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Publisher's Summary

Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg has plans to change that - one way or the other. He’s uncovered even more of the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it. But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced - a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King. The boy who would rule all may have finally met his match....

©2013 Bobalinga, Ltd (P)2013 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Emperor of Thorns

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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    1,880
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    636
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    13

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Lacks anticipation

I finally figured out what it was about these books that kept me from truly enjoying the full potential the story held. Lawrence doesn’t allow the reader to anticipate future events. He doesn’t allow us to be nervous for the main characters in situations that should be tense. He tries to tell 3 stories at once that should all come together at the climax. It should be a fine style of writing, except each story is about the same character, years apart, so I don’t have a chance to wonder if he’ll make it. I just have to sit waiting for it to play out. This prevents me from really enjoying any of the action sequences.

Additionally, for a story so full of death, I was surprised I didn’t see more of the secondary characters die. They’re basically a clan of invincible people just killing thousands of others. On top of that, even if they did die, Lawrence didn’t give any of them an opportunity to become characters we can root for and fear for; they’re just side characters, and that’s it.

The prose was lovely and the voice acting was top notch. I just wish Lawrence had spent more time on side-character development, and then had the guts to put them in tense/risky situations where we readers could worry if they might die. The wind was taken out of the story’s own sails by writing 3 overlapping flashbacks all about the same characters.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Entire Adoration

What did you love best about Emperor of Thorns?

Everything. I absolutely adore this series, I love the character of Jorg and even more I love how Mark Lawrence continually move the story from current to 4 or 5 years ago. It entirely brings together the man he was and the man he is and why he makes the choices he does.

What other book might you compare Emperor of Thorns to and why?

I have few absolute favorite books in the fantasy genre that reach an epic status in my mind, definitely the king killer chronicles, blood song and the way of kings. I would say Mark Lawrences series also creates the epic feel of a world with its own customs and way of life, gods ands myths that my adored epic series do, however, because Jorg is largely the sole focus of the series and all other characters continuously only carrying minor roles, I think this book does slightly fall short in that. I almost wish Mark Lawrence would have had separate books for each of Jorgs years, but then I suppose to have lived even more years with Jorg, the ending would have been absolutely devastating. For the series he wrote and the length, the ending was perfectly chosen.

What does James Clamp bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This narrator does an EXCELLENT job! I didn't even think twice about getting the audible book as opposed to reading it. He uses different voices/inflections for the different characters, even does a fantastic girl voice!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The antics of Jorg would continually make me chuckle and smile. Smile that he was so completely genius and brilliant in his scheming.

Any additional comments?

If you like slightly dark humour, blood shed, or just want a book to get so absorbed in that you lose yourself entirely. Get this series, get it, live it, love it. Mourn it once its over.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Originality but a Dark Anti-Hero, get Ready

This an overall review of the trilogy & immediately WARN any listener that there are descriptions of graphic scenes of brutality to the point at times it seemed a bit much & written just to keep with the original 'standard' the first book set:

It took me more time to finish this book than the two books before this 'Prince & King of Thorns.' Overall the series was pretty good although I would not place it at the top of any fantasy list except for originality perhaps. There was a lot of back & forth throughout the book that at times I did not even know how old the main character was, although when the book first started he was more the 'anti-hero' & the story was filled with more grim-dark scenes where the main character could care less what happened to human bystanders or 'innocents.' The character grows up a bit into more of a protagonist as the story evolves from 'The Prince of Thorns' & he suffers from the battle fatigue & PTSD that is common with those that take many lives. He starts to reflect back on his past but this doesn't mean he is predictable in any way because Mark Lawrence was able to create a character that would keep u guessing with what Jorg would do next to get himself out of a jam or how he was going to outsmart the odds stacked against him.

One of the major issues I had with this book was that the suspension of disbelief I had to have regarding the protagonist's age & the ability for a child (even in an earlier, feudal society) to command the respect he garnered often throughout the books. This was more common in the earlier books because he was somewhere between the ages of 9-14 for much of it. I know that in the past boys had to grow up much faster or else possible die especially in a situation where royalty & succession was involved so I get the whole 'many of the best leaders & fighters were young' history point, but I think Lawrence was really pushing it when u look at the type of people Jorg was surrounding himself with. Its one thing if u have loyal retainers & bodyguards or those that respect, fear, and/or love u because of ur family name, but it runs counter intuitive to some groups of people that he chose to be with: murderers, rapists, no-scruples, thieves, etc... although he did have a personal bodyguard that was older that loved him like a father figure, but that one guy couldn't entirely make me believe this kid who barely has pubic hair probably can stare down criminals in such a brute, 'alpha male way' no matter his ruthlessness. Although this was the trait that did gain him respect in the beginning after that he was quite cunning, but... It also bothered me that many times it seemed that his cleverness worked to a point but in the end some type of unknown magic we as readers never knew about saves the day or a similar type of solution would present itself.

Overall I enjoyed the series & it ended well considering the ending for many fantasy novels seem to be suspect as the years go by. I would def. recommend this book if u are looking to laugh at the darker elements of fantasy (i.e. necromancy) along with the clever ways Jorg is able to scheme his way to the top. Mark Lawrence definitely wrote a unique series with a unique character, it was worth the reads although I liked the 1st 2 books better & the last 1/3 of book 3. The narrator was satisfactory, he wasn't bad but I wouldn't look at other books he's done like I do with my favorite narrators.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator

The narrator in this series was outstanding! I will be looking for more of his content. His ability to change his voice for each character makes them instantly recognizable so there is no guessing who is speaking. I can't say enough good about him! Thank you James Clamp for this thoroughly exciting experience.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Don't trust anyone giving this series a bad review

I have read a lot of amazing Fantasy books, and I listed them bellow so you know I have good taste when it comes to these kinds of books. Believe it or not this entire series, and the one following it The Red Queens War have now become my favorite books out of all of them. Why? Jorg and Jalin are both anti hero's, and you just don't get that in other books. Jorg should honestly be considered a villain, but I've never cried to a book until I listened to the end of Emperor of Thorns. I have listened to the ending multiple times, and every time I cry, and I never cry. The end of the series does leave you with a lot of questions, but I love that in books because it adds so much mystery. If you don't like that then listen to The Red Queens War because it is set in the same world and literally answers every question you had about that world. And where the Thorn series made me cry and was very dark, the other series made me laugh more than any book ever has. To be able to hit both those notes in one world setting I have never experienced until now. Anyone talking bad about this book just has horrible taste, and if you like any of the books listed bellow I know you agree with me.
Lord of the Rings
Hobbit
Dune
Eragon
The Name of the Wind
Harry Potters
The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Witcher Series
The Bartimaues Trilogy

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

No creativity, didn't finish it

Emperor of Thorns represents a regression in every single aspect that made this series unique. The creative decisions taken by the author honestly feel like they were made by someone trying to purposefully ruin the trilogy. In short, around the twentieth time my eyes rolled out of my head, I decided not to finish it, and I really couldn't care less about what happens to the characters. Here are some of the most glaringly terrible aspects of this book:

Narrative structure. Prince of Thorns was a straightforward story with flashbacks to key moments in Jorg's childhood. King of Thorns is split into parallel stories, one in the present and one five years in the past. Emperor makes the bizarre decision to have a present story, a past story that happens BETWEEN the two stories of the second book, and have childhood flashbacks, AND give other characters POV chapters. This book was engineered by NASA to be the most confusing story ever told, and the story is nowhere near good enough to demand the reader balance four timelines in their head.

Setting. The first book introduces itself as a fantasy medieval story but unsubtly (yet smartly) reveals that it is actually a post-nuclear apocalypse setting. This is beyond cool in how it recontextualizes common fantasy tropes - what the characters perceive as trolls living in a mountain, ancient ruins, and ghosts, the reader understands to be mutated humans, old concrete bunkers, and AI holograms. In the first book, this was a fresh take on the fantasy genre. In the third book, the author expands this setting by adding:
* the Vatican in Rome
* the Holy Roman Empire
* Islamic caliphates in North Africa
Is this some sort of joke? The lack of creativity on display here is awe-inspiring. I am still in disbelief that Mark Lawrence took this setting and totally and completely wasted it by making the post-apocalyptic world identical to the pre-apocalyptic world. Why would you give yourself a clean canvas, then copy-paste medieval Europe onto it?? I would love to see a better author do justice to this setting.

Finally, the characters just suck, there's no other way to say this. We spent two books building Jorg's mastery of fire and necromancy only to have those powers disappear at the end of the second book, maybe the author missed the part in creative writing class where they said don't delete character progression for no reason, it's a pointless regression in character that has no consequences and only serves to make the protagonist less interesting. Also, the author throws Jorg into dangerous situations in the past storyline naively thinking there is any tension in those scenes - in reality they are a boring tedious slog, since we already know Jorg survives to star in the present chapters. And like a desperate Dungeon Master, Mark Lawrence flips through his old notes and decides to make Chella, a throwaway villain from the first book, a major character. Quite frankly, Chella's inclusion in this story feels like the author recognizing that nothing interesting happens around the protagonist Jorg, so another character needed to be inserted to deliver exposition. Her chapters are completely inconsequential and boring.

Man, what happened here, this book is a dumpster fire. Look, Prince of Thorns is pretty great, I recommend it. King of Thorns is aggressively mediocre and not worth the effort. Emperor of Thorns is pure trash, I can't think of a single positive thing to say about it, it's just suffering for as long as it takes you to realize you could be reading better books.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Too many of the voices started to blend together

I enjoyed the series overall, but the ending felt rushed and too put together. Emperor 30 seconds before utter doom, utter doom stopped by...wanting it more...utter doom doesn’t fight back because even though it wants revenge it wants to be loved? Utter doom wants revenge because of a deed not done by a small child who couldn’t really help. It was over edited or ran out of ideas with one chapter to go. Did not finish with the elegance I have seen throughout the series. It rambled a bit at times and there were too many one off savings that just happened to work and if any one of them did not then the book would have ended with the antihero failing. I was as confused as Rike was at the last standoff.

It sounded as well like the narrator had too many similar sounding characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and compelling, but ...

... I feel like it wrapped up a little too quickly for an epic story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

great series

great series. good voice actor good story line. sucks the books were so short. i hate spending credits on such short books but the story is good enough to justify it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great end

Very good end to the series even if it was a bit of a thinker. Loved it all the way through, but honestly the dead king stuff even though there was foreshadowing felt a bit contrived as if the author knew that is what they wanted to end it with long before the story was written out, unfortunately in this case it made it sort of miss emotionally and story wise. Other than that though fantastic series that I loved nearly the whole way through.