February 2, 2015 –
page 268
82.72% ""(...)We wrap up our violent and mysterious world in a pretence of understanding. We paper over the voids in our comprehension with science or religion, and make believe that order has been imposed. And, for the most of it, the fiction works. We skim across surfaces, heedless of the depths below. Dragonflies flitting over a lake, miles deep, pursuing erratic paths to pointless ends...""
February 2, 2015 –
page 288
88.89% "So much better now!"
February 3, 2015 – Shelved as: post-apocalyptic
February 3, 2015 – Shelved as: sagas
February 3, 2015 – Shelved as: magical-reality
February 3, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
February 3, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
February 3, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Hayat (new) - added it

Hayat I'm looking forward to your review! :)

Dani Hope you like it!

message 3: by Hayat (new) - added it

Hayat Great review, Dani! This one sounds a lot darker than I first assumed. And the anti-hero rapes women?! Srsly?! Please tell me he pays for it or something. :(

Dani No, but I started the second book and I have theories already. I think a great female character set him a trap, but I need to continue reading to know if I'm right.

The author said he started writing the book thinking how Alex from A Clockwork Orange would be in a post-apocalyptic fantasy book. So, yeah, expect him to be a very ugly human being.

message 5: by Hayat (new) - added it

Hayat I hear it gets better and like you said, the author is exploring dark character development. I'm curious enough to see where this one is going. Thanks Dani! :)

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