Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
Review by Jacqui
Prince of Thorns is another first volume that I took a chance on. I had often seen it in the various book shops, and hesitated only as it was in hard back and expensive- thank god for Christmas and book vouchers!
This is the first of a trilogy, the main character is Jorg Ancrath, and you see the story through his eyes. He started as a royal prince loved by his family but after a traumatic experience ends up leading a small band of outlaws in raids through the countryside. You find out quite soon that Jorg is very young and this combined with the actions of the outlaws and Jorg himself may perhaps put some readers off.
This isn’t a frothy fantasy, Mark Lawrence’s world is dark, vivid, there is magic here, blood and suffering and though the violence is not graphically described, it is more implied so the effect is more powerful.
Lawrence writes well and has created a bleak and violent world, he describes ruins from a more advanced age and you follow Jorg and this band of brothers as they are called. There is not much detail of the ruins or the history of the world, but as this is only the first in the series, I can see this being build on in the following books.
Don’t get me wrong; though the book is dark there is fair bit humour which does lighten the tone. Not all the characters are evil, they are so well described that they have a depth that a lot of secondary characters lack so you come to care about them and about Jorg. You are with Jorg as he grows and faces the nightmares around him, and the reader is cleverly given the choice as to see Jorg as someone who has made a clear choice as to who he has become or has been forced to do so because of his past.
I really enjoyed this novel; the story worked its way to a natural conclusion which was the one thing I was worried about being the first in a trilogy. The characters are excellent and realistic; the world itself though bleak does pull you in thanks to the skills of the writer.
I did have a few minor moans to myself when Jorg seemed to win through when you thought it was not possible he could do so, and there was a scene towards the end of the book which I wasn’t too sure about. But overall a really good read, which I rate really high for a first novel. A good 9 out of 10