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151 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, amoral but compelling story
A hundred petty warlords are struggling to carve their own pieces out of the Broken Empire, the divided remnants of a glorious, high-technology society obliterated in a monstrous war. Little has survived from before that time aside from a few books of philosophy and war, and religion.

Prince Jorg, the son of King Olidan of Ancrath, is a boy of nine when he sees...
Published on 29 July 2011 by A. Whitehead

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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expected more
There has been much made of the fact that Prince of Thorns features a rapist as the main character, that it is far too dark and bloodthirsty, that it bears great similarity to Joe Abercrombie, that it objectifies women. I would dispute every one of these points. Every single one.

Prince of Thorns features a young boy as the protagonist, someone who offers his...
Published on 27 Aug 2011 by A. L. Rutter


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151 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, amoral but compelling story, 29 July 2011
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A hundred petty warlords are struggling to carve their own pieces out of the Broken Empire, the divided remnants of a glorious, high-technology society obliterated in a monstrous war. Little has survived from before that time aside from a few books of philosophy and war, and religion.

Prince Jorg, the son of King Olidan of Ancrath, is a boy of nine when he sees his mother and brother brutally murdered by agents of Count Renar. When Olidan makes peace with Renar in return for a few paltry treaties and goods, Jorg runs away from home in the company of a band of mercenaries. As the years pass, Jorg becomes cruel, merciless and ruthless. He sees his destiny is to reunite the Broken Empire and rule as the first Emperor in a thousand years, and nothing and no-one will deny him this destiny.

Prince of Thorns is the first novel in The Broken Empire, a trilogy which was fiercely bidded over by several publishers before HarperCollins Voyager won the publishing rights in the UK. It's being touted by Voyager as 'the big new thing' for 2011, to the extent where they are even giving away copies to people who have pre-ordered A Dance with Dragons from certain UK bookstores.

This faith is mostly justified. Prince of Thorns is a remarkable read. Well-written and compelling, it is also disturbing. Anyone who's ever bailed on reading Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books because of a horrific thing the main character does a couple of chapters in will probably not enjoy this book either. Jorg is a protagonist with the quick wits of Locke Lamora, the charm and resourcefulness of Kvothe but the moral compass of Gregor Clegane. The book has the protagonists (the word 'hero' is completely incompatible with Jorg or his merry band of psychopaths and lunatics) doing things that even the bad guys in most fantasy novels would balk at, and for this reason it is going to be a challenging sell to some readers.

Lawrence writes vividly and well. The dark and horrible things that Jorg and his crew get up to are mostly inferred rather than outright-described, which is just as well. Lawrence also avoids dwelling on Jorg's physical actions too much in favour of delving into his psyche, working out what makes him tick, presenting these ideas to the reader, and then subverting them. As the book unfolds and we learn more about Jorg's hideous experiences, we realise why he is the way he is, though at almost every turn Jorg also chides the reader for thinking he is trying to excuse himself or beg for forgiveness. He is simply presenting the facts and the context and leaves them to decide whether he is the logical result of circumstance or someone who could have saved himself from this dark path if he had chosen to do so. Lawrence's aptitude with the other characters is no less accomplished, with deft strokes used to create vivid secondary roles concisely and with skill.

Outside of the excellent characterisation, Lawrence paints a vivid picture of a post-apocalyptic world. The ruins of an earlier, technological age (probably our one, though the map suggests that if it is, the geography of the world has been radically transformed, at least in the area the story takes place) paint the landscape, and it's interesting to see references to familiar names and places. The works of Plutarch, Socrates and Sun Tzu have survived, as has the Christian faith, and in the distant east place-names sound more familiar (Indus, Persia). This evokes the feeling of a world broken and twisted, the new rammed in with the old, the effect of which is unsettling (I think it might be what Paul Hoffman was going for in The Left Hand of God, but Prince of Thorns does it much better). I assume more about the world and the history will be revealed in the inevitable sequels. Whilst Prince of Thorns is the opening volume in a trilogy, but also works well as a stand-alone work. Whilst there is clearly more to come, it ends on a natural pause, not a cliffhanger, which is welcome.

This is a blood-soaked, cynical and unrelentingly bleak novel, but it also has a rich vein of humour, and there are a few 'good' (well, relatively) characters to show that there is still hope in the world. There are some minor downsides: a few times Jorg seems to 'win' due his bloody-minded attitude overcoming situations where he is phyiscally or magically outclassed, and there's a few too many happy coincidences which allow Jorg and his men to beat the odds, especially right at the end. There's also an event about three-quarters of the way through the novel which is highly impressive, but may be a bit hard for some fantasy fans to swallow.

Prince of Thorns (****) is a page-turning, compelling and well-written novel, but some may be put off by its harsher, colder aspects. Those can overcome this issue will find the most impressively ruthless and hard-edged fantasy debut since Bakker's Darkness That Came Before. The novel will be published on 2 August in the USA and two days later in the UK.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 11 Feb 2014
By 
Mike (Bristol, ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
From the very first page The Prince of Thorns will hook you. The storytelling is compelling and if you enjoyed Game of Thrones you will not be disappointed with this. It is very easy to read and highly enjoyable. Looking forward to starting Book 2 now. Don't hesitate, buy it now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of a fantastic trilogy, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
What a fantastic series of books. The main character has so much going on, with so much background you can't help but keep reading.

The plot is original, so much so that I had to re-read parts just to ensure I had got the gist of it. That is not to say the writing is bad, its brilliant, it just that you always get the feeling something else is going on but never quite sure what. Upon finishing, it all becomes clear.

I would recommend this trilogy to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story drew me in to a world I couldn't leave - a true reflection of fantastic writing. Despite the challenges faced by the c, 16 Aug 2014
Prince of Thorns has been one of my more recent reads from the fantasy genre. It was given to me as a gift from my older brother.
From the moment I started reading I was hooked. The story drew me in to a world I couldn't leave - a true reflection of fantastic writing. Despite the challenges faced by the characters and the 'darker' areas of the book, I felt a relation and deep connection to the characters, a connection that made the whole series become a favourite, leaving me feeling a little bit empty when I had finished!
I can't recommend Prince of Thorns enough - a very, very good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY THE TRILOGY NOW!, 16 Aug 2014
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I'm not much of a writer, so I'm far better suited to reading the words that others have written.. and what a set of astounding books to read!

Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire trilogy is an absolute masterpiece, so much so that this is the second time I have bought the set as I NEEDED a physical copy to add to my book case.

If you're thinking about purchasing the trilogy, think no more, BUY IT!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a really good read., 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I was a bit dubious about this book so download as a free read. Very pleasantly surprised a good quick read with plenty going on. Shall have to download the next instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and Sadistic - same editor who does GAME OF THRONES, 14 July 2014
1st Book of the Broken Empire Trilogy
The book follows Prince Jorg, the last son of the hateful King of Ancrath who decides to embark on his own journey to earn his father’s favour and carve his own life. At first he starts as the lowest in a band of brothers who roam the roads, but by the end he is the defacto ruler of his men and a thorn in his fathers side.

Jorg is a controversial figure who will polarise readers as he is a killing, heartless, and most probably, molesting teenager, however you still can’t help but root for our a vigilante/antihero as he uses cleverness to overcome his enemies who have overwhelming numbers.

Its a very refreshing book but be warned if you don’t like the content of Game of Thrones you won’t like this (the editor of this book Jane Johnson is the same as GRR Martins). But I would 100% recommend this book. Give it a go.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expected more, 27 Aug 2011
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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There has been much made of the fact that Prince of Thorns features a rapist as the main character, that it is far too dark and bloodthirsty, that it bears great similarity to Joe Abercrombie, that it objectifies women. I would dispute every one of these points. Every single one.

Prince of Thorns features a young boy as the protagonist, someone who offers his band of brothers "a different sort of treasure" to keep them sweet, someone who has raped women but only ever off screen. I've seen far, far worse occurrences of rape in novels - for heavens' sake, Steven Erikson has women raping the bodies of dead soldiers in Memories of Ice. Yes, there is rape - but nothing worse than presented in historical novels that I have read. When you have a marauding band of criminals, there will be raping and pillaging.

It is a dark and bloodthirsty novel, I would agree - but, once again, nothing that hasn't been done far worse before. It is grim at times for sure. However, I would argue that grimy fantasy is still flavour of the month, so Prince of Thorns should prove popular on this point.

Prince of Thorns bears very little similarity to Joe Abercrombie and absolutely none to George R R Martin - I'm surprised it was marketed in the slipstream of A Dance With Dragons. For me, Prince of Thorns shares more with Wolfsangel by M D Lachlan. It is basically the novel that Paul Hoffman of "The Left Hand of God" fame wishes that he had written. There are dreamlike sequences of necromancers (rather than witches, as with Wolfsangel), and there is a relativity with our world (as with The Left Hand of God).

And the woman thing. There ARE female characters in this novel. And they act independently of men. Men do not drive their story. In this respect, it was perfectly satisfactory. You cannot write a novel about a marauding band of brothers and try to include strong women who are the equal of the men; it doesn't fit the tone or the passage of the novel. I can't actually see why people have complained about this fact.

Now that I have refuted these claims, what did I think of the book? Prince of Thorns is readable, but, at the moment, not much more. I would be interested to read a sequel to see whether my personal issue can be addressed.

This issue is that I felt as though I was reading the outline of a novel. There were events in Prince of Thorns, but they felt slight and as though there should have been more involved. I was left dissatisfied by my reading experience because I felt as though Lawrence was fully capable of producing better, but hadn't fleshed out Prince of Thorns enough to achieve this.

With regards to the post-apocalyptic world - well, yay for not being yet another faux Medieval world. But DO MORE WITH IT! The world surrounding Jorg could have been interesting and unique. It could have been like nothing in any other fantasy world so far created. Instead, it felt stale and very, very underdeveloped.

Like I say, Prince of Thorns was readable. I liked certain characters very much, I enjoyed the structure and I would want to see more from Lawrence - but I do want to see a significant improvement on Prince of Thorns. A very tentative yes from me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 29 Mar 2014
By 
k. "k." (Norwich, Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
If you like Game of Thrones you will like this. You have to get used to it jumping back to the past, but other than that a great read. Read them all now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was hooked!, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A real twist on historic and modern times, an engrossing read, couldn't put it down! Mark Lawrence can certainly twist time!
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