Book Review – Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

First I would like to say, the audio-book for this was awful. I couldn’t stand the guy (James Clamp) reading the story. If the book is written exactly how the guy was reading it, with weird pauses all over the place and single sentences strung together to make a story I would have had a hard time finishing the written copy as well. No offence James, just personal quirk I’m sure.

Anyway, getting past how difficult the book was to follow – the story was … ok. I was actually disappointed with the book, I had gotten myself hyped up for a dark protagonist. I actually really like those types of characters; people for whom the ends justify the means, and who will do what it takes to achieve their goals. Where the story falls apart for me, is when it comes to the goals that the protagonist wants to achieve. They just aren’t worth it.

Jorg bothers me. Not that I take issue with his actions, but more that I take issue with his age and general stupidness. He seems so smart in some areas, and just completely oblivious in others (which are usually the ones that actually matter). Maybe I’m just tired of reading about teenage protagonists – I’m starting to think authors only use them because the actions they want to portray no sane adult would even contemplate. Normally I end up just thinking – man this character is an idiot. Not the sentiment that makes for an entertaining book.

At multiple times I found myself surfing the web while listening to the book, or having to go back because my mind drifted, or I wasn’t paying attention. Sometimes I didn’t even go back because I didn’t care enough to listen to every single second. This more than anything else is the reason for my 2 star rating, if I can’t be kept entertained throughout the reading of a book, what’s the point?

A 10 year old led a jailbreak and no one did anything?
The outlaws (that kill people for fun, kill each other for fun, or kill each other for no reason) took the kid with them
The kid threatened several of the outlaws before getting anywhere and they backed down
Revenge is my whole purpose! yet I’ve done nothing about it (yes this is explained toward the end of the book, but waiting that long was difficult)
After 4 years the kid is running the band of outlaws – no reason is given. He is put forward as the ‘baddest’ of them all, but it’s difficult to picture that based on the other characters in the band.
I would have killed Jorg so many times, why didn’t anyone else?
Apparently all the raping has made Jorg a king in the sheets, tiring out whores and barely breaking a sweat
Why does the King hate Jorg so much? – never explained
What is dream magic? How does it work?
Rosiosis? binary weapon leakage?
Why suddenly become a cannibal? Only one bite – tasty wasn’t it? Oh now you have superpowers, how convenient.
Which type of nuke can be set off by a slow fire?
So why didn’t his father just kill him ages ago?
Oh he’s not dead?
What was the angel deal?
The king didn’t have a problem with Jorg sleeping in his aunt’s bedroom for weeks instead of dying?
The dungeon scene with Makin?
A lucky horse kick saves my life and I kill the super powerful mage! Then everyone follows me and does what I tell them!

So – good stuff. I liked Makin, and probably would have liked the Nuban if he ever said anything. Interesting world, though it isn’t described in detail. There are a bunch of guys fighting for the empire throne who all have some old emperor’s blood in them. Interesting premise, but the book doesn’t go in to much of the detail for that – other than to say it’s all a game (over and over and over).

There were some funny parts, but it was mostly dark humor. I like a book that can make me laugh in a few places, even if it’s mostly serious. Some character has to be the comic relief doesn’t he?

Jorg does kill some people who deserve killing, there is an adventure, there is a quest, they do stuff. There is a twist I didn’t expect (mostly because I couldn’t have had any idea about it). There is good stuff in there, it just didn’t work for me.

Favourite quote:

“Order him to jump, now!” I barked it in de Gren’s face.
“Not like that! Put some conviction into it. He’s not going to jump if you make it a suggestion.”


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What did you think?