Late last year I managed to get Prince of Thorns in my grubby paws after hearing a lot of good things about it. It was an amazing read, and I really wanted to dig into its sequel, but I didn’t get around to it until now. So as a fan of Prince, I have to say, King of Thorns is even better than Prince of Thorns.
The world that Mark Lawrence has created is stunning. The fantasy setting embedded in a post-apocalyptic world, with magic mixed in for good measure, it all works really well. I love the interplay of knowing things that characters do not, as we know more about technology. But still they looks at the world with a kind of innocence (a word that has little room in the novel) that makes it fascinating.
The plot is structured in a nice way with two story lines that intertwine. In the present time Jorg’s castle is besieged, but most of the time is spent in flashbacks. The events of the past set things up for the present timeline. There is a lot of references back and forth between the two timelines, which makes the story cohesive, despite jumping around. I think this structure works really well for the novel. Just having a siege shows us little of the world, and now we get to see Jorg in two places at ones, giving us double the fun.
Jorg is still what you expect. If you did not read the first novel, the “protagonist” of this series is a real asshole. There is no other word for it. Even if he has a few moments of redemption, he is mostly plain evil. Yet despite all the nasty things he does, there is room for laughter. It may not balance out the nastiness that he does or causes, but it does make the novel work. If you can appreciate Mark Lawrence’s sense of humor you get drawn in. Not everybody may be able to see past the gruesome things, but it is worth it. Jorg can be an enjoyable character to read if you let him.
Grim and dark though it may be, King of Thorns is above all fun and beautiful. Sure there is a lot of darkness and pain, but Jorg’s witty perspective makes it amazing. Coupled with the interesting structure and the epic world that we get to seem even more of, King of Thorns is everything that its prequel promised and more. I can’t wait to get my hands on Emperor of Thorns to see how Jorg’s story ends.