Tuesday, November 13, 2012

King Of Thorns - Mark Lawrence


 
 
King Of Thorns
Book Two Of The Broken Empire
Mark Lawrence
Ace

 Dark Fantasy

Spoiler Notice:  If you haven’t read the first book in this series (PRINCE OF THORNS) this review will contain major and unavoidable spoilers.  And you’ve missed a great book.

This novel begins four years after the events detailed in PRINCE OF THORNS.  Really, it begins at the end of those four years, then wraps back around itself to tell the story up to this point.  Some sections are labeled “Wedding Day,” and others “Four years earlier.”  Interspersed with these are excerpts from a journal kept by Katherine Ap Scorron.  It’s maybe not the easiest way to tell a story, but it’s quite effective.
 
At the end of the previous book, Jorg of Ancrath essentially destroyed the kingdom of Gelleth, and then went on to take over as King of Renar.  At the ripe old age of fourteen, he’s determined to knit together the Broken Empire into one vast kingdom, with himself as emperor.  But he’s got competition.  The Prince of Arrow is as good and just a man as you could find.  He wants to bring the empire together in order to give the people peace and prosperity and move the world forward.  He’s almost too good to be true, and Jorg feels ‘less’ in his presence.  That’s enough to ignite Jorg’s anger and fuel a new conquest.
 
KING OF THORNS is, in many ways darker than the first book, but the darkness comes in layers and shows new maturity in Jorg.  He’s no longer just a child upset with his father (although a certain horrific memory, detailed here, would make anyone agree with him.)  Now he’s a King; a man with responsibilities to his people, not just to the road-brothers who helped him get to where he is.  He’s known loss and sorrow, and his pain is far from over.  It’s really the pain of experience that makes Jorg who he is.  He’s still not quite likable, but he’s much more understandable this time.  The story, told as it is, in sections from the present and the past, is absolutely compelling.  The addition of Katherine’s journal – and her journey – makes for a deeper, more resonant story.  The final lines are memorable, both as plea and as challenge.
 
Rating: 8
October 2012
ISBN# 978-1-937007-8 (hardcover)

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