Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)
By Mark Lawrence
Summary: 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?
Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.
Prince of Thorns was an awesome fantasy novel. Prince Jorg was a ruthless and cunning kid who travelled with his band of thieves with the goal to enact revenge on his enemies, the same enemies who murdered his brother and mom and left him for dead. His goal was to rule the empire.
Most fantasy novels are centered around the hero. You want to root for the hero and you never question his character and the things that motivate him. Prince of Thorns was not the same story at all. Prince Jorg was awful. Whatever had been done to him, he did worse things. He was not the villain of the tale, but he wasn’t any better. Jorg’s character is what separates this book from other fantasy novels and those who love them. Prince of Thorns has very mixed reviews, some of them quite low, because of Jorg.
Can you read a book and hate the main character? Can you enjoy a book when the main character, the one you’re rooting for, is perhaps a bloodthirsty sociopath? If your answer is a resounding no, then don’t pick this book up because you will NOT enjoy it. But if you’re intrigued by the hero being just as bad, if not worse, than the enemies he’s enacting revenge upon, then this is quite the adventure for you. Prince of Thorns was narrated by Jorg. I found him to be fairly intelligent and cunning, even a bit humorous. I appreciated his quest and even agreed to some extent about the way that connections with people can be a weakness.
I think a lot of people who enjoy fantasy can admit that sometimes they admire the characters who aren’t always good. George R.R. Martin certainly made people care about Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, and even Cersei. But the Starks have an overwhelming number of fans and it’s many of them who perhaps won’t care for Prince of Thorns. I enjoy stories that turn things around and give me something unique and I felt that the author did a wonderful job executing such an unfavorable POV. I am invested in Jorg’s adventure and it feels kind of odd rooting for someone who is so horrible, but I just can’t help but like him a little bit.
I highly recommend Prince of Thorns if you’re the type of person who can handle having a main character be a sociopath without the point of the book being a cautionary tale. Jorg owns his bloodthirstiness and he’s not likely to change. Word of warning: Jorg commits atrocities. The book is violent and awful and not for anyone who can’t handle torture, rape, or the brutal murder of people. It’s a dark fantasy, so beware. All of those warnings just made me want to read the book even more, so if that’s you, you’ll definitely enjoy it.