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King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

King of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Broken Empire (2)

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7792817,323 (4.1)14



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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This review and others posted over at my blog.

If it’s not already apparent, this is the sequel to Prince of Thorns. Amidst the main storyline, once more we have flashbacks from Jorg, so the story is also about what took place after he begins ruling his uncle’s lands and before the battle he finds himself fighting four years later. This is a solid sequel, but the timeline did trip me up a bit in this one. On top of the two periods of Jorg’s life, there are also diary entries from Katherine that span a good part of the four years of Jorg’s flashbacks.

This addition to the series didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. There’s Jorg at 18, having been ruler of his uncle’s lands and now facing the army of the Prince of Arrow, who has plans to become emperor. There’s 14 (going on 15) year-old Jorg who has basically just taken over his uncle’s lands but has set off on a quest to try to help some of his Brothers. There are diary entries from Katherine spanning the time from when Jorg left his father’s castle to about the time that Arrow is coming up on Jorg’s lands. And lastly, there are the little character snippets between certain chapters, giving a bit more insight into the personalities of the remaining Brothers.

Needless to say, it was a lot to keep track of.

I did struggle with the two Jorg timelines, because something about them felt similar, despite two different events occurring. Maybe it’s because Arrow is featured in both? I’m not sure. But at one point I read a whole chapter thinking it was about 18-year-old Jorg and I was very confused. When the next chapter started, I realized I’d been reading about 14-year-old Jorg and everything made sense again.

Confusion about the timeline aside, I once again found myself desperately addicted to this book about an arrogant, violent, idiot kid who I dislike. Jorg certainly shows a good amount of growth in maturity in this installment, but I still dislike him. I don’t think I’ll ever like him. And that’s ok because his story is compelling as hell. Whenever I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about how much I wanted to go back to reading this book.

I maintain that Lawrence has written some of the most easily readable fantasy I’ve ever encountered. It’s still not blowing me away in terms of characters or even plot, but I love this series. It’s immersive, the world is crazy intriguing (I’m still trying to figure it out!) and it’s action-packed! There is a pretty gruesome scene involving a dog that I very much disliked and had a hard time getting through. Violence against animals, man, it gets me every damn time. A bit of a warning if you’re extra sensitive about that sort of thing – you may want to skim a page or two.

I liked the snippets of Katherine’s journals and wish there had been more. I was especially interested in her story arc and development. I would also like to know more about the players of this game they keep mentioning – powers that be who are trying to control who will gain the throne of the emperor, I’m guessing. They have cool names like the Silent Sister, The Blue Lady, Luntar and Corion (Coriol? Crap, I forget.

The ending was a bit similar to the first book, plot-wise, as it was another against-impossible-odds battle. But I’m thinking that’s Jorg’s specialty. I liked the little twist at the climax though. Clever! Well, to me anyway – perhaps some might find it obvious.

Anyway, I can’t wait to read on and see how it all comes together – and then dive into the sister series set in the same world! I need to know more about how all this shit came to be! If you liked the first book, I think it’s a safe bet to say you’ll enjoy the second. If you’ve read this far into my review for the second book of a series in which you haven’t read the first, I’m not sure what you’re doing – you should probably go read Prince of Thorns now so you can start on King of Thorns right after. ( )
  MillieHennessy | May 13, 2018 |
As with the previous installment, this book is full of reprehensible actions, violence, blood, and strange phenomenon.
Jorg, now King, recounts how he settled into life as a monarchy, the years leading to the current place we find him, battling invaders of his stolen land.
Lawrence once again employees the first-person narrative, divided between the present and the past. It could be confusing, but Lawrence uses a deft hand in weaving the narrative, building the past and present into one final conflict. And giving the reader a few twists and turns and at least one “Oh, didn’t see that coming” moment.
It still has the trademark GrimDark quality – people die - badly, violently, painfully. Jorg is still selfish, still cruel, still using people for his own ends. And yet, you find yourself hoping he succeeds.
As this is a post-apocalyptic future of our own work, I often wondered how Lawrence would explain the magic that clearly exists. In this book, he does, a little, and in a way that makes sense to me. It’s almost believable.
Worth reading if you enjoy dark and violent stories with intriguing plots. ( )
  empress8411 | May 9, 2018 |
I am not rating this book for the simple reason of not finishing it. I like Grimdark a lot but for whatever reason this book did not connect with. I struggled with the first one and reluctantly picked this one up. I don't have to like your characters but you have to give me a reason to keep reading. I couldn't find any and decided to move on. I won't punish the book with a bad rating because I think the author can write. it just wasn't for me.
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
It was an okay read. I haven't been impressed as much as other people below me on the offensive content. I guess I must be some sort of madman to enjoy this book, but it kinda helps to know there's someone willing to cross the threshold of correctness in a fantasy title. It's quite a refreshing experience from the humdrum fantasy cliches, but still doesn't fail to fall into a couple of them especially towards the end, and regarding the cast, well, I can't say they're not exactly lacking something.
In my opinion, the ones who would benefit the most from this book are those familiar with the "Berserk" manga. If you wish Guts hadn't turned soft all of a sudden in the middle of his revenge journey, this read is definitely up your alley. ( )
  0bluda | Mar 4, 2018 |
This book is, in almost every way, better than the first. The world-building and how magic can exist when these books take place in a post-apocalyptic future is more thoroughly explained. Jorg's personality and decisions are called into question. Were they really his own? Or was he guided by others for most of his life? Is he really the reprehensible man we all know because of who he is, or because he was molded that way? Ultimately we don't know. It's up to the reader to believe how much of Jorg is "nature vs. nurture" if you will.

The writing was beautiful, the small glimpses into the history of the world are great, and Jorg is as always an entertaining badass who takes no shit from anyone, only now he actually has grown up a bit. Enough to know regret, and enough to understand loss and remorse. Even if they're only small doses compared to a well-adjusted human being, they are definitely a sign of growth and change.

Katherine appears in the story mostly through first-person diary entries, which are actually quite good. I found myself liking her character quite a lot.

Other than that, don't know what to say. Read my review of the first book. It's mostly more of the same, while adding to Jorg and Katherine's respective depth as characters.

And I said it when I read the first book and I'll say it again. These remind me so much of The Book of the New Sun tetralogy but far more entertaining and accessible. If you tried reading those and like them in theory but have had trouble getting into them, I would highly recommend this series. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
In genre reading I tend to look first to story or character, pushing aside the need for beautiful prose and clever structures. I want to be transported to another world, to experience the impossible. King of Thorns does this, but it also does so much more,

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Lawrenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chan, JasonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clamp, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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After finding ancient, magical artifacts hidden in a chamber beneath the castle, King Jorg plots to use them against the twenty thousand members of the enemy's approaching army.

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