You Review: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Reviewed by Gabriëlle Linger

Disturbing and awesome is how I would describe Mark Lawrence’s debut novel Prince of Thorns.

Starting with the disturbing part, Prince of Thorns tells the story of 14-year old ‘Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath’, more simply known as Jorg. He is evil. Evil not in a rebellious misbehaving teenager way, but in a ‘the amount of blood this kid has on his hands is staggering’ kind of way. Jorg lives on the road with a band of mercenaries of which he is the leader. It is testament to his sheer brutality, and perhaps genius, that these terrible men would follow the lead of this child.

Jorg is also heir to the throne of Ancrath, one of the hundred kingdoms of the broken empire, currently ruled by his less than honorable father. Jorg left Ancrath at the age of 10 on a quest for vengeance, and the book switches back and forth between the present and four years earlier. Through glimpses of the past, we learn how Jorg met his “brothers” as well as how certain events and choices made turned him into who he is.

The book has been marketed as Britain’s answer to George R.R. Martin, but the story is nothing at all like it. It lacks the scope of A Song of Ice and Fire and follows the perspective of only one character. It might not be similar; it is, however, very good fantasy. I enjoyed following Jorg, learning about who is he and who he might become. I enjoyed learning more about his mercenary brothers, and the things they go through had me on the edge of my proverbial seat. There is also quite a bit of magic in this world, but much like Jorg it is of the dark and disturbing kind.

Initially the story seems to take place in a medieval fantasy world, but it doesn’t. One of the things I enjoyed tremendously were the little glimpses into what the broken empire used to be. I had a few laugh-out-loud moments there.

The book does have a few flaws, mainly near the end of the book I had to suspend disbelief once or twice as a few convenient fantasy clichés made their appearance. Even so I loved it and I would recommend this book to all fantasy lovers. It’s a good one, and I can’t wait to read what comes next.

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