Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review Re-Read - Prince of Thorns

Book Review Re-read: Prince of Thorns
Up until recently I swore I would never re-read books. However, having re-read the Song of Ice and Fire series last year in preparation for A Dance with Dragons and thoroughly enjoying it as much as the first read, I have relaxed my stance somewhat.
As a result I have re-read some of my favourite books and enjoyed them all over again. There has been one book that I read last year and it bothered me. Said book is “Prince of Thorns” by Mark Lawrence. I heard excellent things about this book. It received extremely positive reviews, in fact the only negative reviews were from people upset with the level of violence in the book – not a problem for me.
So imagine my disappointment when I didn’t love it – See Review . Now as you can see from the review, I liked the story I thought it was good. I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about.
I can’t tell you how much this bothered me. Especially when Jacqui read the book and loved it and then my brother-in-law read it and loved it. I began to question myself. These were two people whose opinion I value and mostly share. Could I have been wrong about “Prince of Thorns?”
When I thought back to the novel, I realised I remembered very little about it. Sometimes this happens when reading 70+ novels a year, especially when reading a crime series as the books are very similar. I rarely experience this with a fantasy novel thought. I read my review of Mark Lawrence’s debut and it did not prompt any memories whatsoever. So why did I not remember this one. Was I just in a funk whilst I read it?
There was only one way to know for sure...
The truth of the matter is that I enjoyed the book a lot more than the first time I read it, but I broadly stand by my review. The things that irked me on the first read, i.e. the constant reference to historical figures in our world and the scene with the technology did not bother at all this time. I think this is more to do with my expectation this time round. It is not your traditional fantasy novel but more in line with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.
I also found the plot to be more structured. Jorg has a goal in mind and he moves to achieve that with more focus then I remembered.
However, I still found the supporting cast lightweight and the flashbacks were still the best part of the novel. Jorg was also a bit too blasé all the time for my liking. I would have liked him to have been humbled more. Even when he suffered a set-back he still did not seem to care.
I also enjoyed the necromancers, but thought they could have been so much more than vague threats.
Overall, I thought my marking was perhaps a little too harsh, but it “Prince of Thorns” is still a way (in my opinion of course) from being the great novel everyone seems to think it is.
My rating: 8.0