Author Mark Lawrence has won over audiences everywhere with Prince of Thorns, his exciting debut novel.
Nine-year-old Prince Jorg is forced to watch as his mother and brother are slaughtered. Fleeing the palace, Jorg joins a bloodthirsty band of thugs. But he’s determined to take back what’s rightfully his, so he returns to the castle a few years later - unaware of the dark and powerful magic that awaits.
©2011 Bobalinga, Ltd. (P)2012 Recorded Books
“Vivid … full of wonder. This book is brilliant.” (Galaxy Book Reviews)
No one can tell you whether you are going to like a book or not. When I read the first few pages of this book, I had this sinking feeling that I was really going to have to TRY to like it. The first person narrative felt eccentric and the protagonist felt archetypal and narcissistic.
But it just kind of got under your skin. Not after a few chapters. Right away. It's like when you're watching a TV show and you can't put your finger on why you like a character. Not in the labored foreshadowing-of-redemption kind of way. But because they scratch an itch or make you think.
THEN I whispersynced over to the audiobook and it all just clicked. I've had audiobooks before that were more enjoyable than reading the book, but this was different. This was like the voice actor shed light on the character and made the narrative voice feel 'right.' Suddenly it wasn't a borderline annoying teen with daddy issues - it was Alex from Clockwork Orange, except now he's a sellsword fighting witches, or whatnot. Yeah, I know, it's kind of crude/rude to compare one character to another, so don't go running away with that analogy. That's just how it was perceived by me.
Prince of Thorns is rough and dark and super melodramatic in a medieval film noir kind of way. I can understand why some people don't like it. But I also kind of think it's bound to have a cult following. I'm still not sure whether the book is truly good or not, but putting it down is hard and I think about it all the time, like a disturbing dream I wish I hadn't woken up from.
Hell hath no fury like a woman interrupted while listening to a really good book!
This is a well written book; however, it has a very morbid story line and dark characters. I did not enjoy.
I only suggest this book for those who like their fantasy stories on the darker side.
If you are looking for friendly talking dragons, and Happily Ever After this book is NOT for you. Violent, dark and brooding. Reminds me of books by Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie. I am downloading the second book now. This one was a bit short for my taste.
Not really. It was a very average book at best.
He could have wrote in the third person instead of the first person. The major flaws of this book is that the world and characters, asides from Jorg, are not well-understood. Because we are always following the perspective of Jorg, we do not get a full look at the world and do not have enough interactions with any of the other characters to understand them. That's not to say that it is impossible to get these things in a first person story, but it is the cause here.
No, I didn't find the dark and psychopathic nature of the book to be very inspiring one way or another.
I wish I knew more about the world. There are so many references to things like Plato, Sun Tsu, Romans, Jesus, etc., which are in stark contrast to magic and walking undead. Is this our future? If so, what's the deal with liches coming out of the bogs and dream witches? This could be so interesting and entertaining but these questions are never resolved or explained in any kind of satisfaction.
The interactions of Jorg, giving a great amount of room for his violent nature, are simply unrealistic. At 10 years old he is killing adults with hot pokers and at 14 is now powerful, wise, and oh so angry. This is more like the ideal novel for an angsty teenager.
What is the motivation of other characters? They seem to just be foils to lead the plot on for revenge. For example, Jorg's father has not talked to Jorg at all in the novel, including flashbacks, except to try to antagonize Jorg. The characters just don't seem to be three dimensional. Why do they do what they do? We will never know.
This book is very short. I expect fantasy novels to be about 50% longer. The narrator speaks slowly with great pauses between sentences. I didn't mind the narrative pauses, which can serve to add more drama. The narrators voice is deep and suitable for dark and gritty books like this one.
I would indeed.
The narrator brought the different cast of unique characters to life and read brilliantly what was already a well written story.
I loved the characters. Yes, even the evil prince himself. They all have powerful personalities and the narrator brings them to life so magnificently.
I'd say the scene where the prince and his men take on the force many times their size in the ruins.
For being such a dark tale, there is comedy, and I did laugh to myself as I listened.
You have to know what you are getting into. The dark moments of the book may seem a bit much (The main character contimplates about killing just about every single person that speaks to him) but it IS a story with an anti-hero. Someone you aren't supposed to love. Someone that believes the ends justify the means. And Jorg does believe that and would kill near anyone to get what he wants, but in the context of the story, he does so in a way that absorbs the listener in every moment.
This is a rich smooth syrup of poetic prose. Words so thick you can not see through them. Not a watercolor but an oil painting with texture, depth and color, mostly red. This is also a study of madness as seen from the inside and a how-to on making a monster.
All the characters are Jorg. It is his vision that is your window to his world. You only see through his eyes. All others are what he tells you they are. Reality is what he wants to believe. His values, that all can be sacrificed and all is a means to an end, is what drives this book. That all must bend to his will. That one or two well placed corpse will make others more compliant. He is assured that men will fallow him because they will! Things will happen as he wants, because it will! Because he is Jorg.
Do I like Jorg? No. Would I ever want to meet him? Hell no! Do I want to read the next book, as well as anything else by this author? Yes please. Because fellow readers this man can write!
One way to judge a book is by the echoes it leaves in your mind. Do you think about it? Where you changed by it? Did it disturb you? This one will be lurking in the dark corners of my mind for a long time.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I feel like this might turn into a good series if I could just get into it, but I just find myself avoiding listening to it and turning to other media. I got 3.5 hours into it (about a third of the way through) and stopped.
I just can't get past the main character. This is a thirteen year old sociopath that is so precociously world-weary that he is able to bully grown men, hardened criminals without batting an eye. In fact, that is all he seems to do. He's not inconsistent (a major pet peeve of mine), he's just absurd. I understand the concept of an anti-hero. This seems to be what the author is going for. I am not above rooting for the bad guy. This protagonist is just so utterly annoying. I keep hoping for the actual protagonist to come along and smother this character in his sleep so that the real story arc can begin. No luck so far.
As to the reading... it seems ok. Clamp seems to play the main character pretty well. He pauses a bit mid-sentence making for a disturbing rhythm.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
DREAMS TELL A MAN WHO HE IS.
This story is told in first person, by a guy who loves to hear himself talk. I might have liked this better if written in third person. At times I just wanted the kid to shut up. I am always weary of people who brag about themselves. Tell me they are smart, honest or tough. It usually ends up being the opposite. This guy was tortured at 10 years old and now at 14, he is a bad ass, okay we get it, now let's get on with story, shall we. The first half of the story is all about convincing you that this fourteen year old is a bad ass. He even kills without warning his own followers, sometimes because their looks irritate him. I fail to understand how you can get a group of guys to follow you if they never know when you are going to kill them next. I listened to all of this and there are glimmers of real writing, but it is surrounded by double talk. The second half of the story reads more like Conan the Barbarian. The late middle part of the book, where he is under the mountain and fights necromancers, is the best part of the book. When he is doing something and not talking about doing something.
I SWALLOWED THE NIGHT AND THE NIGHT SWALLOWED ME
I always feel it to be a cheap trick to do a lot of double talk. A lot of people seem to think it clever and you even it see it in some of the classics, but this guy does it constantly. I DON'T LIKE TO BE ANGRY, IT MAKES ME ANGRY. ALL OF A SUDDEN IMPOSSIBLE ODDS, SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE. YOU LOSE THE GAME AND WHAT DO YOU LOSE? YOU LOSE THE GAME. IN A REAL FIGHT AND MOST FIGHTS ARE REAL. EVEN AS THEY LEFT ME, THE WORD SOUNDED HOLLOW, CHILDLESS.
AND IF PEOPLE CALL YOU KING, THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE.
Probably the biggest fact that you comes out of this story, is that kings are nothing but the biggest bully on the block. That is how they get started and then it is nepotism from then on.
I'M A SOLDIER (reviewer) AND THAT'S THE END OF IT.
I love to read. I also love to write.I'm a harsh critic and very, very, very rarely give five star reviews to anything. Three stars for me is an average representation of literature and not a bad review by any stretch.
Mr. Lawrence can obviously write. The vividness of the battle scenes in Prince of Thorns proves that. They are good. But, the problem is that same talent to write is not translated into other parts of the book. Most importantly, character development and plot. This story is very shallow in those departments. It feels like a draft of a complete novel.
For me, it was just lazy dark fantasy. A decent listen for sure, but not some elite (or even great) tale. It barely registered as average thanks to Mr. Lawrence's writing of the aforementioned battle scenes.
But, I stand by my statement that the story itself is lazy. It tries to be grit and gore and no more. Prince Jorg is one dimensional and never developed into the sort of anti-hero that I could root for. The encounters that stand in his way seems like they are only partially serious.
I suggest it if you like a nice, quick dark fantasy listen/read, but know going in that you are going to get a tale that is about blood and Prince Jorg's quest for vengeance with no meat to the bones.
I have read and listened to a lot of fantasy books and I have no issues with anti-heroes as lead characters; however, Jorg just isn't an interesting character and I was never able to get behind him. At 9 years old Jorg experiences a terrible trauma as his mother and brother are killed while he is helplessly caught within the thorns of a nearby briar patch. His father, the king, is unwilling to risk war with Count Renar, who is behind the murders, and he basically agrees to put the matter aside in exchange for some economic concessions. This shapes Jorg into a monster bent on revenge against both Count Renar and his father.
Jorg becomes the leader of a band of thugs at the age of 13 and the book is experienced from inside his mind. That is a dark place and frequently Jorg envisions ruthlessly killing those he interacts with. Sometimes those thoughts are converted to action and sometimes they aren't but they are constant. Jorg frequently kills men 3 times his size through an improbable series of events and he quickly furthers his agenda against his father and Renar. Eventually it is uncovered that there are more powerful individuals behind the scenes who manipulate key people as pieces in a giant game of thrones. Jorg himself discovers that he is being manipulated and he adds his puppet-master to his list of targets.
Now I love a good revenge tale more than most and I'm willing to let questionable behavior slide in the name of revenge on those "who deserve it" but this book never got me there. Jorg is too young, has no redeeming qualities at all, and the improbable events are just too unbelievable. There is also nothing truly unique about the fantasy world although the book does get interesting at times it doesn't really last.
This isn't a terrible book but I still suggest that you pass on this one. If you want to listen to dark, gritty fantasy or root for an anti-hero then there are much better choices available. I give this 2.5 stars only because James Clamp did a decent job on the narration and his performance kept the story moving along. It just never wound up where I wanted it to be.
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