Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. 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 him a future with all hands turned against him. Mark Lawrence's debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
©2012 Mark Lawrence (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"Dark and relentless, Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two in the morning page turner. Jaw-dropping." (Robin Hobb)
"This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut." (Robert Redick, author of The Red-Wolf Conspiracy)
"Prince of Thorns got hold of me from page one and didn’t let go until I finished it on my second reading session on the second day. There’s humour here, gut-wrenching realism, high adventure, something that might be magic in the story, and certainly is in the telling of it. It was almost as if the shade of David Gemmell had returned, somewhat nastier for the experience. Thoroughly recommended. Thanks Mr Lawrence." (Neal Asher)
Prince Jorg was faced with the murder of his mother and brother and it transformed him and his world view. He is not a “BATMAN” out to save the world, but just one more “BAD MAN” living in it but not giving in to it. Equipped with his own unique ultra-morals he makes his merry way and to hell with those living or dead who cross him.
Tell us about yourself!
Young prince travels with a gang of cutthroat mercenaries raping and pillaging through a war-torn world divided into a hundred tiny kingdoms all run by kings whose brutality is only surpassed by their cruelty and greed. So our hero is not really a likeable fellow, he is a little evil vengeful brat to be quite honest. But he is also at times a quite funny and not to mention a clever fellow. That and the fact that we are early on introduced to the event that made him such a monster helps us understand him somewhat, combined with the fact that everyone else seems like such complete bastards and we end up cheering for him anyway.
He is clearly traumatized, ensorcelled even, but he keep going. Brutally so. Now there isn’t really that much violence in this novel. Oh, they speak of violence all the time as they threaten each other or reminisce, but it is more a book about trauma and vengeful thoughts than and a true action novel. It is dark though, there is no hiding that. Dark and at times quite humorous:
“Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is 'big' a redeeming feature?”
This was beyond saving for me I'm afraid. This story was boring in it's eccentricity. Just didn't do it for me.
The story starts out kinda promising but soon turns morbid with a semi humorous twist. Hard to describe it. It's so over the top that I had trouble listening any further beyond the first couple of hours.
Very UK, the man is a voice magician. But he made the unbelievable story only more far fetched and for me that resulted in sort of a turn off.
The smugness of the protagonist is painfully off-putting. I'm sure there are people who would write it off as the character being a 'hot-headed teenager', but it made for tough going. I had hoped that as the story progressed, the needless killing, boastful nature, and general douchebaggery of the character would subside for a character that realises the errors of his ways, but instead these aspects intensify.
The story itself is less than inspiring - feeling like something that was dreamed up (ie rehashing every other novel of it's ilk) in and afternoon with a bit of time to spare.
No. I feel like he finished the last page of A Dance With Dragons and thought to himself "you know, I think I could probably do this as well" and picked up his quill.
Every point where it seemed the main character would die.
I simply cannot understand the plaudits going out to this book.
The narration/performance was very well done, for the record.
reads for fun
I was starting to worry that audio book delivery of fantasy titles would never be as enjoyable as wading through a paperback. However I am pleased to say that the combination of Mark Lawrence's tale and Joe Jameson's narration has reassured me that audio book fantasy can deliver a quality product.
This is a dark and violent tale of an angry young man with no fear. The story twists and turns as we learn that what is on the surface is not always the real story.
I expected more of the same cliché fantasy characters and plots. This is far from cliché. I loved the dark, human, aspect of the lead character. Also, the back story is very interesting. More of it develops in the second book and hints at real complexity in the story.
The hero is actually shaped by his environment and circumstances and has evolved naturally
When you realize that this civilization has come after our own was decimated in wars, and the similarity it holds to our middle ages
"Deserves to be Heard"
Jorg isn't the most likeable character but I enjoyed this book so much I downloaded the next immediately. The story rolls along at pace. Beautifully written, yet dark and relentless. Very well narrated.
"No cleverness, didn't grab me."
I found this irritating. I liked some parts of it, and I might have liked it more if it wasn't following Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.
As it is, I found it pretty shallow. It's a standard revenge plot, with some poor world building in a standard Medieval fantasy setting, without any sense of the wider world, history or politics of the land. The hook is supposed to be that it's dark because it has an antihero rather than a hero.
I didn't dislike it because the antihero enjoyed killing people, I disliked it because he was a 13 year old and a massive narcissist. He thinks he's the best thing ever, and considering that he inexplicably manages to win every fight with a full-grown man despite his age and size, and every plan works perfectly, I suppose he is. There is no sense of struggle, no real cleverness to the story. He simply succeeds at everything without difficulty even though he shouldn't be able to, and has no modesty or self-doubt. He's not the wily, scrappy underdog, he's a godmodder.
"In the words of Thomas Hobbes ....."
Many reviewers have found a fascination with the antihero of this novel. He is I suspect not as new or original as they think him. For myself I finished the book (which I enjoyed) with the same feeling as I get on the rare occaisions when I order a bargain bucket at KFC ...I enjoy the experience but I feel dirty afterwards!
The narration is superb I cannot fault Joe Jameson's portrayal I hope to hear more read by him.
The book is not particularily good value at only 7 hours. For better value and better writing, if you like your heroes dark try reading anything by Joe Abercrombie.
My overall inpression is that this book is like Thomas Hobbes description of the life of the common man ....Nasty, brutish and short.
"How cool is the narrators accent? Loved it!"
Twisted and gruesome, but extremely entertaining. It's great to find a book that expands the boundaries of what is acceptable... I find that I want Jorg to win, even with his twisted and warped sense of morality. Actually in his world - where everything is just a game - he somehow seems the right saviour for it all!
"Brilliantly dark story, fantastic narration"
Bought this audio book on a whim and it is easily the best audio book I have heard. Brilliantly complex, and often dark, characters brought to life by the excellent narration of Joe Jameson. An excellent cross between medieval epic and fantasy adventure. Highly recommended.
"Prince of Yawns!"
Hardcore fans of the genre, I suppose. I never really used to read any fantasy but after Game of Thrones, I got the taste for a bit more of the same. After working through the 'best fantasy' lists I enjoyed 'The Name of the Wind' 'The First law' and a lot of other good books. After a while, I was starting to get the sense that I had already had the fillet steak as far as fantasy books are concerned and had reached the leaner cuts. This was the scrag end and probably a fitting sign off from the genre.The character is one dimensional and fails utterly as an anti hero. I wondered if it had been written by a 12 year old boy, as it is, effectively, about an angry 14 year old boy who is 'dead hard' and does what he likes and can beat up the grown ups. No wit to it at all. Maybe its harsh to judge it against the best of the genre, but I would give it a miss unless you are a die hard fantasy fan.
"Entertaining enough - but nothing special"
An interesting attempt from a new author, and enjoyable enough – but nothing new and nothing special
Story – 3/5
The story is entertaining enough, and the main character is more of an anti-hero than a hero if you like that sort of thing. It centres on a ruthless revenge plot and you understand more about the reason for revenge as the story progresses. I certainly didn’t find myself shocked or amazed at any of the story, and I didn’t find myself caring for any of the characters at all, but maybe that was the author’s intention.
It moves along at a very nice pace, but then at 8hrs long you would expect it to. I quite enjoyed some of the self reflection and monologues that Yorg, the main character, did throughout. I did however find myself drifting off on occasion and having to rewind and re-cap.
I must remember though that this is Mark Lawrence’s debut, and that authors tend to improve following the criticism and feedback of the first novel. It is certainly solid enough for me to try my hand at Kind of Thorns soon.
Performance – 4/5
This is my first audiobook with Joe Jameson, and I thought he did a reasonable job. His young, high sounding voice suited the story nicely as the main character was a 15yr old, and he did a good job distinguishing all of the characters in his acting. My only criticism of him is that he didn’t change the tone of voice enough when narrating the darker and more violent scenes, which trivialised them slightly, making them less of a big deal than they actually were.
Overall – 3.5/5
Apologies for the star ratings not matching the written review, I am forced to round halves on Audible.
What a story! Jorg has lifted through some horrible things and he sets out to get revenge, if you only pickup one author your haven't read before it has to be this, it's a little short, but so good I couldn't stop listening, at one section as I was driving home I parked simply to hear the next part before having to turn it off, I haven't done that with any other story.
"Thank you for a great book!"
I've been a member here for over six years but never wrote reviews before. Yet having just finished Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1, I felt I had to say few words.
I started this book three times. First time around I thought this just wasn't my cup of tea. Second time around I thought it was just a bit too dark, too violent for me. Third time I just kept on going and by the time I reached chapter 5 I was hooked. By the time I reached chapter 7 I was in love with the style of writing and the narration. One of the best audiobooks I heard so far and can't wait to start the second book. Thank you so much Mark Lawrence and Joe Jameson!
The main character in the book is really self centred, morally bankrupt, and genocidal but you can't help but hope he does well.....
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