Review of ~ Mark Lawrence – Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)


Introduction to the Prince of Thorns – Prince Jorg. Mark Lawrence’s creation of a charismatic, intellectual evil being that is arguably on par with Anthony Burgess’s Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange. Unlike American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman and other fictional psychopaths – we are presented reasons to sympathise with our pal Jorg as an event when he was 10 shocked his very soul and led to his stupidly cool nickname (see the book title) 🙂

This book is shown (like many good debut books I have noticed) in two parts. A current day presentation of events – Jorg coming back after 4 years on the road of murdering, pillaging, raping and all manner of naughty things but also what happened four years ago following on from the tragic event up to meeting his gang of your road raggamuffins before his 4 years debauchery/discovery started. Or his gang of ‘droogs’ as brother Alex would have said.

Speaking of his gang. It is a tight-knit bunch. Jorg is heartless the majority of the time but certain people for whatever reason he takes under his wing. His pals include colourful characters such as dark skinned, warrior-esque Nuban, childlike monster Gog, Knight of the Realm – Makin and large beefcake of a brute Rike. You can see he has composed a colourful and interesting gang who follow him completely – as road brothers, but also because of his wit, intelligence and I think they are slightly scared but also in awe of him…. even though at the books finale he is still only a fresh-faced fourteen-year-old. Also, I am not sure if anyone has made this connection before but his gang reminded me a bit of Kaladin and Bridge 4 in Stormlight Archives. Obviously with two very different gang leaders but the camaraderie and even the makeup of the personnel in said gang is very similar. The language in this book is not that difficult. It is a young adult fantasy in the way it is written although the tone of it is very grim and despondent.

I read this first half of the book about 4 months ago and put it down. The reason is that, well – it didn’t seem very fantasy. More historical in a fictional world. The first half of the book is about road battles, court happens and just political conversations. They even follow the same God and study the same philosophers as us here on Earth. I picked this up again today – and literally, as soon as I got past the first half of the book – we are escorted into a pleasant typical fantasy whirlwind featuring necromancers, mages, monsters, dead people etc…

The book is full of great scenes – a nice courtly showdown of Jorg vs a Knight and fighting the dead in an underground tunnel are two of many.

This book does come to a nice conclusion but I can’t wait to see what happens in King of Thorns. I will say, Jorg father seems like a right b*stard and there is always a girl who blinds our heroes vision and thoughts, sigh. It makes good fiction, though.

If you haven’t checked it out please do.

Your friend, James x

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