Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

This is another book I received recently from Waterstone’s ‘Read and Review’ offer.  It’s also another example of how the scheme persuades me to read books I may not otherwise have picked up: while you obviously don’t have to put your name down for every book, it’s a great risk-free way to try something new (well, risk-free in terms of not spending any money on it… obviously there’s the risk of wasting your time reading it but I rarely hate a book that much).

Prince of Thorns is the first in a new trilogy of fantasy novels.  Fantasy’s something I’ve not really tried before, although I love old sci-fi stories.  This is supposedly a British alternative to A Game of Thrones: again, not something I’m too familiar with but that might give you a rough idea of what to expect.

Jorg, the narrator and main character, is in charge of a band of ‘road-brothers’ who ride around the empire looting and ransacking villages.  As the novel progresses we discover his royal background and his bloody history, then travel with him as he sets off to fulfil his two ambitions: becoming king and seeking revenge.

I loved the mix of real and fantasy in this novel, and the characters’ easy acceptance of the supernatural happenings… but unfortunately that was all I loved.  The story was interesting but I wasn’t sure what was going on some of the time.  I understood that I was in a different time and place and wasn’t supposed to recognise every turn of phrase the characters use, but at times there were gaps too big for my imagination to fill, which was a shame.  I didn’t really like the main character – he was a little too violent and cruel for my taste – but then I don’t think I was supposed to!  Perhaps that would suit another reader.  Finally, the writing itself wasn’t brilliant: it was good, but not exactly sparkling with wit and originality.

I don’t think I’d go out and buy the second book of this trilogy of my own accord.  I’d happily sit down to read it if someone bought it for me at Christmas, but I’m more likely to try a different fantasy novel and see if that suits me better.  Certainly not a waste of my time though: this has been a good introduction to fantasy writing if nothing else.

Prince of Thorns is published 4th August 2011.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. timctaylor
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 20:42:55

    I hadn’t heard of Read and Review until I read this. You have to enter a prize draw to win a review copy… is that right? I do a think with my publishing business called ‘Read… Review… Repeat!’ So you can imagine I was a bit miffed that Waterstones has something with almost the same name.

    BTW: Good luck with NaNoWriMo


    • TheBrontëSister
      Nov 13, 2011 @ 16:54:49

      Thanks for your comment. Yes it’s basically a prize draw to win an advance copy, but it’s for card holders only and it’s just for print copies. ‘Read… Review… Repeat!’ looks like a great idea – I think the name is different enough and your concept is actually much better, I think. It’s a shame I don’t read ebooks as I’d definitely be taking part! But unfortunately I’m a paper lover…

      NaNoWriMo is so much harder than I’d realised – I’m very behind but it’s been a great writing exercise if nothing else.


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