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Prince of Thorns Hardcover – Aug 2 2011

22 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  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,268 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

3.9 out of 5 stars

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Lawson on Dec 11 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By EisNinE TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 31 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CthulhuChild on July 21 2014
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: Kindle Edition
Damn, but this was one hell of a book!

Opinions of the entire Broken Empire series seem to be strongly divided, with most readers falling into either the love it or loathe it camp, and very few counting themselves indifferent. I've seen reviews that bemoan the character of Jorg, asking how we can be expected to follow such a damaged protagonist, and others celebrating the daring chances Mark Lawrence has taken with the series.

Well, you can definitely count me in the love it camp, at least as far as Prince of Thorns is concerned. This is a book that struck me in much the same way as Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon or Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné once did, just completely playing against all expectations of the genre, and surprising me with something original. Lawrence doesn't necessarily do anything new with the core motivations of vengeance and conquest, but he makes some interesting choices in terms of his protagonist/narrator, along with the supporting characters, that are really exciting.

This is fantasy that's dark and epic, following the bloody march towards destiny of a young man and the ragged band of mercenaries with whom he's surrounded himself. Jorg is a ruthless killer who has no problem playing dirty, and who doesn't give a damn how anybody else feels about him. He's not out to make friends or win followers, and certainly isn't worried about charming his way through the byzantine world of royal politics. Many readers have complained he isn't a likable hero, but you have to admire his tenacity, and you have to feel a bit of sympathy for his origins. Cheering him on is a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.

Getting back to that Erikson comparison, this is a book where nobody is safe.
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