‘Prince of Thorns’ by Mark Lawrence: Fantasy Book Review.

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The Bottled Imp – Episode 27
We at Imp Towers crack open the pages of ‘Prince of Thorns’ Book One of The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence, published by HarperVoyager in 2011.

‘The Thorns taught him a lesson in blood.’

So begins a tale of destruction, murder, pillaging and immorality. But what is the price that the privileged young royal, Jorg Ancrath, will have to pay? Tuning his back on his royal upbringing, Jorg leads a band of dangerous and nasty outlaws in a serious of seemingly pointless raids and atrocities across a land that is in chaos and at war with itself. To what ends is this justified? Why would a group of hardened thieves and murderers follow and take orders from a mere child? What is Jorg seeking and will his life of crimes catch up with him?

There’s a sticker on the cover of my copy with Conn Iggulden proclaiming, “Excellent – on a par with George R. R. Martin” Is that statement true?

Martin’s acclaimed series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is now the benchmark for fantasy fiction, and some may say, fantasy TV too. So to say that a novel is on par with Martin is high praise indeed. But is it justified? I can see this point of view. They are quite a few comparisons to make between the two books but I can also see enough differences to make Prince of Thorns stand on its own two ironclad feet. Martin’s masterpiece is complex and dense whereas Prince of Thorns is a notch or two less complex. Martin’s novels are from multiple viewpoints whereas Lawrence’s are first person. To mentions two examples.

I understand why publishers want to put stickers like this on – to boost sales, and that’s fair enough. The more sales a publisher has then more they’ll want to publish fantasy and that’s a good thing. But buyer beware of all these claims because you won’t get exactly another ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ but you’ll get something that is equally as satisfying.

“Lawrence just raised the bar for compelling fantasy”
Peter V. Brett

“Absolutely stunning… jaw-dropping”
Robin Hobb

Check out our review of the book series of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

The Bottled Imp
Exploring the Realms of Fantasy.

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Presented by Ken Boyter

Produced by Julian Newman Turner

Music by Greg Breden

Artwork by Richard Nairn