Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence Review (No-Spoilers)

 

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Today’s book is Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence This is the third and final novel in his wildly popular The Broken Empire series.This books follows Jorg’s quest of world domination to it’s end point. It’s hard to talk about final novels without spoilers so I’m mainly just going to sum up my whole thoughts on the series in general, as well as my feelings of Lawrence as an author

Firstly, this book is great, it builds on the previous two and is a very satisfying end to the story. The requisite payoff is there, and Lawrence delivers. All of the threads are tied up, and leave you wanting more, which is what the end of a series should do.

However, when I think about The Broken Empire as a whole I’m conflicted. Lawrence is an amazing writer, his prose has that lyrical, poetic quality that is sometimes lacking in fantasy novels. Ye the subject of the writing is often hard to stomach, the subject matter dark and disturbing. For that reason, I find it difficult to recommend this series. His next series, The Red Queen’s War on the other hand I can recommend without any hesitation.

I think this is where the series really shines, in the friction it creates. Jorg is a compelling character, someone that is is almost impossible to root for on the surface, he’s mean, and does terrible things. He is a broken person however, and it is not hard to see why he is the way that he is. Jorg is a victim, yet he creates more victims. He does good, but also bad. I found myself wanting him to succeed but also to fail. Would the world be better without him in it? Probably not, but not much better.

A huge theme in the series is about redemption, and whether or not it can be found. Many of the character look for it, Jorg most of all. I can’t speak much to what happens due to spoilers but what Lawrence does with that theme really makes the series for me. Darkness pours off of the page, getting worse and worse with each chapter, with each new book. Yet the novels don’t feel hopeless, or dreary and a large part of that is due to how Lawerence uses Jorg.

Overall, I would say that if you are a fantasy fan, one who doesn’t mind reading about mature themes. violence, and horror, then you should read these books. (Though you probably already have if you check those boxes). Otherwise, I have to leave it up to your discretion. The Broken Empire series has subject matter than can be divisive, and disturbing to some. Yet if you can see past the grime, then you will find a truly remarkable series underneath.

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Building a Fantasy Franken-Author

There are no perfect authors. No one can be the best at every aspect of writing a novel. For a while I’ve been kicking around the idea of creating the best possible fantasy author, Frankenstein style. My ground rules are no more than four authors. Five seemed to many and three too few. Also each author can only bring one aspect of their game. Without further ado here are my picks.

The Humour of Terry Pratchett: I think this is the least controversial of all of my picks. Terry Pratchett’s books are a goldmine of stellar jokes and gags. His novels are jam-packed them. The ability to write jokes on a page and not have it come off as too corny or out of place is rare, and that’s why Sir Terry gets a place on my list. 

The Characters of Joe Abercrombie: It’s no secret that Joe Abercrombie is my favourite author of all time. He was going to be on this list, no matter what. However that doesn’t mean that his place is undeserved. Abercrombie’s character building is my favourite aspect of his game. He manages to write character that are both larger than life but also believable and relatable. In my opinion, it’s this that makes his stellar First Law Trilogy as good as it is. Due to this, Joe Abercrombie gets the second place on my list.

The Prose of Mark Lawrence: I hear a sound. It’s the cry of thousands of Patrick Rothfuss fans crying out in rage. I get it. He writes good. I just prefer Mark Lawrence. His writing is gritty yet beautiful. Poetic and grounded, prose that pulls you in and holds you tight. This was the hardest category for me to chose but I feel confident in my pick. Lawrence gets the nod due to his strong, consistent prose.

The Worldbuilding of J.K. Rowling: First Rothfuss fans and now the Sanderson army. At first it seemed like Sanderson’s category to win but in the end I had to give it to Rowling. Sanderson’s world-building is almost too deep, so much so that I feel it would dominate the novel. Rowling however, brings an amazing balance of whimsy and magic with well thought out worldbuilding. Some may argue this, say that there are elements that don’t make total sense. *Cough* Time Turners. *Cough* The rules of Quidditch don’t make sense. But to those haters I say phooey. The world of Harry Potter is magical and real all at once. I feel I could do no better than the biggest, most important writer of my childhood and so I choose J.K. Rowling to round out the last spot of my FrankeAuthor.

What do you think? Do you agree? Of course you don’t! What would your picks be? Let me know!

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My 3 Favourite Books of 2017

 

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One of my resolutions this year is to blog a lot more, so I decided to start the year off with a quick rundown of my 3 fav books of the year.

1.Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: If I had to categorize this year with something, it would be the year that I really discovered Terry Pratchett. Having heard about him for so long, I finally decided to dive into his intimidating bibliography. I actually read Good Omens twice this year, I loved it so much. It’s funny, comforting, and thought provoking. I fell in love from the first chapter and stayed that way throughout the whole story. It’s one of those books that I know I’m going to read over and over again, catching new jokes and little tidbits with each re-read.

2.   Small Gods by Terry Pratchett: Following the Pratchett theme is Small Gods. My personal favourite of the Discworld books. Simply put, I think that this books is brilliant. The satire is razor sharp but still hilarious. The whole books hums along, pulling you with it. It’s Sir Terry at the top of his game and this book became my go to for getting people into the Discworld.

3.  The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence: Sometimes an author comes along and you just know that your going to love their work, whatever it is. Mark Lawrence was one of those writers for me. The Broken Empire Trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. I love gritty, dark, fantasy with horror elements. I will repeat, Mark Lawrence is my kind of a writer. The Red Queens War series was no different. I fell in love with Snorri and Jalan and voraciously read their books. (Don’t ask me why it took till 2017 to finish the series.) The Wheel of Osheim did what many series fail to do, finish well. I loved the whole series and I loved this last book.

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Prince of Thorns Review (No Spoilers)

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This week’s book is Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. This was a reread for me. Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors, and this was the book that hooked me on his writing. I remember hearing all the hype about PoT and being blown away when I finally got my hands on a copy.

Fantasy, and largely all fiction, is about making something that has already been done seem new and fresh. Broken Empire trilogy does this marvellously. It takes place is a Post apocalypse fantasy world. In this world there are numerous warring empires vying for the one throne. This is nothing new, and yet Lawrence pulls both off extremely well.

Yet Jorg as a character is where i fell in love with the book. Simply put he’s a jerk. He’s violent, kills and maims without remorse. Yet you find yourself rooting for him. The reader makes excuses for his actions and doesn’t hold him up to the same standard as other protagonists. He’s not a hero. but he’s my hero.

He’s like a forest fire that burns away deadwood. You wouldn’t want to come in contact with it but it’s good for the world in the long run.

Lawrence’s prose is very solid, engaging and at many times poetic. The book is a quick read, especially by fantasy standards, around 300 pages. The plot races ahead, easy to follow and extremely engaging.

I would recommend it to anyone that likes dark fantasy. There is a large amount of violence and other disturbing content, which may put some people off but if you can get through that then you are in for a seriously good read.

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