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Monday , 13 October 2014 , 06 : 27 AM
  Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence 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...
Sunday , 28 September 2014 , 04 : 28 AM
As well as providing an awesome Broken Empire short story for Grimdark Magazine's first ever issue, Mark Lawrence was good enough to chat to us about grimdark, short fiction, Broken Empire, Red Queen's War, and more. Reader warning – This interview contains spoilers [GdM] The Broken Empire is a cracking read, darker than dark, making us love people we probably should not. You’ve shown a skill few authors manage in achieving that and made yourself a stalwart of the Grimdark genre. We can’t wait to see where The Red Queen’s War takes us over the next few books. [GdM] What does “Grimdark” mean to you? [ML] To be honest, I don’t know what it means. My first encounter with the term was seeing it used as a pejorative to belittle certain books. Since mine were the only titles it was aimed at that I had actually read, that didn’t leave me a lot to build on in order to construct a definition. If you ask people you’ll get a great range of very different answers, from “this thing I don’t approve of” to “this thing I like”. I even made a blog post on the subject! http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/what-is-grimdark.html   [GdM] What do you like to see in fiction and why? [ML] That’s a very big little question! I guess the only useful answer is to say how what I like might be unusual or at odds with the majority, because obviously I like to be entertained in a diverse collection of ways just like any other reader. I like an intellectual side to what I read, though I don’t demand it. I don’t like message-fiction. I’m not interested in being ‘educated’ in the politics of the author or steered toward an opinion. I do like to see the power and beauty...