05 December, 2011

Review - Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

I had a lot of fun with this one. I'd read lots of discussion before actually jumping in and I have a couple things to say about it, the discussion that is.

1. The rape at the beginning. This has been really controversial, and while I in no way support this type of behavior, it isn't graphic and does a good job showing how depraved this band of rogues actually is. If it didn't include rape in some way, I really don't think it would have been nearly as believable. I mean, this is medieval times (kinda) and even nobles were supposedly exercising their droit du seigneur. Again, not that I support the behavior or even that I enjoy reading about it. I don't and I'm glad it's never revisited, at least not in action.

2. Many have said that Jorg, the main protagonist, is too young. First, he definitely acts his age. If anyone says one thing, he wants to do the opposite. That's got teenager written all over it. Second, I really don't think people remember being that age and aren't giving it nearly enough credit. An intelligent teenager could easily act this way and do the things Jorg does, especially given how Jorg was raised and how he spent all his time during the last 4 years.

3. It's hard to believe a small band could defeat a much larger group of soldiers as happens toward the beginning. Actually, it wasn't. We're told they're the best at what they do and no one stands a chance against them. Foreshadowing check. Then, without getting into too much detail, they strategically make it happen. Disbelief suspended.

Told in the first person and alternating, but not every other chapter, between the present and chapters that begin with "Four years earlier," Prince of Thorns [US] [UK] [Kindle] is an unruly tale of revenge. Prince Jorg watched his mother and brother murdered and will do whatever it takes, and I mean WHATEVER it takes, to make things right.

After falling in with the worst humans alive, a band that could fit in nicely with the likes of Joe Abercrombie's Black Dow and company, Jorg's every thought is centered on reeking havoc for his sworn enemy, Count Renar.

As you can imagine, Jorg has some pretty evil thoughts and yet this book is amazingly hard to put down. For some reason, you can't help but root for him. He's had it bad, but his attitude, outside of all the really bad stuff (which is a lot), is extremely compelling and I loved it. Jorg makes things happen. It doesn't matter the odds either, he has no fear even given his age, which as I mentioned above, in no way fazed me and really only added to my enjoyment of the story. I love rooting for the little guy (see what I did there).

Why Read Prince of Thorns?

Seriously, go read Prince of Thorns now. It's a quick read too, both in terms of page length and the fact that you won't be able to put it down. Highly Recommended.

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)


Woodge said...

That's a good review. It's now on my TBR list. One thing: it's "fazed", not phased.

Justin said...

RAPE! You're just trying to further embolden Mark Lawrence's chauvinist agenda.

Bryce L. said...

@Woodge - Thanks, changed. :) It's really good and super quick, do it do it do it.

@Justin - Shh, someone might get word of our chauvinist club.

Joshua Lowe said...

Just because rape is a hideous act doesn't mean that writing and reading about it condones it, it just means it happens. Following that train of thought is just like Christians banning books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials because they're blasphemous. Rubbish.

Will have to read this book now, sounds like my kind of read. Thanks!

Bryce L. said...

I was going for the approach - there's no limit to the amount of times you should explain you don't support rape in a situation where one person will probably still think you support rape. :)

The Reading Frenzy said...

Looks like the controversy isn't going away anytime soon. For me The Prince of Thorns made my best of list too http://thereadingfrenzy.blogspot.com/2011/12/v-behaviorurldefaultvml-o.html
only it was at the top.
Great review
Happy New Year