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Prince of Thorns Hardcover – Aug 2 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1 edition (Aug. 2 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020324
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.3 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“This book is brilliant.” --Galaxy Book Reviews

“[A] morbidly gripping, gritty fantasy tale.” --Publishers Weekly

“The best book I’ve read all year…[Lawrence] pulls you in and doesn’t let go.” --New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett

Prince of Thorns deserves attention as the work of an iconoclast who seems determined to turn that familiar thing, Medievalesque Fantasy Trilogy, entirely on its head.” --Locus

About the Author

Mark Lawrence is a research scientist working on artificial intelligence. He is a dual national with both British and American citizenship, and has held secret-level clearance with both governments. At one point, he was qualified to say, “This isn’t rocket science—oh wait, it actually is.” Married with four children, he lives in Bristol.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I can't believe there isn't more buzz about this book. I could not put it down and I am truly choosy about fantasy, mostly because we have been spoiled in the last few years with books from the likes of Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks and Pat Rothfuss. Prince of Thorns read like a combination of Weeks and Abercrombie with a dash of GRRM thrown in - this is noir fantasy at its best. A dark, flawed hero, a mission of mad revenge, a mix of crude and cultured - this book has it all. The humor is grim and bloody and there are no light themes, so tread carefully if you like your stories cheerful. It is very well written indeed, and I find that it's always trickier in first person, plus the alternative chapters between past and present can be distracting inn a less deft hand. Not here though, they just build like a carefully layered cake, adding depth and flavor with each turn. If you don't know this author yet, you should. Can hardly wait for the second installment.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is polarizing, and it comes down to whether you need your main character to be likeable or merely interesting. Jorg is not likeable. You would not want to be friends with him. He is pure poison who despoils everything he touches. There is no good end where he is concerned, but (and this is important) he is an interesting character. Some of the reviews dismiss him as merely a violent sociopath; he's not. Which is to say he's not merely anything. He's Jorg, and dismissing the series simply because the main character is a bad man is like saying Macbeth has no literary merit because the titular character is a jerk.

But rather than arguing with other reviewers (and I could spend all day doing that, honestly), I'll just say what I liked. It's a short trilogy, and it comes to a satisfying conclusion. Mr. Lawrence doesn't leave you hanging, he doesn't stretch it out, there aren't pointless subplots with characters whose only purpose is to die tragically. It's tightly woven, well written, and worth your time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It seems most people have given the book a fairly good review, which is was prompted me to buy and the book. I'm giving "Prince of Thorns" a one star because it's the first book I've ever stopped reading - which is unfortunate, I was looking forward to this one.

Immediately we are thrust into a number of characters without description. Random names doing random things without reason - we'd like to know why, and I know that's supposed to be part of the mystery... but the characters were setup so poorly that it was hard to keep track, and without knowing much about the characters - why do I care? As many have indicated, I have a tough time picturing this story and the main character as a young teenager. Additionally, I have no problem of the main character as an anti-hero and doing horrible things... but he seems one dimensional. It's hard to empathize at all with the character. The author, in my opinion, did a poor job of selling this and has done an overall poor job of characterization. I've read the "Game of Thrones" novels that have exponentially more characters, and I can keep track of who's who because of the excellent setups that simply don't exist in the "Prince of Thorns" novel.

The plot. I don't know, I stopped reading 1/3 of the way through. The main character wishes to travel to his father's castle. Nothing really happens in the first 100 pages, and he arrives. There was no incredible perilous journey to get there, thus the stakes seem low and rather uneventful. I'm sure the novel 'picks up' later on, but really... reading is entertainment. If you can't entertain and capture the attention of a reader in the first few pages (let alone, first one hundred), you've blown your chance.

The writing in general. It's a tough slow read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
[[SPOILERS... Sort of... ]]
If you can imagine Alex, the prodigiously intelligent and ultra-violent teen anti-hero from 'A Clockwork Orange', leading an army of grizzled bandits into a vicious guerilla war over yet another claim to the Iron Throne (with a low-key temporal twist), you might get an idea of what this first book of 'The Broken Empire' promises. The first-person story-telling that fails so grandly for Patrick Rothfuss in 'The Name of the Wind' and 'The Wise Man's Fear' succeeds here brilliantly; if Mark Lawrence wasn't profoundly influenced by Anthony Burgess' most famous work, which also happens to be narrated by its psychopathic protagonist, and displays much of the same blue-black gallows humor, I'll freakin' memorize Book 3 of the 'Kingkiller Chronicles'.

It could be argued that Westeros did have an 'Alex' on the throne -- Joffrey. But that little prick had the cruelty dialed up to 10 and the intellect dialed down to 5, with none of the wit of Alex or Prince Jorg. Lawrence manages to create a thoroughly believable and compelling rogue, an unapologetically selfish, brutal, and amoral thug, who is still somehow likeable, and even sympathetic. As a precocious observer of human nature whose bloody course was set by childhood tragedy, trauma, and blood betrayals, Jorg still defies explanation as a product of his culture, apparently. The ugly events that defined his young life are related as interludes, adding depth and perspective to the characters as the main plot races forward. As the tale approaches it's gore-spattered climax, however, the clues and questions seem to reveal that the hook-briar and the hatred might be exaggerations, used as emotional set-dressing for an underlying magical manipulation.
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