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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic new dark fantasy, great debut novel
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...
Published on Dec 11 2011 by B. Lawson

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Very poor characterization and lack of ability to move a story forward.
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...
Published 1 month ago by Norseman


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic new dark fantasy, great debut novel, Dec 11 2011
By 
This review is from: Prince of Thorns (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Alex From 'A Clockwork Orange' As Yet Another Contender For The 'Iron Throne', Oct. 31 2014
By 
C. K. Lidster (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
[[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.*

The wry approach to violence that British writers all seem to share is displayed to good effect in 'Prince of Thorns', and Lawrence fires Jorg like a bullet, tearing a bloody hole through a strangely alien version of Medieval England. This story moves fast. It also happens to be one of the best fantasy novels I've read. And while I'm speaking of fantasy, it would be f***ing fantastic if 'The Kingkiller Chronicles' ended on page 20 of Book Three, with Jorg Ancrath collecting the heads of Bast and Kvothe.

Just in case my point was buried in all the smarm, Mark Lawrence has created the best fantasy since ASOIAF. It actually comes dangerously close to selling itself as historical fiction, but Jorg's Medieval England is not exactly the one we know and love; Lawrence plays a subtle game, using sleight of hand and alchemical word-play ('The Day Of A Thousand Suns'), with just enough clues to make the Walter M. Miller twist surprising without feeling cheap. For anyone who is as picky as I am about Fantasy novels, and can't stand the boring 'hero's quest' used ad nauseum by all the Tolkien imitators out there, Lawrence is near the top of my short list of writers who don't mind spilling the blood of hobbits and heroes: George R. R. Martin, Steve Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Richard K. Morgan, and David Anthony Durham.

Footnotes: *(The only wrong note Lawrence hits, IMO; a slightly hollow deus ex machina development from the only writer I know of who could actually build a synthetic god using a machine -- he's a specialist in artificial intelligence/rocket science/mega-mecha transformer battlesuits, with enough government clearance to do super-classified sight-seeing at Area 51 -- I won't specify further, but it felt like an editorial concession, and a bit of a sell-out... 'The Devil made me do it!' But I f***ing love this book, so I'm reserving judgement. Even if it was a concession made for the sake of 'selling' Jorg, it's a minor complaint that doesn't really diminish the work in any significant way.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no good end where he is concerned, July 21 2014
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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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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Very poor characterization and lack of ability to move a story forward., Jan. 15 2015
By 
Norseman (Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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. A number of chapters I had to re-read to re-assess what actually happened in a chapter... only to find out nothing happened (to move the story forward). I was distracted by 'real' religion and what seemed like a fictitious fantasy world, always wondering if this was a 'dark ages' story, or if this was meant to be a madeup world. The environment wasn't setup or described in much detail, instead cities and towns are name dropped here and there as if we should know. I found my eyes constantly glazing over the words as I read, reading the actual words but taking very little in - completely uninterested.

Overall, I have little else to say without much in the way of a positive takeaway. I stopped reading at page 125, I believe it was. There are plenty of good reads out there, and I can't afford to waste time reading something that fails to attract my attention. Sorry, Mark... but I hear the subsequent novels are better?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Must Have!, Aug. 20 2014
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It's difficult not to be pulled in by this book. The artwork is what caught my eye at first. I then started reading it and I could not stop until it was over. A nice, light read compared to the works of Steven Erikson and Robert Jordan, but a great story nonetheless. Definitely worth reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, but Deeply Disturbing, March 5 2013
By 
A. Soares - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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Jorg is a vicious, depraved psychopath. The novel is extremely violent (so if you don't like dark fantasy with graphic, violent scenes I would recommend avoiding this novel).

Jorg, and his band of "brothers" are raping, killing, pillaging criminals. Jorg suffered traumatic events in his youth with the death of his mother and brother and vowed revenge on those involved. Jorg is an "anti-hero". There is to me nothing likable about him. This book is a look into a truly depraved mind, as he seeks his revenge and retakes his place as Prince of Ancrath.

I admit that the book was well written, but I am not sure that I enjoy this type of writing and am on the sidelines on whether or not to purchase the next installment. The pace of the novel was quick, the plot was so-so (really only out of the ordinary due to the extremely violent, bloody take on it), but the fantasy aspect was seamlessly woven in (very realistically). Readers of Joe Abercrombie will probably enjoy this (although I much preferred the First Law trilogy which was also extremely violent but had, to me, a more interesting plot and more likable, relatable characters).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Story, July 7 2014
After reading the five available books in the Song of Ice and Fire series I really felt empty and hsd trouble fjndjng anothed story as compelling. Luckily, I somehow stumbled on to this gem. Jorg Ancrath is not a good guy, in fact he's fairly evil, but completely fascinating. The world Lawrence creates is very original and halfway through thr book pieces about its origin become clear.

Additionally, enough can't bd said for thd author's prose. a sheer delight to read, even in its darkest moments. I highly recommend it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grabs you and doesn't let go You may not like Jorg but he captivates and pulls you along for ..., Sept. 14 2014
Grabs you and doesn't let go You may not like Jorg but he captivates and pulls you along for his story
Loved it
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1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy!, Aug. 21 2014
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Horrible. Hated it the more I read and had to abandon it half way. Major disappointment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Epic Fantasy with a huge lead character, June 29 2013
By 
Asher "on the prairie" (Alberta, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Ah, Jorg.
We have so much in common.

This book had me curious from the start; with it's very mixed reviews and objectionable violent content, I thought it would, perhaps, not be to my taste. Also, the opening scenes are Graphic which can be somewhat off-putting, depending on a particular reader. I slipped through the beginning with a curl in my lip and immediately began to identify with the main character: Jorg. He's intense, sexual, vicious, driven, opinionated, determined and best-of-all, he's Dumb-F*** lucky! With a strong voice throughout, I loved to hate Jorg and his nasty companions. The Brotherhood is gritty, dirty, evil but all have the potential to be redeemed, or so you are tempted to think... Their fierce loyalty to Jorg and each other causes them to be a force equivalent to 30 times their number and they are wonderful to read in a scrap! Who didn't adore the Nuban and his crossbow? Who didn't adore Makin, the Captain of the Guard-turned-Black Knight? Who didn't equally despise and guiltily love Little Rikey and Red Kent?

The writing is very good. I'm not going to say it's in a league with G.R.R. Martin, but it's presentable and I feel it's a work in progress. Mark Lawrence does a marvelous job with his story and you can tell he loves this work, even if it's missing a Super strong editor to counter some minor writing issues. Character development, plot, vocabulary and sequential movement of the story; it's all here and it's solid.

The graphic content in the book had some people complaining, but honestly---has anyone read "The Game of Thrones"? I'm stealing from another great reviewer, but he was exactly right. GofT was Far more disturbing due to it's violent and adult subject matter. This book was simply great all around, regardless of the violence.

Jorg has his demons to best and I LOVE to watch him do it. I love his strong narrative an how he expresses himself to the reader. Interestingly, he's Funny! I like his cold wit and engaging sarcasm. This character Makes the book. Way to Go Mark. Looking forward "King of Thorns"!
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Prince of Thorns
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Hardcover - Aug. 2 2011)
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