King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Rating 9.7/10
Pitch black, unpredictable, thrilling, shocking and bloody compulsory read.

‘King of Thorns’ is book two of ‘The Broken Empire’ and if you haven’t read ‘Prince of Thorns’ yet I advise you to skip this review and start reading the first book. It certainly is an experience you’ll not easily forget.

Why? Because ‘Prince of Thorns’ blew my mind. Sometimes you get hooked into a story, like a fish on a hook.

Think about this book as a cannibalistic butcher’s big bloody meat hook and then you’ll get my idea about the kind of story you can expect. Not everyone likes that kind of story, so you’ll have to ask yourself if you can handle some brilliantly written, seriously messed-up stuff. This is the kind of story that provides psychologists with work.

I believe there is a way to force readers to continue reading and that’s by evoking strong emotions. Lawrence managed to do that to a lot of readers by creating Jorg Ancarth.

In this ‘dark dantasy genre’ there have been some pretty bad characters, but few as dark as Jorg. Let’s just say he makes some real live freaks of our own history look pretty silly and not spoil the surprise.

Usually a one dimensionally, evil character is just annoying. Lawrence however managed to fill Jorg with a realism and depth - quite brilliant.

In the first story you get introduced to Jorg’s traumatic life and for this you easily take pity on him. His charming charismatic personality even made him likable and because of Jorg’s complete lack of a conscience the book was completely unpredictable. Therefore providing not only a pretty rough story but also a lot of surprises.

All right, enough about book one, just read ‘Prince of Thorns’ and let’s start with book two.

Sometimes it is hard for a sequel to meet its expectations. ‘King of Thorns’ met mine and convinced me again of Lawrence’s brilliance. Not by doing more of the same stuff, which I would have loved anyway, but by evolving the story into something with even more depth.

Where book one was mainly a brutal, action-packed ride through a plot that surprised me at every turn, book two takes a slightly different route.

The focus of this story is mainly about the inner workings of Jorg. The mental conflict and the change from the black and white prince into a slightly older, more developed king. As in book one there’s the overwhelming enemy force, but next to that and even more important Jorg has to fight himself at every step. He still is not buggered by any conscience but he comes to an understanding that every evil committed comes back around in some way.

In other words, Jorg changes. He grows up, evolves into a young adult. An exceptional one, still being able to function without much of an conscience but one that slowly acknowledges emotions.

Acknowledge actually isn’t the right word for it, because Jorg seems to do his best to convince himself and us the readers that he’s the same. That he doesn’t care in who he puts his blade, as long as it takes him closer to his goal and if he gets it back of course.

Another awesome thing about this story is that there are two perfectly balanced timelines. The first timeline takes place in one day with a now 20 years old king Jorg. The second piece of the story takes place roughly three months after the ending of book one, making it easy for those of us that have read the first book a while back, to catch on.

There were other elements I loved as well, such as the expanding post-apocalyptic setting and the big question if it is all right to support Jorg.

In my opinion this story solidifies Mark Lawrence as a solid name in my book collection and he can be sure that any book even nearly matching the first two will have a spot reserved.

Pitch black, unpredictable, thrilling, shocking and bloody compulsory read. I just can’t find enough words for praise!

This King of Thorns book review was written by

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