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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still reeling.......
Well - not too sure what to say! A very different story to the usual sword and sorcery, it certainly kept me reading, downloading books 2 & 3 immediately after finishing the preceding one. I've never read anything where the hero was a masochistic psychopath - and here's the twist - you actually like the guy and want him to win! I'm still getting my head around the ending,...
Published 8 months ago by l3jog

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3.0 out of 5 stars This book is as good as the two earlier instalments in his trilogy about ...
This is not so much a review as a letter of appreciation and bafflement.

This book is as good as the two earlier instalments in his trilogy about a boy with pretty clear schizophrenic and antisocial personality disorders. Jorg Ancrath is possibly the best anti-hero I have ever come across in any fantasy I have ever read. To be able to create such conflicting...
Published 2 months ago by Jon Eriksson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still reeling......., 30 Mar 2014
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Well - not too sure what to say! A very different story to the usual sword and sorcery, it certainly kept me reading, downloading books 2 & 3 immediately after finishing the preceding one. I've never read anything where the hero was a masochistic psychopath - and here's the twist - you actually like the guy and want him to win! I'm still getting my head around the ending, but if you want to read something really different from the usual poor orphan kid becomes ruler of the earth same old same old then this is the one for you. Awesome!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My best read this year, 30 July 2014
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What can I say? this is a fantastic last book ending a fantastic trilogy. I have never read anything like this where the main character was such a b*****d but one that you want to win the war - Jorg is horrible if you ever had the misfortune to meet him the sensible thing would be to run to the other side of the world - which unfortunately if he disliked you ( as he does most people) he would follow you across the seas and deserts to stick a knife into you. The only safety from Jorg is your reading his story safely from your chair. This book along with Prince of Thorns/ King of Thorns is amazing. give it a try- although once finished every other bunch of characters compared to those within this book will be a bit bland. For me nothing has yet to compare to the complex, interesting and dark character of Prince Jorg of Ancrath. Although Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy is pretty masterful (but that’s another gushing review).
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, 2 Aug 2013
Mark Lawrence is the author who brought to us Prince and then King of Thorns. Both excellent reads. The first book a quite unique experience for me in fantasy and the second which I felt actually surpassed it! (No small achievement) So I confess I went into Emperor with a certain amount of trepidation about whether or not the author could pull the rabbit out of the hat yet again. Personally I think he managed to pull not only a rabbit out of the hat but a long line of knotted hankies and a bunch of other random magical props! I loved it and in fact would go so far as to say it is the perfect way to conclude the series.

How to begin. If you're reading this review you've probably already read the first two books and so the violence and bloodshed that make up a part of Jorg's life are more than likely known to you. If you haven't - get out of here right now and go and read these in sequence. Believe me when I say you can't join this story half way along in some half ditched attempt to find out what's going on. Get thee to the beginning! Also, this review will be written as though you have read the first two books and have a certain level of knowledge.

Okay, I always try to write a review that doesn't contain spoilers and this review will be no different. Obviously with the proviso that a review of a third book is actually already 'spoilery' before you even put pen to paper! The very fact that there are sequels clearly means that the lead character has survived thus far after all.

So, again, with Emperor we have a dual time line taking place. Jorg has grown a little older but we still flit to his earlier self. He's just as ambitious as he ever was and still equally afraid of the memories he carries around with him (quite literally). His father remains the only person who can instill fear in him - something that never happens to Jorg at any other point or with any other foe no matter how terrible. Looking at the current time line, Jorg's wife is pregnant. He still thinks occasionally of Catherine but he's now set his sights on attending the meeting of the 100 and becoming Emperor. He's going to this meeting of his peers and he's determined that nothing will stand in his way (and knowing Jorg you kind of think he'll make it happen). In Jorg's younger timeline he's travelling the world in search of knowledge and also support. Led on by the ghost of one of the builders from the past he goes from pillar to post - almost without knowing it being led by the nose - and yet even under those circumstances never failing to cause surprises and manipulate even the most dire circumstances to his advantage along the way.

As with the last book you need to think of the bigger picture. It may feel at points as though you're simply reading a little anecdote from here or there. A faint reminisence of something from Jorg's past. But this isn't the case. The stories are, of course, all entertaining by themselves but this isn't the overall intention. Lawrence is the master of looking at the whole and nothing contained within these pages is unnecessary. Every word plays a part. Lawrence wrote a masterful story and then deconstructed it in such a way to make it both incredibly compelling and much more difficult to second guess than if it was told in a linear fashion. This may seem like a fairly simple plot device, or even like a lack of straightforwardness but for me it made all three books riveting. That's not to say that I didn't sometimes feel like growling when I was dragged away from the current story, just as it reached a critical scene, to be taken either backwards or forwards to another part of Jorg's timeline. And yet, no matter how begrudgingly I might tear myself away before I knew it I was completely immersed in the new story which then seemed to gain equally compelling status. To be honest Jorg's stories are gripping and in this final instalment we get to see so much more of his inner emotions. The more human side of him if you will. I'm not trying to say he's become a bit of a simpering faint heart but he has developed. He longs for certain friendships, he doesn't really love his wife but he cares for her in his own way, he's scared to be a father. On the flip side of course, and just in case you're getting all worried round about now, he's still a raging psychopath who stabs and beheads people first and asks questions later. I'm not saying it's big or clever but the way in which this is done never really gives you much sympathy for the victims because they're frankly usually pretty horrendous and the sort who you can't help thinking he's doing his world a favour in getting rid of. Okay, there are a few victims who you have a degree of sympathy for, who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time but I think Lawrence has a reason for all this. Put simply I love what Lawrence has done with all of these individual threads. Basically I think that in writing a character such as Jorg there are very few limits. He will do and say virtually anything and as a reader you're never quite sure what to expect. You still hang on in there each time a new situation arises and foolishly expect Jorg to act in a typical fashion and of course he never does and this is his surprise.

The other thing that I loved in this last instalment is the resolution and the coming together of the story in a way that leaves you no internal niggles. The answers to all the 'whys' and 'wherefores'. Okay, I'm not talking about a straightforward show and tell here. But, as far as I'm concerned every piece slotted into place for the grand finale. This all comes together like a symphony. Taken individually and the pieces might be pleasing to listen to, interesting or amusing even but put them all together, the full orchestra and now you're listening to something amazing that will for a moment make you sit perfectly still and listen, take you some place else.

So, as a fairly brief synopsis, we have a convergence of worlds here. As in previous worlds the veil between things living and dead has grown thin. The Dark King and his necromancers, also not content with their lot in life and equally as ambitious as Jorg, are crossing that veil. The other rulers are also all trying their hand for the ultimate prize. Jorg, blood thirsty and afraid of nothing is marching forward with his retinue and another faction, not previously acknowledged as a threat, now enter the fray - the ghosts of builders past. They're all going to come together for an explosive ending. It's a brave ending and I think it's perfectly fitting not to mention has a couple of twists that I didn't see until they were upon me. It's obvious that the author had an amazing time writing this character and threw convention to the wind and it makes it a great reading experience. As a result Jorg is unlike any character I've ever read before. He's terrible but in such a way that I still want to like him!

Be in no doubt though - there is violence here not to mention other scenes such as torture that some people may find uncomfortable to read. You've been warned.

End result. A great trilogy. Dark fantasy at it's grimmest and an absolute must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read, 31 July 2014
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At first I thought this was going to be a remake of games of thrones but as I read on I became more and more hooked on a completely different story and I couldn't have loved it more. It a great change to have the good guy be more of a terrible man and I sincerely hope more people will read these books and love it as much as I have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I take my hat off to Mark Lawrence., 24 Aug 2014
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This man is an honest writer who has the balls to stay true to himself. In fact this trilogy may now be my top rated due to the honesty he writes with and maybe the single best ending in recent times (hard to explain without revealing spoilers).
He writes so beautifully painting a vivid picture but at the same time, manages to keep within the feeling of the book; crude, violent and bloody refreshing.
If your a fan of the likes of joe Abercrombie, Ryan Anthony, Brent Weeks etc and other current big hitters but feel they are missing something, well that something is in every page of this trilogy.
A big statement I know but give it a read and you will come to understand brothers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some issues, but still a strong end to a unique series, 5 Dec 2014
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I absolutely loved the first book in this trilogy for its strong writing, its interesting setting (medieval meets post-apocalyptic) and above all, its ultra-compelling protagonist, Jorg, a man who enjoyably blurred the lines between anti-hero and outright psychotic villain. Book Two, while still an enjoyable read, seemed to meander slightly, and didn't grab me quite as much. It will probably depend on taste, but for me, this third and final installment ranked somewhere between them.

Half of the alternating chapters flashback in time by a few years and continue the story, began in book two, of Jorg's travels round the Empire, developing his power and knowledge and learning more about "the builders" and their technology. This fills in some of the blanks that left that end of Book Two slightly confusing, notably where and how Jorg got a gun. Like before, this aspect was very episodic and there were some parts I definitely enjoyed more than others. A little pruning would potentially have been useful here.

The other half is in the "present" and was much stronger on the whole. Miana, Jorg's child bride, is now fifteen and pregnant with his heir, congression, the four-yearly event where all the kings gather to attempt to elect an emperor from amongst their numbers (so far unsuccessfully) is upon us, and the Dead King, merely hinted at in earlier books, is basically attempting to take over the world and fill it with dead things. As this brief summary suggests, this section is action-packed and dramatic, and it provided some of the best show piece scenes in the whole series, even if at times, I sometimes felt the author almost had too many plot lines running simultaneously.

There was a lot of character development going on here, which left me torn. On a technical level, I admired the way the author humanised Jorg and had him start to feel regret for his earlier actions and concern for others. On the other hand, I have to admit that I missed the driven psychopath of book one. Indeed, while I accepted him gaining a conscience, I could have done without him gaining self-doubt. His absolute drive and self-belief made him a fascinating character to me. That said, I loved the strength of his feelings for his new baby - genuinely touching. And considering these feelings, and considering how he tends to react when people mildly inconvenience him, I was waiting with baited breath to how he'd react to someone who tried to kill his son. Let's just say I wasn't disappointed.

As far as other characters went, most of the "brothers" took a relative back seat here, but it's still a strong supporting cast. I loved Miana (one of the few people who ever feels like a match for her husband) and I was hoping they'd develop a strong relationship and he'd get over his weird teenage crush on Katherine. She was a little more interesting in this book now she'd developed dream powers, but I still couldn't understand the depths of his obsession, especially with what feels like the perfect woman for him at his side and pregnant with/mothering his child.

I can't give too much detail without spoiling some plot points, but there were some scenes I was almost certain would be in this book, based on all the rules of storytelling, such as Jorg having a final showdown with his father or some combination of seducing/killing/conclusively getting over Katherine. I got the impression that the author avoided these scenes to avoid cliche, which is understandable, but I felt that the novel lost something as a result. Sometimes things become cliches for a good reason.

The ending was conclusive and suitably dramatic and mostly hard to predict (although I figured out one of the key plot point a few chapters in). On the other hand, the ending was extremely complicated and convoluted, and left me wondering what the hell had just happened. Still, you certainly can't accuse the author of giving readers a cop-out.

That feels like quite a lot of complaints for a 5-star review of a book, but that really sums up how I feel. It was a great read, well-written and unusual. I admired the way it took risks and though for me, some of them didn't quite work out, I'd rather a few brave plot choices that I didn't enjoy than more of the predictable same old same old. As with the rest of the series, this isn't for everyone, but if you'd read this far, I'd definitely recommend this as a fitting, if sometimes frustrating, conclusion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting end for a wonderful series, 2 Nov 2014
‘Emperor of Thorns’, by Mark Lawrence, is the third and final part of ‘The Broken Empire’ trilogy. After finishing ‘King of Thorns’ I promised myself to immediately start reading Emperor of Thorns, but alas instead of a few weeks it took me a few months to finally get to it to my sadness. Having really enjoyed King of Thorns I didn’t expect to enjoy this last part to the same extent, but I was proved happily wrong. I am proud to say that the only thing I regret about this book is not having read it sooner. Mark Lawrence succeeds in giving a wonderful ending to what was a wonderful trilogy, making it a pleasure to read from start to finish.

Emperor of Thorns begins where King of Thorns leaves off, following with the formula of dividing the story into two separate storylines; one in the past and one in the present, both following Jorg and his quest to become Emperor. The plot itself is simple, and follows into what can only be expected through the title and the developments in the previous two books: the time to choose the Emperor has arrived, and Jorg is fully determined to claim the title as his own. However, his father has plans for the empty throne as well; thus leading to the main focus and development of this book.

Emperor of Thorns lacks the same extent of action as the previous two, instead being more political in nature, but succeeds in getting the story through. Jorg is no longer as unstable as he once was, but still is broken, and he strives to achieve his aim amidst memories of the past. In addition to this a new point of view is introduced via Chella, arch-enemy of Jorg, with the main purpose of putting through certain information for the reader. Her sections provide interesting chapters, though in my opinion underwhelming in comparison to Jorg’s. It is, all in all, a wonderful story and plot, though if anything expected. This isn’t a bad thing though, as the book delivers splendidly. Not everything is good though, and similarly to the preview two books there are some apparent deus ex machina and less interesting chapters, along with reliance on Builders’ technology used to push the story along. This, however, doesn’t affect the quality of the book as a whole, and the reading experience as a whole proves to be as wonderful as that of the previous books.

However, what truly impressed me about the book, much like in King of Thorns, was the prose. Emperor of Thorns is beautifully written, and though the plot is something which I would most likely avoid in the hands of another writer, Mark Lawrence makes it work wonders in combination with the characters. It is fascinating, and shows the mark of a great writer. In addition the ending is great, with a few unexpected twists that make the story all the better. The book ends the trilogy in a fitting manner, with nothing to regret.

As such, Emperor of Thorns is definitely a must read for anyone who has read the previous two books. Though it has its faults, the story only gets better, and it provides the ending and closure that one yearns to see from even Prince of Thorns. It sits comfortably on four out of five stars, and is something which I don’t regret at all purchasing. Rather, my only disappointment is that I have finally finished the trilogy along with Jorg’s story, and there is nothing left to read of it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A NEW DEFINITION OF CUTTING A SWATHE THROUGH YOUR ENEMIES, 4 Oct 2014
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Breathtaking. Terrifying. Unique. Big words eh? But, for me, they apply here. This trilogy has built up in pace, detail and output with each new novel until this final episode hurtles to conclusion. So, what do my extravagant words mean? Well, Jorg's actions are, almost literally, breathtaking; when faced with a problem, he just hacks his way through it without any attempt at justice, logic or any of the normal rationales that other heroes would apply. At one point, Jorg cuts the head off a companion just so that he can have something to throw at an opponent (OK, so it is disputed, but I still believe that's why he did it). As a reader, you just don't know what Jorg will do at every step because he really will do anything at all, often illogically.

This capacity for the main hero to act utterly remorselessly, illogically and apparently suicidally, coupled to a character without any redeeming features at all, is unique in my experience. And I loved it.

But the 'terrifying' label is the most troubling. I really hope that no mal-adjusted adolescent and socially dysfunctional boy is sitting in his bedroom reading these books. They will teach him that Jorg's approach of simply killing anyone in his way; any gender or age and in the quickest way possible, works wonderfully. Unlike other fictional characters, Jorg doesn't need a good reason to kill someone, he does it simply for convenience or, occasionally, just 'cos he feels like it. If a person is a problem to you, just march up to that person and kill them and the whole problem just goes away. Quite a lesson for a pale and twitching youth weaned on 'World of Warcraft' video games and who thinks that Lara Croft is a real person.

As I have said in my reviews of the earlier books, I'm not enamoured of the amount of 'magic' that is in this trilogy, and there's even more of it in this final novel. Mark Lawrence can (and does) make absolutely anything happen simply by playing the 'it's magic' card. The reader can't think "well, that's implausible" in a world where absolutely nothing is plausible in the first place. So it's best to just hang any vestiges of your disbelief on a very high peg and let the story wash over you.

This trilogy is a ridiculous story. The hero is an appalling individual. The extensive use of magic in the plot takes away any chance of a reader actually following the plot and projecting what might happen. But it is still one of the best trilogies of its kind that I've read in a very long time. The writing style is not the best that I've come across but it is still far better than most, making the story line fairly zing along. All of the characters are colourful, vibrant and leap off the page (it's just a shame that some don't survive very long!). And you just have to keep coming back to the main staple of this trilogy; the unique character of Jorg.

It's been a blast reading these books and I will certainly read more from Mark Lawrence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Future post-apocalyptic fantasy at its best, 2 Nov 2014
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Emperor of Thorns completes a great trilogy where fantasy flirts with science fiction. One I recommend to any reader who is happy to suspend morality and wade through seas of fictional corpses.

Ending any series brings regret. While I enjoyed the final book, two things diluted my previous pleasure.

First - Prince & King of Thorns are exclusively from Jorg's warped point of view. Mark Lawrence's gifted first person perspective strapped me into the heartless mind of our psychopathic anti-hero. However evil his actions, I understood his motives and empathised with his ambitions. Naturally, that weight of investment diminished new chapters from Chella's perspective. Swapping Jorg for Chella breathed life into an army of the dead, heightening the final confrontation, but I chaffed until back on the road with Brother Jorg.

Second - the finale and Dead King's identity ventured too far into magic and the afterlife for my earthbound tastes. I doubt this will be an issue for other readers, but will say no more to avoid spoilers.

My highlights were Jorg's maturing character growth despite violent and shocking reversions to his baser instincts, mathemagic like Asimov's psychohistory and fresh insights into the Builders who are us or our descendants.

Future post-apocalyptic fantasy at its best. Where else would royalty make their castles in car parks?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want it to end ... But I couldn't put it down!!!, 1 Aug 2014
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Brilliant read .... Just a view of what could happen ... I wanted jorg to go on and on ... In this book he can ..but not as we've learnt to live him!! The author was right to leave us wanting more .... But there are so many spin offs that he can do from just thes three books ... Can't wait for the next one. If you love game of thrones you'll love these ... Different but with the same gripping story line
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