[Review] King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Thursday, July 11, 2013 K.Z. Freeman 2 Comments

The guy who wrote this is "on par" with Martin can go screw himself. Because this is better.

I found these pages scattered, teased across the rocks by a fitful wind.

In my previous review I stated that I hate hate hate Mark Lawrence. That hate has turned into something far worse (and far deadlier) after reading the King of Thorns, because no one should write this good and live.

I led my bride from the chapel with the applause and hoorahs of the nobility ringing behind us, almost but not quite drowning out those awful pipes. The bladder-pipe, a local Highlands speciality, is to music what warthogs are to mathematics. Largely unconnected.

With this instalment, Mark has managed to ruin the character that was Jorg Ancrath. He ruined Jorgy in the most heinous way imaginable. By making him even better. From the ruins a phoenix rose, you might say.
Jorg’s story has always been the struggle of a boy’s heart, an ‘evil’ and blood-thirsty boy, it has to be said, but one who is struggling none the less. This time around, we find Jorg pushing forward, cracking wise-cracks (?) and pushing in age and stature, while becoming a real pest for the Prince of Arrow who all the prophecies foretell of. The Prince is to be Emperor or some such, but screw that. Jorg has other plans for the blond bastard, plans that may or may not involve the sharp point of a sword.

I had wanted my uncle’s blood. His crown I took because other men said I could not have it.

We find Jorg roughly where we left him in Prince of Thorns, but it’s not the same Jorg. There’s other things on his mind now, besides being Emperor. His rather silly infatuation with Katherine makes him do some unexpected things, his bond of brotherhood likewise, and his love for other people brings out stuff which no reader is likely to expect.
What I wanted to read more about is The Builders, I admit, but that’s something I’ll get more of in later instalments, hopefully, for I managed to catch wind of there being a new book next year, The Broken Empire setting the stage once more for some slaughter. (I would spill our more but that bastard Lawrence wouldn’t say more)

But let’s get back to this beastly tome. I will say this, if Mark doesn’t bring back a certain character in the next book I may just have to pay the assassins double, then hire a necromancer so they may murder him twice (death-threats, oh my!).

Anyway, it seems this part of the story is more about redemption, where the first was largely about vengeance. The writing itself retains what the first book offered and builds on it; although there were two instances in this book where I thought the author’s voice came through just a bit too much and there was a bit of rambling involved. But hey, I’m a generous sort and forgiving one page in 600 is something I can pull off.

Mountains are a great leveller. They don’t care who you are or how many.

I sped through this book as if the pages were burning. That alone is proof enough of its greatness. I don’t think I yawned once, a pretty solid achievement for the author, I dare say.
I may just decide to recall those hitmen after I get my hands on the Emperor of Thorns, but we shall see just how far that book shall stretch the limits of my generosity.


Emperor of Thorns Review 

Prince of Thorns Review 


  1. “The guy who wrote this is "on par" with Martin can go screw himself. Because this is better.”

    Wow. I have never seen this actually written down before, but this is also how I felt having read these books. I love G.R.R. Martin’s book series and absolutely adore some of his characters. However I also find it a little frustrating sometimes. It’s always almost. This almost happens, she almost gets there, he almost does this and so on, and it just goes on forever and the storylines spread out so much I actually end up forgetting what I was hoping to happen in the first place. I felt Jorg’s story was much more rounded and even with the unexpected twists I had a reassuring sense that the book was going somewhere which I feel I sort of lost with A Song of Ice and Fire.
    Great, energetic review, I enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks Mitriel :)

      I prefer one character that is incredibly interesting and just read about that character and his merry band, than jumping between multiple chars all the time, but that's just me. I did enjoy Martin quite a lot, but found Lawrence to simply have a writing style more suited to my tastes. It's funnier, wittier, generaly more interesting and engaging and simply more fun to read. I have to say there is no character of Martin's that I like better than Jorg.