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Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
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Prince of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Broken Empire (1)

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1,793695,734 (3.75)50
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English (65)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Albanian (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
This review and others posted over at my blog.

Yo, this book was really good. Real talk, I bought it last July and left it on my shelves to collect dust (“Like you do to all of us!” my books moan at me) until Mark Lawrence commented on the IG picture I posted when I hauled it. I immediately felt guilty and added it to my April TBR and I’m so glad I did.

I really love the band of bandit brothers trope (say that five times fast) and this book hit the spot. What’s more fun than a hoard of grimy, bloodthirsty men marauding through towns, burning and pillaging? Well, a hoard of grimy, bloodthirsty men marauding through towns, burning and pillaging and led by a deranged teenage boy!

After witnessing the murder of his mother and brother while trapped in a particularly vicious thorn bush, Jorg was never the same. Really, who would be? His father fails to avenge the murders and Jorg is plagued by the poison from the thorns. When a chance to escape his home arises, Jorg seizes it and never looks back. Through the occasional flashback, Jorg’s escape and climb to the top of the gang is revealed.

I’m not entirely convinced a group of grown men would follow a thirteen-year-old boy, no matter how bloodthirsty and brutal he is. But, Jorg doesn’t feel thirteen, so maybe that’s part of it. I realize his circumstances would have caused him to mature faster (and there’s the argument that children in ye olden tymes were more mature than those of today’s world), but I still think he should have been a touch more…vulnerable. Or something. He felt sixteen or seventeen. Not a huge difference, but it was something that niggled at me. Oh, also he’s apparently six feet tall?! Wild.

Despite my hang-ups about Jorg’s age, he had a compelling narrative. He’s a complete asshole and totally unlikable, but his journey was entertaining and I enjoyed the little snippets about his fellow bandits. Jorg is headstrong and cocky and not the best at making decisions, but I never wanted to stop reading.

I also have to call Lawrence out for using a version of the most clichéd line ever: “I let go of a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been keeping.” I laughed when I read it.

More compelling than Jorg’s murderous path back to his father’s castle was the world itself. There’s a map, which I looked at approximately twice. From what I understand, the Broken Empire is splintered into like 100 little factions or something. Each family feels they’re entitled to the throne and there’s a lot of fighting and alliances. Also, there’s a lady pope!

More interesting than that though, is that there’s magic AND high technology that is apparently left over from a nuclear blast or something that destroyed the previous way of life. So it’s like medieval times that resulted after some sort of apocalyptic event in “our times” PLUS magic! Those are hard ingredients to blend, but Lawrence pulls it off with subtle clues along the way. Jorg isn’t riding around on a motorcycle or hovercar or anything. There’s only a hint of some advanced tech that left me very curious.

There are mages (one in particular who is all tattooed and seemed to be tracing them to cast spells) and necromancers and strange monster-like people who live hidden in caves and also have powers that maybe resulted from a chemical leak. There are also mentions of Plato, Nietzsche and Shakespeare, leading me to believe that Jorg’s world is a sort of continuation of the world we live in now.

I flew through this in two sittings – it’s very readable. It’s got the depth of detail and world-building I expect in my fantasy, without being heavy. If you like unlikable narrators, murderous bandits, pillaging and plundering, magic, genre mixing, fractured kingdoms and brotherhood, I think you’ll enjoy Prince of Thorns. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequels! ( )
  MillieHennessy | May 9, 2018 |
Recommend to me by several people when I asked about Grimdark books, I found Lawrence's novel compelling, bloody, and dark, indeed. Our narrator, Jorg, is unreliable, his mind and body twisted by dark deeds forced upon his hidden dark soul. I greatly appreciated his cunning, clever, ruthless mind, and his dedication to his goals.
It took me several chapters to realize the world is a post-apocalyptic earth, somewhere in Europe. Scant remnants of the world before the Day of a Thousand Suns remain but have direct impact on the life of the characters. But there is also magic, dark and deadly. I’m intrigue to know how magic factors in the nature of the world, whether it is truly Magic or some form of Science called magic.
Even with compelling characters, it took me a few chapters to get into the story. Perhaps it was my mood or frame of mind when I picked up the book, but I almost put it down after the first chapter. I’m glad I didn’t. The plot picks up quickly and soon became addicting
I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys anti-heroes, heroes with no morals, all good deeds being punished, ruthless actions perpetrated by even more ruthless men, and world-building extraordinaire. I’m eager to read the remaining two books. ( )
  empress8411 | Feb 27, 2018 |
While overall this was a good book and I would like to continue reading the series. There were times that I was confused as to what just happened and felt the story line was herky-jerky. But there was enough good parts to out weigh the bad. ( )
  Schneider | Jan 31, 2018 |
Well people were right when they said that the main character is an anti-hero. Overall the book isn't too brutal, at least not American Psycho brutal, but Jorg (the MC) is pretty much a rapist and murderer... so get used to that...

I got over that somewhat, but him being either 9 or 14 throughout the book didn't settle well with me. Especially since he's such a smug bitch all the time, that makes the worst decisions and gets away with them. By GOT standards he should've at least lost a hand and an eye.

Also there are a bunch of weird references in the book, where I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. "Say what again.." from Pulp Fiction for example. Or even calling it "the Game of Thrones" at the end. And also Jorgy having read Nietzsche and so on.. so I guess this book plays in a post-apocalyptic world, where people resorted back to building castles and fighting with swords?!

I gotta say this book is not at all the "high fantasy" book I was expecting.

But the actual reason I'm not going to read on is pretty much Katherine. She's already such a shitty character and I'm pretty sure it's only going to get worse. I'm not even a staunch supporter of the whole strong female character idea, because I just want to have realistic female characters, but I can already see that she will annoy me to no in end in the next few books. She will just be there as a love interest and to give the main character a "weakness".

Just NOPE. ( )
1 vote newcastlee | Dec 30, 2017 |
There are anti-heroes and then there is Prince Jorg.
I really struggled with this character at the beginning. You want there to be some redeemable qualities in your protagonists, and this kid was just, brutal and deadly, and evil. Admittedly I started this book years ago, and after the first chapter I set it aside. It left a foul taste in my mouth. However, after encouragement from a friend, I picked it up again.
As brutal as the book and Jorg is, as the story unfolds, and the story gets more and more in depth, I found myself coming over to his side. I found myself maybe not liking him, but certainly rooting for him. I also really loved how in the end you are left wondering, the same as the character is wondering, how much of his evil and ruthlessness is who he is, and how much is from outside influences.
Lawrence has created a complex and engaging larger story here, that is hidden behind a bloody and relentless facade. He is a great writer, with some powerful characterization and world building.
I had a rough time with some aspects of the book that left me feeling uncomfortable. Jorg's age bothered me in scenes that involved him in sexual situations. And I really hated the references to Shakespeare and Socrates, and other philosophers from our real world. Every time they were mentioned it took me completely out of the story, and I had to re-adjust to get back in. Perhaps there is a bigger story behind that. Perhaps this whole series is set in our world, and that will be unveiled later, I have no idea. However, I do know, it was a huge distraction for me, and one that brought the novel down.
Overall, however, this was a strong start to a series. Jorg is one of the most unique protagonists out there, and the story Lawrence is weaving is certainly worth a read to any fantasy fan.
Best Quote of the entire book was: "It's what I am, and if you want excuses, come and take them." It pretty much summarizes Jorg's character to a T. ( )
  Kiddboyblue | Nov 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Prince of Thorns is without a doubt the most original and most memorable fantasy debut of 2011. It's difficult to imagine how another book could top this one
added by mark32 | editRisingShadow.net, Sami Airola (Feb 27, 2011)
 
"This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut"

added by mark32 | editRobert V.S Redick
 
"Dark and relentless, the Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two in the morning page turner."
added by mark32 | editRobin Hobb
 
The Prince of Thorns is an apt title for young Jorg - as a character he is not heroic at all. He is twisted and violent, calculating and merciless. Yet I couldn't stop reading - regardless how many times Lawrence's brilliant descriptions made me wince and clasp my hand to my mouth in disbelief. It was freaking awesome!
 
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is the best fantasy read I’ve had since Alan Campbell’s Scar Night. It got hold of me from page one and didn’t let go...
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Lawrenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chan, JasonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clamp, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
"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."

Once 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's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or 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. The thorns taught him a lesson in blood...Copyright 2010, Mark Lawrence, All Rights Reserved.The Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging.

Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
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When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of 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 was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch 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, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?… (more)

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