Review: Prince of Thorns

9579634Title: Prince of Thorns
Author: Mark Lawrence
Pages: 384
Series: The Broken Empire #1
Read via: Kindle

Review: The main conceit of this novel revolves around the notion of the “anti-hero.” Prince Jorg, the leading man, is a horrible person. He lies, cheats, steals, rapes, murders, pillages, plunders, etc. Despite these minor shortcomings, I held out hope that he would overcome his psychopathology and seek redemption for his wrongdoings. To a fault, I’m firmly tied to the conventional tropes of the genre, which did not set me up well to embrace this novel.

Author Mark Lawrence effectively communicates Jorg’s all-consuming rage and thirst for revenge that stems from the murder of his mother and brother. Everything is a bit too easy for him, though. He’s seemingly invincible to ghouls, monsters, and the strongest of men. Despite his desperate and improvised plans, he’s met with very little resistance when executing said plans. As you learn more about Jorg’s past, you realize that this may be by design, but it lowers the stakes of what is occurring. Additionally, Lawrence’s plotting feels haphazard and cobbled together. Jorg flits from place to place, driven by his random whims and impulses–with not enough time spent in any one location for major plot beats to hit as hard as they should. Overall, I struggled to invest in the characters and the plot, but, surprisingly, I’m hesitant to give up on Jorg and his potential for redemption just yet…even Darth Vader turned his back on the dark side, right?

★★½ out of 5

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