Hailed as "epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale, but on speed" (Fixed on Fantasy), the Broken Empire trilogy introduced a bold new world of dark fantasy with the story of Jorg Ancrath' s devastating rise to power. Now, Mark Lawrence returns to the Broken Empire with the tale of a less ambitious prince.
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister - unseen by most and unspoken of by all.
The Red Queen's grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth - drinker, gambler, seducer of women - is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it' s all a rumor - nothing that will affect him - but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: He and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war - and the Red Queen controls the board.
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This book has many things to like about it and some not to like, which might very well be appropriate since the story revolves around the combination of opposites. There are two main characters in this one - Prince Jalan Kendeth, a womanizer and self proclaimed coward, and Snorri, a Viking warrior out for revenge against those who attacked his homeland. One strong and the other weak, they form an odd couple dynamic as fate thrusts them together and sends them out on a suicide mission.
As in the Broken Empire series, Mark Lawrence starts by presenting us with an anti-hero in Jalan. Jalan is infinitely more likeable than Jorg but I still never found myself getting behind the "coward that gets lucky and is considered a hero" storyline. Snorri on the other hand was a likeable character and carried the day for me. I wound up liking the book and looking forward to the next one simply because of Snorri and his overall quest for revenge.
Since this is the same world as Broken Empire there remains a bigger game being played here by powerful background figures and our two main characters are just pawns in that larger game. Jalan and Snorri are manipulated by a spell cast by the Silent Sister and find that in order to remove the spell they must carry out its purpose. The Silent Sister being one of those powerful beings manipulating the world from within the shadows with her true motivations unknown.
Despite the Broken Empire tie-ins it is not necessary to have read that series first as this stands alone nicely. This is not as dark as Broken Empire and the lead character is a more likable anti-hero so this series will likely appeal to more listeners.
Tim Gerard Reynolds is as good as they get when it comes to narrators and he is excellent as usual. This book is worth picking up simply for his performance.
Sneak past the dragon and slay the princess!
Refreshing. An understatement.
Prince Jalan and the viking Snorri, unlikely companions, become entangled through sorcery. In their quest to rid themselves of one another, a remarkable thing happens. A friendship blossoms. Oh, and there's also a great fantasy plot to boot.
Not quite as "grim-dark" as "Prince of Thorns", "Prince of Fools" was still edgy and perhaps more humorous than its predecessor - at least that was my take. Both series are redirecting the genre into less explored regions. To say they are "refreshing" is an understatement.
Buy these audiobooks! The narrations are superb and even if they aren't your cup of tea, they will leave a lasting impression.
Jalan, of course. Though Snorri was quite fantastic as well.
I laughed a lot. Our anti-hero is not as dark as the Prince of Thorns, though he still has his edges.
Wow! Awesome! Well done Mark Lawrence! You did it again!
Jalan. Jorg. Both stand firm in their own characters. One a coward the other callous. Both heroes? Or something else.
In the Prince of Thorn's (POT) series, readers (whether you liked the book or not) were fascinated by a protagonist that most people did not really feel ok about liking. The character drove that book and the same happens in this book, but with an exception. The characteristics of this protagonist drives this book, but the writer did not try to make him another POT, but rather created a totally different personality that made me laugh many times throughout the book. I actually liked this book better than the POT.
One of the most entertaining novels I've experienced in a very long time. The protagonist, Prince Jalan, is everything a reader would hope for in a cad. He's a coward, liar, womanizer, drinker and seemingly a fool. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to be thrust into quest with a Viking that is his polar opposite and is unable to weasel his way out of it. While there are a number of dark moments, some of them sadly poignant, I couldn't help chuckling at Jalan's reaction to anything that would require him to take responsibility or, gods forbid, place himself in danger.
Excellent writing by Mark Lawrence and superb narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
It caught me from the first with it's sense of humor, and kept me going with a delicious lead character and his un-looked-for side-kick. I wish there were more in this series.
Flashman, very tongue-in-cheek, clever, witty, with a strong plot and interesting settings.
There were too many to single one out.
Yes, and I did listen very quickly, and wished there was a volume II.
Very unlike his Prince of Thorns.
Engaging Entertaining Enthralling
Prince Jalan. Never has a shallow, self involved, character been so entertaining! Of course, if Prince Jalan had never escaped his limited existence - as he was first revealed to us, I would have probably found him tedious.
The central character Prince Jalan. Tim Gerard Reynold's performance conveyed the nuances of this well written individual, to praise worthy heights; he breathed life into Prince Jalan, & the rest of the book, that I think would only have been matched by my vivid imagination feeding directly from the words themselves.
I think the book as a whole is very well written - the story is of a level where no one point stands out, leaving the rest to have been "lacking". Wherever I was up to, I was engaged; neither wanting to go back or impatient to rush ahead.
Like waking from a vivid dream; remembering the details, is almost secondary, to the tantalising feelings you are left with, as the images dissipate.
An excellent audiobook, which I will happily listen to again! I am definitely investing in the other books by this author - Mark Lawrence, & investigating other books narrated by Tim Gerrard Reynolds.
So now that we have established that Jorg Ancraft is gone for good... except for a very funny scene where we glimpse him and his BROTHERS briefly (Red Kent appearance is especially funny).
Prince of Fools is as far removed (excepting for the World) from Thorns as day is from night. And that is a good thing. Trying to redo Jorg in a new character (one of my all time favorites) would be like Tolkien trying to redo Frodo.
Jalan is everything Jorg is not. Jalan is a coward, and a self aware coward. He is a play boy and admittedly loves it. He is maneuvered (I assume it was on purpose but who knows the ways of the Blind Sister) into a quest with his counterpart Snorri- a giant of a Viking who is everything Jalon is not. The book is riveting but in differing ways than the Thorns Series was. The real question is "how in the hell will a wimp like Jalon survive the quest" and a related "How can a coward like Jalon not be offed by a man like Snori?"
Everything else, in my view, serves these two questions. And the answers That Lawrence gives are funny, interesting and wild. When I say funny, the author has accomplished something that no one else has done. Making me LAUGH ALOUD whilst listening. Imagine being on an elliptical workout machine next to guy working out and sweating, listening to his iPhone (thanks audible!) and then having that guy burst out into laughter. That would be me laughing at Jalon saying to the dwarf in the circus who says to Jalon (referring to Snori) "No need to apply we already have a strong man. And Jalon quips "There you go hurting Sally's feelings- she is a bearded man- got one of those/"
THis happened at least three times whilst listening- about the same number of laughs per book in the Thorns series.
Bravo Mark. Well done.
Narration is especially good. Plotting outstanding- alas it has to stand in contrast to Thorns (poor Mark for having his first series do DAMNED GOOD) so it suffers only in comparison to Thorns. Which is like saying Lincoln suffers in comparison to Washington to my Yank friends!
I am a lover of fantasy novels with exciting action, complex plots, and unforgettable characters.
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence is a very interesting and exciting read. Unfortunately, I read the Broken Empire trilogy before i read this book. The problem is that The broken Empire trilogy is in my opinion one of the best fantasy series I have ever read. This book is very good and is by all means worth reading. It contains Lawrence's usual deep and well thought out characters and his magnificent story telling abilities. The simple problem is it is very difficult to make another character as good as Jorg from the previous trilogy. I really like the new main character Jalin, but he just doesn't fascinate and horrify you at the same time like Jorg did. Despite this problem the overall story was interesting and enjoyable to read. The narrator in my opinion did a fairly good job with the story, although all the vikings seemed to sound the same to me. As a whole, i liked the story very much and fully intend to buy the next book, but don't be too disappointed if it isn't as good as Prince of Thorns. i give it 4 of 5 stars.
After reading this book, I would say it is well written. And I'm happy that a book like this exists in the world. It has good world building, and is pretty funny. The main character is hilariously scared of everything, and tries to wiggle his way out of any sort of commitment. The secondary characters (especially the Queen) intrigued me, and I'd like to know more.
But the story itself is depressing. I just give fair warning, and I 100% acknowledge that it's just not my cup of tea. I'll give you an example
What I wanted: Blood Song
What I got: The Blade Itself
Good story with some laugh out loud moments. The author avoids the usual cliches and writes a thoroughly enjoyable book.
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