SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
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Group Reads Discussions 2012 > "Prince of Thorns" First Impressions *No Spoilers*

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim This book has been up for nomination a few times and has finally won. The first in the Broken Empire trilogy (book 2 is out, book 3 next year) the reviews on this one seem to be very split. Either total love or total hate. Apparently it's a little violent, so you've been warned. I'm looking forward to it, I just hope it isn't too cliché.

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 110 comments Matic - I think the cliche argument might arise because there has just been so much written in recent years that is dark and gritty that it comes off as just another "me too." I'm not saying I agree with those comments but they might be from whence they hail.

I picked up and read the book because it was torn apart by a reviewer that went so far as to question the morality of the author. My first thought was Really? You do understand that authors make things up right?

I have a pretty long and vocal opinion of preferring my fantasy to be escapist (I want to be transported to a place and hang with people that I WANT to spend time with), so one would think I hated this book, but you'd be wrong.

The writing is excellent and the author had a very definite point of view he wanted to express and he did so well. There are a few nits about the book that I'll get into later...but I found this to be worthy read and I hope that Mark has tremendous success with the series.

Carol.  | 252 comments Meh. I'm a longtime fantasy reader who was severely unimpressed. Honestly--it reminded me more of Terry Brooks' Shannara more than Abercrombie. While The First Blade was violent, the focus was on character development--I never expected to be feeling sympathy for a torturer or an over-bred princeling, but Abercrombie accomplishes it. Prince disappointed me with it's very simplistic characterization.

Mags~CVAddikt~ Hi guys!!

I believe there's a simple way to explain the polarized reviews about this book ... the reader should ask him/herself before reading "Am I able to stomach a sociopath sarcastic smartass killer as the main character???" The ones that can (and liked it), gave this book 4-5 stars; the ones that can't, gave it 1-2 stars; and there is the grey area (2-3 stars) where a few readers were indifferent, not impressed or simply recognized Jorg wasn't their cup of tea but still liked the writing/plot/whatever.

I haven't read anything like this before (Abercrombie's The Blade Itself is waiting for me on my kindle ... ahhh I have to stop reading crap and stick with the good books... ) so for me, this kind of POV was new and refreshing (0_0 well ... too much YA can do that to your brain). Jorg's mind is quite interesting.

Ohhh I hated Jorg at first (it took me a month and a half to finish the book) but at 60% of the book things got better, and by 80% I just couldn't put it down. After I finished it, I had to go back and re-read some parts, and saw everything with different eyes, and then I realized ... wait ... no spoilers .... right???

I have to agree with Matic, I too felt a disconnection between what Jorg says and the truth. He was ... in a bubble where everything was black/white, but truth is, the world is full of shades of gray. But there were glimpses, some little moments when his brain was a bit gray, not a complete chessboard.

Jorg is a sociopath/smartass/sick/brat with luck, brains and a dark twisted humor ... I guess that's the beauty of the book, you got all that qualities (yeah ... right!!!) mixed on an ager fueled package that screams havoc and anarchy, and you like it!!!

Carol.  | 252 comments Mags a.k.a CherryVanilla wrote: "Hi guys!!

I believe there's a simple way to explain the polarized reviews about this book ... the reader should ask him/herself before reading "Am I able to stomach a sociopath sarcastic smartass..."

I disagree. As I pointed out, Abercrombie does an excellent job of humanizing very 'sociopathic' characters. I don't feel that was done here. There is nothing "shaded grey" about this book. But i'll save it for the spoiler thread.

message 6: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Matic wrote: "Where did the idea that it might be cliche arise? I've heard it's done so well precisely because it avoids cliches."

I never said it was cliché, I just said I hope it isn't. This whole dark, very violent, magic-less fantasy seems very common of late.

Carol wrote: "But i'll save it for the spoiler thread."

Thanks. From the sounds of it we'll need to get one up soon.

message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Matic wrote: "I don't think you're using the word correctly. A story that is dark, violent, and low on magic can't be a cliche just because of that."

Well I think you could call that a cliché especially as it does relate to specific ideas in a genre. The current trend for this type of fantasy is akin to the growing numbers of paranormal romance and you could certainly call plenty of concepts in those books cliché. I do think you're looking at this wrong though. You seem to be insisting that I am calling the whole book cliché. I'm not. I've not read it yet. I'm saying I hope it isn't full of cliché. That's a big difference.

message 8: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Matic wrote: "'I hope it's not full of cliche' immediately puts in people's mind that you have a reasonable expectation that it might be."

But that's just it, I do have a reasonable expectation it might be because this style of fantasy is so common right now. They all seem to be fairly similar and there's every chance this one will be too.

Brandt I actually dont think PoT was that dark, Jorg relays all the violence so casually that it all just feels perfectly normal.. Kind of like a watching a horror movie on mute, while listening to Bob Marley..
It can be so emotionally exhausting to read dark fantasy, because the theme in general is so depressing and all the characters are feeling so sorry for themselves (or i am at least), the PoT i just cruised right through..

For me it read a lot like an adventure story, fast pace, lots of action, lots of twists, lots of (to-the-point)dialogue, the scenery descriptions were a bit slobby, and there were almost no philosophical, political or moral musings.. So imo a great, if a bit superficial, action/adventure fantasy..

message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Matic wrote: "I get the feeling you didn't vote for or want to read this book. Hopefully it will change your mind, but in my experience things like that rarely happen"

I didn't vote for but I did choose it for the poll and it's been on my TBR list for a while. I'm actually a third of the way through it and enjoying it.

message 11: by Todd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Todd | 6 comments I was quite pleased with Prince of Thorns, I would considering it a four or four 1/2 stars. But in the end I reviewed it with a five.

After reading some one-star reviews I became a little irritated by these reviewers dragging down the scores.

I get it, everyone has the right to their opinion and the ability to rate or review the book. But many of them didn't even finish the book.

I realize that people would like to relate to the protagonist and that people were upset by 'rape' scenes. Which were both vague and short.

In the end I was quite impressed with the quality of writing which is often missing in the fantasy genre. But at the same time I did feel the plot didn't progress and I had a nagging feeling that not enough happened.

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 110 comments Matic wrote: "I keep seeing people calling the book like Abercrombie but on Twitter Lawrence makes it clear he'd never even heard of Abercrombie until after the book came out."

This kind of thing happens all the time people see correlations and think that one book was influenced by another even though the author didn't read the other one. Nothing that can be done about a creative person, I do find it interesting how independent ideas can germinate. I guess it has something to do with humans ability to "categorize" and organize things...especially in the information age where we are all drinking from fire hoses.

message 13: by Todd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Todd | 6 comments Or maybe there is something to be said about Collective unconsciousness.

message 14: by Jon (last edited Sep 03, 2012 07:31AM) (new) - added it

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I read this one a year ago for a difference book club here at GoodReads. Looking forward to reading the next book.

message 15: by Tim (new)

Tim | 1 comments I read the first chapter and decided it wasn't for me. I don't feel like spending 10-15 hours worth of reading and hating the main character the entire time. Even if it didn't stay that way I'm going with my first impression and moving on. Way too many great books out there to tough it out on something that makes you angry reading....

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 110 comments @Tim - I think in your case this was the right decision, Jorg doesn't get more likable as the book progresses. I enjoyed the book, but it's not for everyone.

message 17: by Bev (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bev (Greenginger) Hi I wanted to read this book and was glad it was voted in. I have read it and to be honest it has its good points and its bad points.
I will start with the bad. The writing, sorry but it was too focused on the main character being bad and didnt have enough detail about everything else. Also as mentioned above it is too much of the fashionable type of fantasy. Plus the story didnt travel far enough or fast enough.
Good points were that it had a little bit of promise and maybe the next book gets better. The combination of fantasy world with possible future world was done smoothly.
This book is not the best but it is not the worst that is currently out there.

message 18: by David Sven (last edited Sep 18, 2012 08:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Sven (Gorro) | 65 comments Up to about 20% in I just couldn't connect with the character's or the story. The rape joke at the beginning didn't help. It was tasteless. Yes, you expect rape references in any gritty novel. We are supposed to be shocked by it, or nod at the realism, but we aren't supposed to think its funny. I'm not sure if it was intended as a joke, but that's how it came off. Its very brief and you are either going to be able to get past it or not.

The motives of the main character seemed rather vague and shallow and arbitrary in the beginning. But Prince Jorg does expand and gain depth as the book goes on.
Also, the plot in the beginning was a little clunky. By that I mean the plot elements were great, but the transitions between various scenes was at times too abrupt. For example, the Lich Road scene was fantastic, but it just started and ended so quick I was like, "wait, wait, wait, come back, what just happened there?" But at about 30% in the story started really flowing for me and I'm really enjoying it and the humour(apart from the beginning) is fantastic - 60% in and hooked.

I really like the character bios at the end of the chapters. Nice touch and pretty funny.

Brendan (brendanchandler) | 4 comments First off, I really enjoyed these books. I think that they have a pretty original spin and do the genre justice. Parts of it were a bit disturbing, but i found myself laughing out loud at many antics and things that the characters said. Its dark humor for sure but sometimes that is the best kind.
Now, without starting a war of the sexes, I have noticed that the majority of the people who did not like the book are female, which makes a lot of sense to me. Yes, the rape thing came across a bit rough and i understand why that doesn't sit well with people, especially women. But the book is so much more than that, you can't judge it by one thoughtless comment from the mind of a disturbed young character. This is Jorg uncut so to speak and he has had a rough time.
The real reason I think this is primarily a book for men is the flow of Jorg's reasoning. I think that a lot of other guys feel the same way. He has you questioning: is what I am doing right or wrong and why? Just when you think he is beyond hope, it seems like he throws a line to his humanity and comes through before his character is beyond redemption, but the way his mind works is definitely a linear male way of reasoning that i think is hard for a lot of women to relate too (not that i claim to understand a damn thing about women, just about how my own sex thinks thank you very much).
The books also reflect Jorg himself; in the first one he is, to be frank, young, dumb, and full of you know what. His actions reflect this, but in the second book he is maturing. Even if he doesn't admit it, he is a better person (notice i don't say good) in the second book. He is starting to care about things, at least to some extent. I think the third book will reveal that Jorg is a deeper character than many people gave him credit for. So if you think the books are too raw, don't read them, but don't just throw the "shallow shock value" label at them.

message 20: by Bev (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bev (Greenginger) Brendan wrote: "First off, I really enjoyed these books. I think that they have a pretty original spin and do the genre justice. Parts of it were a bit disturbing, but i found myself laughing out loud at many an..."

Ah but Brendan I think that is what the author was going for - shallow shock value. Because with out it nobody would care too much what Jorg got up to. Plus I think you are wrong about the male/female idea.
To my mind that is insulting to all men. I think it is more a matter of morality.

Brendan (brendanchandler) | 4 comments Bev wrote: "To my mind that is insulting to all men. I think it is more a matter of morality. "

Thanks for the feedback, that is exactly what i was going for is discussion, not agreement. I am curious though, how do you feel that what i said is insulting to men?

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