Book Review: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
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Artificial Intelligence research scientist turned author, Mark Lawrence, delivers an epic first installment to his fantasy series The Broken Empire. Prince of Thorns is an action driven story full of magic, swords, and is clearly inspired by the classic fantasy novel format. Lawrence takes his novel in a new direction, though, by focusing on the darker side of story telling. Through which, we are delivered a brutal, violent, and yet charismatic antihero with Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath.

Jorg Ancrath is hurled on his dark journey when, as a young child, he witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and younger brother while trapped in a thorn bush one dark and stormy night. After his father, the king, refuses to exact revenge, he sets out on the road, escaping the clutches of his father’s wrath and corruption. On the road, he becomes the leader of a band of ruthless and violent thugs. Once Jorg is able to build his strength, he sets out on a road to exact revenge for death of his mother and brother without the help of the king.

The fantasy genre is no stranger to dark and tragic events within its pages. What stands out about Prince of Thorns is Jorg Ancrath’s willingness to embrace his own darkness. This book questions the morality of our choices, and puts the standard “Good vs. Evil” we see so often in classic novels under close scrutiny. Jorg often finds himself in committing an evil or violent act, but justifies his actions due to the horrendous circumstances he experienced. This is also the literary device used to make him more relatable, along with seeing such a young character overcome nearly impossible odds.

review by jd mcgibney [website]

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