Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Published: August 2nd, 2011
Genre: Epic/High Fantasy, Fiction
When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king… It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him—and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?
“War my, friends, is a thing of beauty. Those as says otherwise are losing.”
How do you describe a book that is so horrific yet so wonderful? Just like that, I suppose. That’s exactly what Prince of Thorns is a horrific beautiful masterpiece. I will mention a t/w for anyone who doesn’t like violence, mentions of rape, and blood. This story is told in first-person from the anti-est anti-hero dark villainous main character I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Jorg is a 13-year-old boy who has been through a lot for such a youngster. But, by no means pity this boy because he doesn’t need it. He was one of my favorite characters to read about because he was so flawed and he knew it. He didn’t hide his flaws or pretend to be the good little prince. He was unmerciful, vengeful, angry, cold-blooded, a killer, when he wasn’t paying for sex or being offered it he would take it, he had no remorse and you just had to wonder what the hell dude? His narration was dark and even funny at times. I found myself rooting for Jorg, especially as more of his past is revealed, and we learn why he has become such a hardened, unrepentant killer. I don’t forgive him for what he’s done but you understand him and I found myself saying GO JORG, I LOVE YA.
“And he flowed into me, cold as dying, edged like a razor. I felt my mouth curl in a smile. I heard my laughing over the rain.”
The writing style for this book was excellent. It was morbidly gripping and pulled me in. I didn’t want to leave this world and the story wouldn’t surrender me until I go to the last page. It was very vivid, smooth, and compelling. What was happening I understood and I really liked how the story was told in the past and present because it helps round the story out and doesn’t leave you with the who, what, when, where, and why questions. Mark Lawrence did a wonderful job of creating this dark fantasy world filled with dark corners and necromancers. It was definitely a book that I was gripping pages.
“He had a glow about him like moonlight, something that you knew would never warm you.”
Since fantasy (high, epic, dark, and regular) is my favorite genre I was already sold but this book is also one of my favorite time periods. That medieval time period with the reign of kings & queens is something I think about and study a lot. This was very accurate to its time period. The description of the kingdoms, castles, the character’s actions, how women were treated, how men were treated, and everything was how it was during that time. It was a gritty fantasy tale.
“They’re carrying a story about a prince who killed the Count’s son. A prince who would not retreat. A prince who never retreats. A prince who didn’t have to blood his sword to beat a hundred men with thirty.”
The pace of this fantastic tale was perfect for me. I got a perfect amount of description to understand the broken empire where minor lords are constantly bickering. I also got a perfect blend of action. It really wasn’t a dull moment with the story going from past to present.
“There is no evil, Makin,” I said. “There’s the love of things, power, comfort, sex, and there’s what men are willing to do to satisfy those lusts.”
The last thing I loved was the plot. This story just grew with every turning page. Jorg & his brothers grew more interesting and dimensional with each chapter. I loved the little snippets of them were got throughout the book on a lone page. The story centered around what happened to Jorg’s mother and brother and it was honestly horrific. That and his terrible shaped him to be who he is and when you learn all about his history it gives you more insight. Silence scares him and he has a lot of pain. It’s a wild ride of a story and can’t wait to describe book two.
“Pick your fights,” Makin said. “I’ll pick my ground,” I said. “I’ll pick my ground, but I’m not running. Not ever. That’s been done, and we still have the war. I’m going to win it, Brother Makin, it’s going to end with me.”
King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Published: August 7th, 2012
Genre: Epic/High Fantasy, Fiction
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.
“I had wanted my uncle’s blood. His crown I took because other men said I could not have it.”
The odds are incredibly against King Jorg. The stakes are high and the plot twists are indescribable. He killed his worthless uncles and secured a small kingdom in the mountains but he now has to face a pompous enemy namely the Prince of Arrow. We go back and forth in time just like number one, from Jorg’s wedding day/war that has come to four years earlier. We get to see how Jorg traveled the empire and gathered his resources to fight a battle he was told he couldn’t win. The story is partially in Katherine’s POV through diary entries (the woman Jorg wants more than anyone yet the woman he can’t seem to have).
“By the time I finally hauled myself weak and trembling onto the very top of the spire, I had come to realize I’ve been holding on by my fingertips my entire life.”
You ever read about the knight in shining armor on his perfectly beautiful horse and smiling pearly whites? You ever want to shove him off his horse and just punch him in the face? Well, you will have no issues here because my buddy Jorg is dirtier than dirt. I think the devil himself would tremble if Jorg came to him. He is still filled with anger, a murderous streak, sadness, incredibly clever, wild, and destructive. How would I describe my feelings for him? Simple it goes like this, “you suck Jorg. I love you. You are a piece of dirt. I will keep you safe. I really think you should die before you cause more destruction. I will hunt down anyone else who adds to your pain.” And the cycle continues. We see a lot of growth in him tbh. He thinks about actions more in this book. He has so many redemption moments and you see what a great King he is (Sarah & her daughter, Gog.
“Gorgoth, tell the trolls we’ll be back and to keep our visit to themselves.” I looked the pair over one more time. I wondered what kind of havoc they’d wreak on a battlefield. The best kind, I thought.
While we see glimpses of Jorg’s inner hurt and his soft sides and moments we also see his battle strategies come together. A war is coming to his doorstep in this stories plot. I really love how Mark played out this plot. In the past plot, we saw how Jorg prepared for the wedding day chapters and gathered what he would need. So many times I was like sir are you sure that will work and then I was like oh crap it did. This plot was even more intense and violent than number one if that’s even possible lol. Honestly, the plots just get better ask Jorg develops in each book.
“A laugh bubbled from me in the same way, escaping my heat. The anger I brought with me ignited, becoming too large for my body, detaching from the men who hurt Sim and becoming an end in and of itself, all-consuming, a glorious laughing ecstasy of rage.”
Pandora’s box of lost memory. This was such an amazing plot point that Mr. Lawrence weaved into this incredible tale. AND THAT ENDING!!! Jorg gets new necromancer powers (a little advanced from his book one power that kept him alive) a fire-magic skill and Builder tools. He gets them exactly when he needs them and honestly this man never dies and I am not complaining because I think something would die in me if he dies. The ending is full of shocking twists and surprises that left me breathless. I also need to mention I really love all the secondary characters in these books.
“A time of terror comes. A dark time. The graves continue to open and the Dead King prepares to sail. But the world holds worse things than dead men. A dark time comes.
My time. If it offends you. Stop me.”
Gosh, I love you ya damn evil king you.
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Published: August 6th, 2013
Genre: Epic/High Fantasy, Fiction
King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb. 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 plans to change that. He’s uncovered 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.
“Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones. The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy of violence, a message blood-writ, requiring a lifetime to translate.”
I have discovered the greatest story ever written. I have other favorites of course but this trilogy and this book specifically trumps them all. This story doesn’t have a romance, it’s not light-hearted, it’s not even happy yet, it shook me to my core and consumed all of me. In Emperor of Thorns, we follow Jorg on the path to become emperor of the hundred. It is not an easy path and it is one with lot’s of bloodshed, friendships gained and lost, children brought into the world and others were taken, and the Dead King at his heels. This is filled with so many twists and turns and an ending that hurt but was necessary. King Jorg did the damn thing, to be honest. There was no telling that man no because he overcame it all. He became emperor even if only for a short time. The ending was inevitable with a man like him. What happened to his brother is really what haunted him his whole life but, Jorg went to death when he wanted after completing his goal and securing a throne for his son. He was a truly an emperor to be remembered.
“I know a man who is trying to,” I said. “And if I hadn’t learned better, then yes, I’d save them all. No half measures. Some things can’t be cut in half. You can’t half-love someone. You can’t half-betray, or half-lie.”
One of my favorite things about this book was the growth we saw in Jorg. In book one, it appeared our wild prince could open his heart to no one but in book three we see his heart so much more. Although he still was a ruthless man and wasn’t this great loving husband we saw him care for people. His wife Miana was important to him (Page 191 he said his heart truly froze and it physically pained him to see her like that), his son was extremely important to him (page 243 when he wanted to hold him, 311 when Gorgoth promised to protect his son, 389 when he thought his son would never be safe and he shed a tear), his road brothers became men that he truly cared for (page 382). Throughout the story, we saw Jorg become a real man who didn’t just kill for revenge and even stilled his sword at times.
“I let Katherine see how something so simple as hammering home a nail can make such profound changes, to the bishop whose head is pierced, and to the boy who wields the hammer. And then I let her go. And she ran.”
The violence and action is ten fold in this book. Jorg really went through hell and he dished out a whole lot of hell as well. I mean the man killed the pope and countless others and with no witnesses to account for it. This book held so much death with the Dead King just mucking about and his followers were skinning people. The five years earlier chapters were just as bloody and gruesome and Jorg was alone in those. The things that were done to him as a young boy (T/W he was molested as a child) and the things he had to do his whole life in order to survive are dark things. But none of it felt like it was violent for the sake of being violent everything held a purpose and a reason and it all stemmed to that night when young William was killed and young Jorg was stuck in thorns.
“It was never a good idea to tease a woman near her time, and seldom a good idea to tease Miana in any case, unless you want back worse than you gave. She came at me, fists raised.”
Queen Miana wasn’t super prominent in the book but she was still important in Jorg’s life. I loved her character with the little we saw of her. She was clever as Jorg said (page 94), feisty, fearless, and I think she scared Jorg a bit and could always make him feel bad without really doing much lol. She was a smart queen and knew Jorg for what he was.
“And I walked rather than ran, though a fire burned in me near as fierce as that on my blade, because surface divide known from unknown, and though I might walk where angels fear to tread, I try not to rush in like a fool.”
Just like in Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns this story goes from present to five years earlier and we even get snippets of Chella’s story. I loved just as I love it in the others but in this one I found myself screaming lol because I would be in the present and it gets to a part where you’re like omg what’s next and then it goes to the five years earlier chapters for a few. Then I am like OMGGGG nooo so I read fast then I am like ok what happens next and it’s back to the present lol. It was so good because it left me with edge and anticipation. I just loved seeing where Jorg went and how it lead up to the final moment because you wonder how did he survive all that and alone?
“You know he had to die. Or at least you will know it in an hour, or a day. What makes us different is that I knew it from the moment you spoke. And in the end, my way is quicker, cleaner, and fewer people get hurt.”
The last thing I will speak on is the writing. Mark created such a vivid world for readers it was astonishing. The writing is a work of art and as the front cover says every word is carefully crafted. Jorg has so many quotable lines that I will be using he is the Emperor of Quotes and Wisdom.
“He has gone beyond me now though, and I have no more to say. Perhaps somewhere Jorg and his brother have found the real heaven and are busy giving them hell. It pleases me to think so. But the story is done.”
I will miss Jorg so much.
It’s bittersweet when you find your new favorite book. On one hand, it’s amazing that books can still make your heart swell and take you to new places but on the other when it’s over you say, what next? This story was exceptional and it might hold that place forever because though my hopeless romantic self-loves a love story I love an epic and dark fantasy more. I love a story that makes me question things and the characters. I love a story that makes me want to leave my world and enter theirs. I love a story that can take root in my heart and stay buried there forever. The Broken Empire trilogy did just that.