Customer Reviews


100 Reviews
5 star:
 (72)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, crisp and sharp
In his afterthought at the end of Emperor of Thorns Mark Lawrence reflected on the risk he took in deciding that the Thorns works (unlike the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy) would indeed finish emphatically and conclusively as the trilogy that the story demanded. In considering whether he should have surrendered to commercial opportunism and dragged more books out of...
Published 9 months ago by TOMunro

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good start
I enjoyed the thorn series so much I was gutted when it ended as it did. On one hand it was refreshing to see an author tie a great series up and not use it as a cash cow, on the other hand I am pretty sure he could have got another brilliant book out of it. Now his new offering is not to dissimilar from the Las bit enough that it feels like a new book. So hats off for...
Published 8 months ago by Mr. M. C. Russon


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, crisp and sharp, 5 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In his afterthought at the end of Emperor of Thorns Mark Lawrence reflected on the risk he took in deciding that the Thorns works (unlike the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy) would indeed finish emphatically and conclusively as the trilogy that the story demanded. In considering whether he should have surrendered to commercial opportunism and dragged more books out of our favourite anti-hero he wrote "in years to come when I'm eating cat food cold from a tin I may wish that I had." Well, Jorg's story may have been brilliantly told, but Jalan's is just beginning and I have to say there is no risk whatsoever of Mr Lawrence eeking out his years on unheated petfood.

For a book that has parenthood as one of its many themes, it is perhaps invidious to start by comparing Jalan to Jorg. No child likes to be compared to their siblings, preferring any judgement to be based on the absolutes of their own merits, rather than the relative ones of their relatives. But for those of us who came to Lawrence's writing through the intoxicating wickedness of Jorg Ancrath, it is important to see if that magic could be sustained in a different vessel.

What is there that people will recognise?

Well there is the elegant simplicity of the writing. Mr Lawrence does not batter the reader around the head with the size of his vocabulary, he simply arranges words and sentences in ways that entrance and surprise. This is a book which is impossible either to skimread or to put down, and readers would be well advised to start this at the beginning of a weekend where they have plenty of free-time (and an understanding family). Jorg gave us more quotable quotes per chapter than any of the contemporary works of fantasy fiction. Short pithy statements that turn our thinking on its head and reveal a truth we always knew but had not seen. There is enough in Prince of Fools to spawn another welter of poster contests as readers seek to find an image to harmonise with the words.

A couple of examples that tickled me were these - but I am sure quotes will sprout up like spring daffodils across the pages of Goodreads once the book is officially released.
"Enjoy the world while you can I say. A shallow enough philosophy by which to live, but shallow is what I've got. Besides deep is apt to drown you."

"It's good to steer a man in the direction they want to go. It blurs the line between what he wants and what you want."

There is also the persuasive perspective of the first person point of view. You can not know a man until you have walked a mile in their shoes, or read 500 pages in their head. All people, be they heroes, cowards or criminals believe their actions to be the best most sensible response to the situations they find themselves. We came to a grim understanding of the moral free id that was Jorg, we also come to a grudging admiration for the decadence driven dandy that is Jalan.

The glimpses of a post apocalyptic society that has sunk into medieval magic and necromancy provides a fascinating backdrop and opportunities for us to see so man familiar objects in unfamiliar ways.

There are also some familiar faces, characters that walked the Broken Empire with Jorg are seen here from a different angle. Jalan's story runs side by side with Jorg's their paths crossing but not quite touching, as though two zig-zagging paths of light and dark ran side by side.

There is also the character driven nature of the plot, our heroes hack their way through the landscape shaping the story by the force of their personalities.

But while there is that similarity of style, stature and setting for the writing, that reassuring family resemblance between the Prince of Fools and the Prince of Thorns, there are also differences.

Jalan, though imbued with much of Jorg's eloquence and wit, is a character of quite a different mettle. The opening scenes of both books set the tone for their leads. We met Jorg in the aftermath of a conquest and learned of his cold dead heart through his reactions to it. We meet Jalan also fresh from a conquest of his own, and similarly drawn in by the passion and the peril that his pre-occupations engender.

Jalan is an anti-hero in a different mould and his journey is a different kind of one. Jorg was returning home, when we met him his road journey reaching its conclusion. Jalan's is about to start.

Jorg commanded the stage like Shakespeare's Richard III, casting a shadow over the other players. We loved Makin but we saw him as Jorg's foil, his conscience sometimes, but never his equal. Jalan shares the limelight with Snorri, a man with his own story and with more than enough heroism for two men - which in the circumstances is quite fortunate.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly entertaining, thrilling journey, 5 Jun. 2014
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Review

I consider myself to be a fortunate individual, I’m often sent books to read and review. I always hope to repay that trust of a review copy with something to say about the book. I’m not a critic however and will not review a book I didn’t like, which means not everything I’m sent gets added to the blog (just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean it will not be amazing to someone else, eg, many love Harry Potter, me…cant stand them). So when I actually ask (well beg) for a book I really hope it’s a book I’m going to love, because otherwise it feels like a total let down to those lovely PR ladies.

All that preamble though is just background and flannel to wrong foot you, having read the Broken Empire series I was 99.9999% sure that this book was going to be excellent and that I would love it. Well having just finished it today I’m now 100%. I described it on twitter with its limited characters as “Prince of Fools is excellent: humour, Vikings, fighting, magic, Vikings, fighting, more humour, lots more fighting. Love it” .

That small description is it in a nutshell, The book centers on Jalan Kendeth a Prince of the realm, and a total utter coward, the author has done a wonderful job of transporting Harry Flashman from Victorian England to his own fantasy world, having read many attempted and failed copies of the humorous flashy it was wonderful to see someone finally pull off a witty, sniveling coward, but one with hidden depths…..when he has to save his own skin.

Enter his enforced partner and total opposite, the Northman Snorri, a big blonde viking, as brave as Jal is cowardly, a man haunted by loss. The pair are forced on a journey, one for the survival of his family and the other for the saving of his own skin. Wrapped in magic the 2 head north into the ice-bound wilderness……

If you have read any of the Broken Empire books you will already know Mark Lawrence is an excellent writer, combining a precise style with a clever depth of invention and world building (did you read his author bio? he is a bit smart), if you have not read any …well why not, go buy them now and this new book because its got Vikings, axes, swords, fighting, zombies …well undead but close enough.

Overall a highly entertaining, thrilling journey, funny, dark and fulfilling, for me one of the best fantasy titles I have read in quite some time. I have laughed out loud and wiped a damp eye, this story has it all.

Very highly recommended

(Parm
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Prince Jalan> He'll do anything to avoid being a hero..., 5 Jun. 2014
By 
Jalan Kendeth follows that finest of literary traditions, that of the scoundrel. You know the type, those platinum rogues who you should despise due to their looser than loose morals, but who manage to raise a smile every time they appear. I can’t help but cheer whenever I find a new name to add to that list. What of Prince Jalan then? Why does he deserve inclusion in this most select of clubs? Much like my personal favourite rogue, Sir Harry Paget Flashman, Jalan is a hedonistic cad who will actively avoid anything remotely resembling hard work, effort and more often than not, thought. Also in common with dear old Flashy, Jalan is a stone cold coward. He lives by the axiom that it is far better to run away so he can live to fight another day (as long as it is implicitly understood that the other day in question is somewhere off in the far, far future).

Helping others? Being a productive member of society? Making a difference in the world? Hell’s teeth, that sort of nonsense is for other people. The good prince would much rather spend his time indulging in his latest, in a long line of, debauched activities. He would happily wallow in sleaze all day every day if he got the opportunity. It’s ironic that your literary scoundrel often expends far more effort and energy avoiding a task than they ever would if they had just done a job in the first place.

In order for our fictitious rascal to suitably flourish, they require a ying to their ever-disreputable yang. The Viking warrior Snorri ver Snagason is everything that Prince Jalan is not - honourable, heroic and a stable family man to boot. Circumstance throws these two opposites together and the resulting relationship between them is one of the novel’s many highlights. Snorri is, at least initially, blissfully ignorant of Jalan’s true nature and views him as something akin to an equal. As a grudging respect builds between both men they slowly begin to bring out the best in one another.

The lands that Jalan and Snorri travel through have a wonderfully evocative feel. I love how they mirror our own world, large chunks of historical Europe appear to be represented in some form or another, but also manage to be completely different in other more fundamental respects.

A quick Internet search also reveals that some of the characters from Lawrence’s previous series, the Broken Empire trilogy, appear in Prince of Fools. I’m sure this will please existing readers and if, like me, you’re a recent convert will entice you to seek out more.

As their quest continues to unfold, the Prince learns more of how Snorri lives his life and it forces him to confront his own failings. He slowly begins to question his behaviour as well as examine the nature of what real heroism and cowardice actually mean. The plot gives Lawrence ample opportunity to ponder some pretty lofty topics. I don’t think I was expecting such introspection, but it’s a welcome inclusion and adds some genuine depth to both of the main protagonists. There is some fantastic writing on display, often insightful and also dryly humorous. I was impressed by how the plot is sprinkled with many of these little philosophical moments.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still also plenty of action to get your teeth stuck into. Snorri is from a seafaring warrior culture so fighting is always on the agenda. As the book builds towards its climax, Jalan and Snorri fall in with a larger group of Vikings and the scene is set for confrontation between the forces of good and evil. Blood will flow…

If you’ve never read this author before, Prince of Fools is a damn near perfect introduction to his work. On the evidence presented by this book alone, Mark Lawrence is obviously an author well worth any fantasy fan’s time.

Once again it appears, in a move probably worthy of Prince Jalan himself, I am more than fashionably late to this particular party. I can only apologise for my tardiness. I fear I have made an outrageous faux pas by overlooking Mr Lawrence’s body of work thus far. I shall endeavour to rectify this scandalous oversight as quickly as is humanly possible. I look forward to reading more as soon as my schedule will allow, in particular, book two of The Red Queen’s War.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, as always, 5 Jun. 2014
As a fan of the Broken Empire series I started Prince of Fools with some mild apprehension. I love the way Mark Lawrence writes, but other people, who already read the book, often used the word `different' to describe it and I didn't like different. I wanted the same, whatever this particular blend was I previously liked so much.

I opened the book and got different. It was a great story, that I started to enjoy from the first moment and with a definite `Mark Lawrence-ness' quietly rumbling deep down at its core, but it left me wondering if the magic will somehow once again reach out of the pages and stun me into falling head over crazy, as before.

And soon enough the book twisted and turned, it changed, considered, conspired until it accomplished its aim and I was utterly captured, the prose overwriting my concepts on beautiful, heart stolen away giggle by giggle, line by line, opened with a secret key, cradling me until the dark caressed my daylights into nights.

At the same time Prince Jalan Kendeth, third son of the Red Queen`s third son, became just as trapped in the legendary Snorri ver Snagason`s eloquent tales, only to find them turning into cold reality around him that would melt him, freeze him, hammer him into a destiny written by a blood-soaked game played behind hidden veils, drawing their lives toward a single point and time upon which a dream may wake from blood and sacrifice.

I found this book a lot more colourful than the first three, every location of the journey painted with attentive, precise strokes of a thousand shades, characters, interactions, even movements felt more vivid, described in a way that leaks the words into pictures, fiction swallowing your reality, opening a door you willingly enter, forgetting your body far behind.

Closing it left me with one of those peculiar moods that you might experience after listening to a captivating melody or watching a sunset. Not something you want to discuss straight away, but preferring to stay quiet, smiling, enjoying and preserving the feelings it created inside.

And now, that I`m ready to speak, my only fear is that I might not find the right words to tell just how much I loved it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Thorns but still very good, 8 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With Jorg dead (and staying that way) Mark Lawrence needed a new character and Prince Jalan is very different and he does take a bit of time to get used to but he does develop wonderfully. The book works if you have read his Thorns series but although they run in parallel I think you could enjoy this book without having read the others although you be missing out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 2 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mr Lawrence has done it again - the Broken Empire was going to be hard to follow but he's done it in some style. Amusing and thought provoking writing throws together two characters who shouldn't be so hilarious while fighting off the undead but just are. Can't wait for the next installment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! Better than Game of Thrones., 31 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a word...brilliant! If you liked the Game of Thrones series then you will love the writing of Mark Lawrence.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Lawrence., 20 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reminded me of Ciaphas Cain in the Sandy Mitchell Warhammer Novels. The main character is outwardly a cad and a rogue but there is more to him, hidden to both the reader and the character himself. It is that sense that has you continually hoping he will 'come good' and do the right thing. I found myself laughing at his audacity as much as I found myself shocked by Mark Lawrence's other main character's boldness in the Prince of thorn's series. In other words I was saying 'He did not just do that' and laughing, rather than saying 'He did not just do that!' and being shocked!

Overall, another brilliantly written book by Mark Lawrence that I really enjoyed. Keep them coming.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another beauty from Mr Lawrence!, 6 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What's to say?quite simple really,if you liked the broken empire then this new twist within the same realm is bloody good read.Prince Jalan is very much the cad with blackadderesque tendencies,but he does have the looks too boot.I would definitely recommend this.enjoy:)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good book it starts a little slow but hang in ..., 26 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very good book it starts a little slow but hang in there as this book is very witty and funny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews