Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oh, good books! How I have missed you! Ever since a friend of mine wrote a review for this book, I've wanted to read it. I can honestly say I enjoyed it and wasn't the least bit disappointed. But first, from the cover of the book:
When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king...
It is 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 loose.
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?
Sounds interesting, no? It is.
Jorg is a psychopath in the same line as Alex from A Clockwork Orange. He's young, violent, and doesn't give a damn about who he hurts or how many. He only cares about one thing: getting revenge on the man who killed his mother and brother despite the forces that try to stop him. Despite that the ends seem just, his means is what taints his achievement. Jorg's revenge is served as cold as the frozen north. Stand in his way, and you won't be breathing any longer.
I found him fascinating. Yes, I'm the kind of person who enjoys the twisted protagonist. The kind of person who could easily be the villain. They are a whole lot more interesting than the pure hearted hero. Jorg could have been written as a nice prince who gets people to follow him to victory through love and good acts. But he's not. He's surrounded by his bandit brothers who love blood just as much as he does. Even his trusty knight Makin, a far more likable character, is drenched in blood.
Lawrence made a smart move giving Jorg a "conscience" in the forms of the Nuban and Makin. They both help to balance out the violence of Jorg, Little Rikey, and even Jorg's father. They add that little bit of light the book needs to make all the darkness bearable.
The best part about the book isn't necessarily the fourteen year old, psychopathic prince. Lawrence injected medieval fantasy with a twist that it really, really needed. Jorg's world is post apocalyptic. The castles they live in, the "suns" they speak of, are left over from our modern times. The world has started over, and this story is set in that world.
An good example is when Jorg and his men come across a security panel in an old military facility. (I'm guessing it's a military facility. Sure seems like one.) They think that the voice speaking to them is fairy or sprite of some kind that has been stuck in the box. It's when the reader learns that it's been over a thousand years since we nuked ourselves. I loved these little modern details thrown in. They only helped add more to a story that was already interesting.
Lawrence's writing is pretty fluid as well. Yet, something felt like it was missing. I don't really know what it was, but I had this nagging feeling of a void. I was relatively satisfied. The story is good and rounded out. It's well written. But something is missing. Perhaps that is why I give this four stars.
Oh, well. If you can stomach horrendous behavior committed by a fourteen year old boy, then you should read this book.
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