The Broken Empire Series by Mark Lawrence – Review #4

The Broken Empire Series

Prince of Thorns

King of Thorns

Emperor of Thorns

Jorg Ancrath… A monster, a brother, a son, a nine year old child. We begin this epic journey of revenge and loss with thorns. Thorns. He was trapped, he ran and could not escape the barbed thorns, he bled, and scarred and watched. He watched as his mother and little brother William were murdered. The bandits were none other than knights of the neighboring realm of Renar. Punishment for this crime is dealt, and it happens to be a few horses, gold, and a worthless apology from their King. Ancrath’s King Olidan is a heartless man who cares not for his now dead son, William, and wife, he didn’t care about their deaths and only punished the neighboring realm to keep up appearances. Being the strong, cunning, and caring child Jorg is, he sets out on a quest to kill the man who ordered the murder of his mother and loved brother. He wants the retribution that his father couldn’t care to uphold. This path takes him to living on the road with his group of brothers who are a collective of thieves and murderers. He is accepted into the brotherhood and soon becomes the leader, the one who plans to return to his father and gain the strength to vanquish the Renar lands. This story follows a somewhat simple beginning, but works it’s way up to an exciting climax that no one could foresee from the first book (or even the second and third).

To start, let’s go with the characters. Jorg Ancrath for one. He is a violent, petulant child who is also cunning, smart, and a tactical engineer. This is an interesting character to get to know, and even like. I found myself hating and loving him at different points in the series. He has done some horrible things that I could never forgive, but he keeps an open mind as to what is right and what can help others, himself usually included. He grows as a character and person through the following two books after Prince of Thorns; he becomes older, wiser, more cunning, and more ambitious. The character is a successful Anti-Hero if I have ever seen one and carries the hearts of those who read him.

Other characters in the series include his father, his band of brothers, and his aunt, though she comes into the story later. His father is a unsympathetic, coward. He thinks to teach his children about life through violence. He hurts them emotionally to force them to understand life and sometimes makes them torture animals and even murder people to get a point across.

Some of his road brothers are actual good people who you get to like through the series, others are horrible pieces of crap who you end up wanting to die. Those few who have good morals, other than allowing for thievery, only kill and mortally maim when attacked, though most kill to kill and torture to pass the time. It’s not a nice group of guys to say the least.

The setting of this story is also interesting, the whole idea of it is so crucial to the plot, I didn’t understand it until about halfway through the second book. Mark Lawrence gives subtle hints as to what the time period is, but never fully explains until much later into the series. Obviously the series takes place in some sort of Middle Aged Europe going off the map, but their are names thrown about such as Shakespeare and Plato. You might be heavily confused, but just remember the author knows what he is doing, just go along with it; you’ll understand eventually.

Now Mark Lawrence’s writing is a whole new matter to discuss. We go through this series in the first person perspective of Jorg Ancrath, his evil mind, and psychotic tendencies. We see into the workings of him and that is really the most prevalent piece of sympathy written for him because he controls the story, but he isn’t afraid to show you his bad, even evil side. He tells the truth no matter and will continue to until the end. Mark Lawrence portrays him so well, that sometimes you get so caught up in the story you can never put it down. I think I may miss this story a bit later on, but I could always revisit it.

Finally though, this series is horribly gruesome! It has such repulsive scenes that I had to turn away from the book and breathe for a second before actually accepting what happened. These books are not for the faint of heart, but anyone who has read other epic fantasy of the sort, or even possible horror, such as A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones), or other similar works would be interested I think. (Just going by works I have read previously: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, A Song of Ice and Fire, and probably Stephen King in general from what I have read of him.)

The books individually are amazing and I really cannot wait to read Mark Lawrence’s other trilogy.

Prince of Thorns: 4 stars

Kind of Thorns: 4.5 stars

Emperor of Thorns: 5/5 stars

-Zachary

Also Mark Lawrence is coming out with a new book soon. He has assigned the lot of readers he has to promote it, I am one of those, and if I get a decent amount of spotlight on this blog post and the book Red Sister destined to hit the shelves on April 4th I can win an advanced reader copy. Thanks everyone and Happy Reading!