Ahahaha, well done Mark, well done. I was totally confused to begin with and therefore hooked by this book, purely because of the main character Jorg. As I was reading on my kindle I would often think, ‘wait is he the good guy or the bad guy?’ or ‘God damn you little sarcastic p****! -but I love you so much!’ I’ve never be so utterly bewildered by such a character before, I think it’s because my mind really wanted him to be the stereotypical good guy/hero but in reality he is a villain out for revenge.
This is not a heartwarming story of a good hero looking for justice, oh no…
However, as much as Jorg has no redeeming qualities, you can’t help but feel some pity for him as the story goes on. Yes he’s evil and sadistic and really really needs some psychiatric help, but when you learn about his back story, and yes I’m one of those people who believe your past experiences are not an excuse for your future actions but despite this, you can’t help but find some sympathy for his character. He’s the sort of person I would never want to be friends with, and would have to look on from afar, with Jorg preferably in a straight jacket and a padded cell and several security guards between us. Though Jorg’s mind is really the beauty of this story, you get to look inside the mind of an unstable, emotionally messed up, and violent person, a rare thing (I have found) in the world of fantasy.
I have to admit at times this book made me feel uncomfortable but then at other times i was laughing, I’m not sure where that puts me on the sanity scale. I’ve never had to tell people not to read a book before, but if you can’t stomach reading about rape and violence then don’t read this book! If you’re like me and can’t help but to be intrigued by the darker realistic elements of the world then definitely do read this book.
I had to give this book my age rating of 16+ because in the UK the legal sex age is 16 years. I know sexual education starts a lot earlier, but I think where there are descriptions of rape (even if they’re not particularly detailed) then this book is really only suitable for older teens and adults. However everyone has their own individual opinions, rules and boundaries, so if you’re a parent or friend and you’re thinking about buying this book for a younger person, I would say to think about it carefully and read the book yourself first before making a decision.
I read this book at the age of twenty two and had very few problems with it, the dark fantasy elements and the unconventional main character were real eye openers for a new writer like myself. There’s a lot to learn when you create a realistic, dark and grim setting for a book with unstable and violent characters, Mark Lawrence has done this magnificently.
From the current reviews:
The Good: ‘a hero who is also the darkest of villains’, ‘This is a story that you cannot put down‘, ‘it is no easy task to write a character as devious, blood-thirsty and committed to his world view as Jorg’, ‘an interesting twist on the traditional, fantasy genre’, ‘A wonderfully written, feverish dream of a Fantasy novel‘, ‘rich in beautiful writing, witty dialogue, magic and endless action‘, ‘Disturbing, Beautiful, Chaotic, Poetic, Haunting, Exhilarating‘, ‘This is an intense novel, and not for the faint of heart‘, ‘masterful insight into human nature‘, ‘a very intriguing read‘, ‘Dazzling in its brilliance‘, ‘Spectacular’, ‘the author is a genius!!!’, ‘excellent’, ‘an inventive storyline, a fascinating world, and a great pace and cast of supporting characters‘, ‘A vicious little knife blade of a novel – and I mean that in the best possible way‘, ‘The prose is clever, original, and occasionally blackly funny, while the characterization is vivid’, ‘One word. Amazing’, ‘a gem’, ‘striking’, ‘Dark and Dirty but oh so good‘, ‘wow!’, ‘I loved it’, ‘Great twists , very interesting setting, and oddly enjoyable main character‘, ‘Refreshingly brutal, well written and a true antihero’, ‘brilliant’, ‘PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME‘, ‘enthralling’, ‘brilliant and unique’, ‘thoroughly enjoyable read’, ‘spectacular’, ‘a fabulous book’, ‘A wicked wonderful whirlwind of a read‘, ‘A marvelous, clear and brutal voice, an anti-hero of epic proportions‘ (Oh Man I could hardly get into the double figures there were so many good reviews! -C.L.)
The Bad: ‘a disappointing read’, ‘It’s a good book, just one I didn’t like‘, ‘there is zero world building‘, ‘Not my cup of tea, DNF‘, ‘The character development was nil‘, ‘the brutality of the main character in the first couple chapters and the extremely dark nature of the writing threw me off the first two times and I had to stop reading it‘, ‘weak characters‘, ‘It’s brutal and brutally honest, and it’s not afraid to go there (and by there, I mean anywhere)‘, ‘A bit rough going, poorly written in places, zero likeable characters.‘, ‘boring’, ‘I’ll be truthful; I enjoyed small portions of the book, but found the young prince too sadistic and psychotic for my taste‘, ‘A harsh book‘, ‘found the style broken and difficult to follow‘.
The Darn Right Ugly: ‘Without doubt or hesitation, this is clearly the worst book I have ever read‘, ‘Out of the thousands of books I’ve (literally) read, this is easily one of the worst, if not THE worst‘.
The Unicorns: ‘It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before.‘, ‘ It is like a train wreck from which you cannot look away. This is a story that you cannot put down.’, ‘Well slap my thigh and call me Uncle! It’s been a long time since I’ve been this surprised by a book!’, ‘I read Prince of Thorns at lightning speed, couldn’t put the book down.’, ‘Full of dark imagery, and grey prose, Mark Lawrence’s first novel is unbelievably compelling.’
Release date: 1st January 2011
Age Range: 16+
Contains: Sexual violence (rape warning) and descriptions of other violent acts.
Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Awards: Prix Imaginales Nominee (2013), David Gemmell Morningstar Aware Nominee (2012), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Best Fantasy (2011). The last book of the trilogy came out in 2013 and won the coveted Stabby Award for Best Fantasy of 2013.
About the book: Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.
From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.
Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
Where to Buy?
UK Amazon Kindle Ed: £6.49, paperback: £6.29
Paperback versions are also available from Waterstones and The Works for similar prices as stated above.
About the Author:
Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.
Disclaimer: The reviews and opinions above are either from online sources or my own, and have been collaborated together for the ease and benefit of potential new readers. All ratings have been collected from the date of this blog’s publishing, and will potentially change in the future.