Sunday, December 9, 2012

Prince of Thorns - Broken Empire #1 - Mark Lawrence

Release Date: August 2nd 2011
Publisher: Ace
Age Group: Adult

Pages: 319
Format: Paperback

Source: Bought

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king... 
It's 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 lose. 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?

I’ve always had a preference for dark fantasy, I don’t know why, it just keeps me hooked. “Prince of Thorns” is perfect for me: it’s fascinating, raw and it makes you look beyond the things you encounter along the way. I enjoyed this book for many different reasons, one of the obvious ones being the one stated above.

Another one was the writing style. This book is so fluently written, I could have read it in a few hours if only school hadn’t absorbed all my free time. I love the way the author describes certain situations and feelings. The dialogues are witty and fun to read, with the occasional outburst of depth from Jorg, our main character, showing his real and hidden emotions. Here’s one of my favourites:
“Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you’ll find an edge to cut you. Each day the memories weigh a little heavier. Each day they drag you down that bit further. You wind them around you, a single thread at a time, and you weave your own shroud, you build a cocoon, and in it madness grows.”

There’s one word that kept popping into my head while I was reading “Prince of Thorns”: honesty. I think this is a no-bullshit, honest kind of book. I’m sitting here, thinking about how I can describe that feeling and make you guys understand, but I’m kind of struggling with it. How can such a cruel story be honest? But that’s just it, the story still has its rough edges, everything that happens throughout the book is to the point and hasn’t been smoothed over.

After reading a few of the one-star reviews on Goodreads, I was in a bit of a conflict with myself. Most seem the hate Jorg for the way he behaves and the things he does.
Here’s the thing: I liked him. Yes, he’s ruthless, he’s got no conscience and he’s a brat. But I couldn’t hate him. If anything, I felt a bit sorry for what he had to go through at such a young age, but mainly I think he’s in a constant inner struggle. He wants to cut out his humanity because of the things he’s seen and the guilt and pain that came with it. He has seen first-hand and at a young age that doing something horrible doesn’t always mean you’ll get punished for it.
I’ve read a lot of YA the past months and most main characters in those books are (understandably) good people. Jorg was a breath of fresh air to me, I liked this new perspective, the one of the bad guy. Does that make me a bad person? Hm.

Before everyone jumps on this and actually answers my question with a big fat “YES”: I don’t contradict that Jorg is a bad person. If he existed in real life, I’d hate him, pity him and avoid him at all cost. But come on, this is fiction! I loved reading another kind of story, something different than the usual stuff. Our main character is a disturbed young man, I know that, but that’s the whole point of the story, that is what makes this book so fascinating.
I do think you should put things in perspective. There’s a whole discussion going on about Jorg raping two girls on the first few pages of the book. Rape is wrong, everyone knows that (well, most of the human population knows that), but this is a book about a band of ruthless thugs in a medieval-esque setting (it says so on the back of my book). We know Jorg is an anti-hero, so why get all upset about it?

I can understand why this is a love-or-hate book, some people won’t like the cruel tone in this story, others, like me, will be able to see it from a different perspective. That’s life, everyone has its own opinions, but if you like dark fantasy and don’t mind a gritty story: this book is brilliant and should be at the top of your TBR list!


1 comment:

  1. My friend Jasmine and you are supporting this series and since it's seam wonderful. I shall star the first book.
    Thanks for your review.