The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition. To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them. A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg's gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds.
Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king. Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.
©2012 Mark Lawrence (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
reads for fun
This second instalment of the Broken Empire trilogy is as entertaining as the first but as Jorg has grown up he has mellowed somewhat. (of course everything is relative, Jorg being mellow still means his heart and soul remains as black as pitch).
Mark Lawrence has become a favourite author of mine and his excellent story has been well interpreted by Joe Jameson.
I note that the third instalment of the trilogy is not being published until August 2013. Lets hope that Audible are able to secure Joe Jameson's services to narrate the upcoming instalment so we don't have to wait too long for the next instalment of this great trilogy.
This really builds on the first as the characters develop and our anti-hero starts to show his human side.
There are a few challenging and dark sections that I won't spoil here... but I appreciated the lighter lifts!
The performance was exceptional
The dark light.
I can't believe audible has only x2 parts of a trilogy available. Not really good enough!!!
""He said", "she said" - ad nauseum"
Yes! - the constant "he said", "she said" every time any character utters a word. More than any other book I've listened to, this is really intrusive and annoying, especially since the narrator is so good with the different voices he uses that there is really no need for the endless use of "he said". I wish the audio producers would pay more attention to the specific requirements of their publishing medium - it really does come close to ruining an otherwise excellent production.
Thoroughly engaging and inventive story - medieval neo-noir hybrid?
Excellent voice modulation and intonation - a pleasure to listen to his interpretation.
The ex-footballer Roy Keane would make an excellent Prince - a highly intelligent, borderline psychopath.
The writing itself is a step above the usual fantasy fare where the expression tends to be weak, it really is a well-written book, I just wish the translation to audio book had been carried out more smoothly!
"Better than the first in my opinion"
I am glad I stuck with this trilogy, as this book was probably one of my favourite listens of 2013 so far
Story – 4.5/5
King of Thorns is a vast improvement on the first in my opinion; growing and maturing the main character Yorg into someone who is more believable. He still has a good portion of ruthless and inhuman personality so he still holds true to the anti-hero element of the trilogy.
Running throughout the book are multiple time frames, similar to the first book. It really stands out in this one though, as the main timeframe arc is a big, impossible to win, battle. There are plenty of unexpected turns in this battle though, and all of the background on the lead up to this battle and the characters is given in the intertwined back flash chapters.
Where this story really blew me away though was in the final few chapters, which every good book should do. If you like epic battles and war strategy like I do, this one will not disappoint. I can’t wait for the concluding novel.
One of the small drawbacks of the book was that some knowledge/actions were very convenient. If ever I think this throughout a novel, I can’t help but wonder if it is down to poor planning/writing on the author’s part. Not that it deterred my enjoyment though, just one of the only things stopping it getting 5/5
Performance – 4.5/5
Joe Jameson was also a big improvement in this novel. His young, high sounding voice suited the narration in the mind of Yorg nicely again, and he did a good job distinguishing all of the characters in his acting. Where he improved was upon his scene setting. If Yorg was in a sticky situation, you felt concerned for him, as if he was actually in danger, unlike with the first book.
Overall – 4.5/5
Apologies for the star ratings not matching the written review, I am forced to round halves on Audible.
"Excellent world, rest getting even worse"
The main character is, admittedly, no longer aggravatingly annoying and sad at the same time (cf. my review of Prince of Thorns), so the book was a lot easier to get through. It continues the investigation of the world I find absolutely fascinating, which is why I continue to rate it this highly. On the other hand, though, while the character is less awful, the story and pacing have really gone rather downhill.
Where the first book tried to present a coherent story with the right mood, escalation and resolution (that I just didn't care about), the tension the start of this book builds up gets resolved about halfway through. The story then tries to claim it was building up to something else all along, but really just limps along until the end.
With this book as much as its predecessor, my recommendation stands: read it only if you're curious about the world. The rest is really not worth your time.
"Excellent this series just gets better"
This has had me gripped from the start I usually just listen to audio books in my works van but have found myself at home with my earphones in at every opportunity, looking forward to book three tomorrow.
"Enjoyable in small doses"
It was a while ago since I read the first book in the series. I needed a break after the unrelenting grimness and violence of that one. I was expecting that style to continue and it does. I do wonder if Mark Lawrence can write 'happy' words. I know it's grimdark but I do find the unrelenting grimness with no humour or light moments very tiring, but If that floats your boat, I'm sure you'll love this book.
That all said it's a well written book, I enjoyed the overall story and characters.
This book is again well read by Joe Jameson. I can't fault his reading and voices.
"Awesome follow up to prince of thorns"
This was gripping and an excellent performance. I really enjoyed the book and can't wait to listen to the next one.
The PoT showed Jorg to be violent and crude, but the KoT shows how he grows and matures into a leader, maybe still violent and crude but more a character you can believe in, and surprisingly likeable. Also the KoT has a strange twist to the classic fantasy angle of prophecy - one that you can bend to suit your needs. Overall an enjoyable listen, leaving you anticipating the final instalment!
"Not quite as good as the last"
Jorg has grown up and realised he needs to temper his actions if he wants the throne, we learn more about the people ruling from the shadows, and Jorg does things no one expects that gets him results. As I said in the title not quite as amazing as the last, Jorg is becoming more of a well rounded character but this detracts slightly in some ways, but I look forward avidly to the next book
"Unique character, excellent narration"
Fell in love with this series on the strength of Joe Jameson. Thought I'd hate his narration, but he's perfect for this.
Jorg is a strangely endearing character - FitzChivalry with chutzpah.
"Ideal; excellent story and narrator"
This is an excellent combination of a good story and the correct narrator. The writing lends itself well to audio, it's not long winded but sharp and well observed.
The main character is the driving force of the book, dark, damaged, clever and driven by the past. This book jumps in time from past to present to cleverly explain the strategies Jorg uses in his battle to gain supremacy in the game of 100 kingdoms.
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