Author: Mark Lawrence
Pages: 319 (Paperback)
Rating: 3.5/5

This was hard to get into. Poor paperback got a battering with my carrying it all around. Today I set my foot down and read it. My first thought when opening for the first time a few days ago was, “first-person. Great.” I think I’ve had more than my fair share lately. But I trudged on. Let me tell you now this is a dark and morbid story.

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?

Set in a post-apocalyptic time where the Empire has been broken into numerous warring kingdoms its an unusual fantasy tale. Don’t expect to like Jorg or, forbid the thought, pity him. But I did learn to see the way he saw the world.

It opens with Jorg and his band of mercenary brothers destroying a village. Right off you’re greeted with graphic war horrors. I didn’t like Jorg then and I still don’t. But I get him. That’s the beauty of Lawrence’s writing. We see Jorg go back home after four years to an unwelcoming father who has aquired a new wife. Soon, a new heir to the throne. There’s also Katherine, the gorgeous new Princess.

Of course Jorg steps on toes and is sent on an impossible mission. Take down Gelleth and its King. This is where the technological elements from ages past come to play. Thing go… no, I shouldn’t, big spoiler. But the science and magic mesh well together even though I’m not a fan of  combining the two. The literary allusions were amusing but mostly served to jerk me out of the story.

Battles are a mixture of luck and tripping people. They are pretty graphic though. Through all this Jorg faces his own evil. Not saying he becomes a hero. He is what he is and he offers no excuses. Some might find that irking but I applaud it. You can’t change the very core of yourself  in a single day. Or a month.

Read it and then decide. Do you hate it or like it? I myself will have to read KING OF THORNS to decide.