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Book Review: The Prince of Thorns

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“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.

From being 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 has the ability to master the living and the 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.”

Title: The Prince of Thorns

Series: The Broken Empire #1

Author: Mark Lawrence

Page Count: 373

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: November 13th, 2022

I picked this series up last year with all intention of getting to it quicker than I did. My first exposure to Mark Lawrence was actually his Impossible Times series which I really enjoyed. I then picked up this series and the Book of the Ancestor as well. Unfortunately, I seemed to have gotten to this one last. But I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. As with some of my other reads and reviews this month I finally worked this one in as my final step/prompt for the Readathon I’m taking part in.

The only real thing I knew going into this one was that Jorg was not our usual protagonist which is exactly what I needed for my prompt. Jorg certainly was rather abrasive and annoying to me at first but compared to others around him I found myself hoping for the best with him!

We had plenty of character struggle, politics and action in this story. I especially enjoyed seeing how Jorg emerged as a leader along the way. There were constantly trust issues within the world around him in both directions with and without Jorg. It kept things very interesting for me along the way.

Pacing was done well. This was an easy read that just seemed to flow from page to page. It wasn’t a very long read either. We do have plenty of action but also several aspects of political intrigue as well when Jorg tries to navigate the higher aspects of society as well as the lower dredges where he really seems to shine.

That brings us to the character development. Obviously, we get to learn a lot about Jorg and those around him. Discovering his family (by blood) as well as some of his closest companions which to be honest is what truly made this story enjoyable for me.

The world building was solid. We didn’t learn a lot about the overall world the story takes place but enough of the geography around us to understand where things are taking place. But I think we learn even more about the psychological world that Mark Lawrence has put together with this first book in the series. I am eluding to the various character development here a bit. How the characters interact with each other and why they are acting that way. Yes that is character development but it truly expands the world in more depth as well.

As I mentioned I do own books two and three in this series and plan to continue on with them over the next couple of months.

I’d recommend this to reading fans of a darker fantasy especially if they’d like to see a bit more of a villainous protagonist to follow along with. As I previously mentioned these books are shorter reads so they could be used a a break from more epic stories if you only had time for something shorter to fill a gap.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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