Prince of Thorns
Review by Jeremy Szal
Hang onto your intestines; it’s going to get ugly.
From the opening chapter, from the very first paragraph, you’ll notice two things. The first one which is that you’re walking into a brutal fantasy world filled with violence and sorrow. And the second? That Mark Lawrence is one of the most skilled fantasy writers working today.
Prince of Thrones was unleashed to the world back in 2011, only to be met with severe controversy from social justice warriors and thin skinned reviewers pandering the book for it’s allegedly jumping on the grimdark bandwagon and promoting misogyny. Some of the bloggers and reviewers themselves admit to not reading the book before criticising it, and others slam it for copying Game of Thrones and accuse Lawrence merely acting upon his sick little fantasies. (I actually bought the books based on this controversy, so thanks for the reviews.) Suffice to say that none of these baseless accusations are true. Love and detail went into creating this book, a love of fantasy and a love of well-crafted prose, a brilliant execution and control of the English language. It’s difficult to read at the best of times and questionable in others, but that makes it much more of a rewarding challenge.
Our main protagonist, Jorg, is a butchering, murdering, spiteful little bastard that we all love to hate. But Lawrence is skilled enough to make us still interested in his predicament, make us drawn to the character, despite his callous cruelty. It’s by no means an easy feat, but Lawrence has done it with a natural grace.
Through an incredible story that jumps back and forth in time, we learn to understand Jorg as we delve into his twisted little psyche. With every second author thrusting out a tidal wave of novels clustered with clunky prose that has the charm and personality of a sewer, it’s an utter relief to find a book with a fantastic prose style. It’s almost like a character within itself; one that compliments Jorg. Furthermore, Mark Lawrence knows when to use it and how to use it. It’s a tool that’s only useful in the right hands, and his are nearly flawless. It’s in first person, so if we’re going to spend time with a single character, we want to make sure that it’s an interesting one that locks on and never lets go
With a world that can easily rival that of Westoros in terms of grit and darkness, Prince of Thorns is an incredible debut that combines brilliant dialogue, near flawless prose, and a fantastic character to create a visceral, veracious and vivid world that is absolutely fantastic. This book has set the standard for brilliant prose that everyone should try to measure up to. After this, anything less is inexcusable. If you haven’t read it yet, then get up, run to the nearest store and buy it. Now. You have no excuse whatsoever.
I give Prince of Thorns 5 grimdark lords out of 5.
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- Amazon: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire)
- iBooks: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) - Mark Lawrence
- Kobo: Prince of Thorns
- Book Depository: Prince of Thorns