Review: King of Thorns (The Broken Empire #02) by Mark Lawrence

Book info:
Form: e-book, Kindle format
Genre: very dark fantasy
Target audience: adults


Honorous Jorg Ancrath has never exactly wanted to be a mere king but, as a mountainous strip of land falls into his hands he takes the crown and never looks back. A future emperor has to know his priorities, right? One step at a time…

Currently, in order to clear the path to his empire, he must defeat two Princes of Arrow, brothers Orrin and Egan. Many prophecies declare that a Prince of Arrow will be the next Emperor, able to unify the kingdoms and bring much-needed peace; the fact that one of the brothers marry Katherine of Scorron, Jorg’s beloved, only adds to his determination.

Meanwhile Jorg himself has to marry for political reasons – without allies even he can’t dream of keeping his modest crown for long. He is surrounded by enemies, visible and invisible ones; one of them, Sageous, can even invade his dreams. Finally faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. Fortunately playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.

What will happen during King Jorg’s wedding day battle? Something spectacular, you might be sure of it.

What I liked:

I am glad to say young Jorg has matured a lot in the second installment. Compared to the previous part he became positively mellow. Not that he’s become a nice, flawless hero of course, but, compared to his previous self,  that of a deranged, murderous child full of angst and something even darker, there was noticeable improvement.

There were several clever scenes in this book, most of them involving the clash of the “new-old” technology (like a nice Colt gun or a watch) with medieval artefacts. One of them reminded me strongly of Indiana Jones movies and therefore made me smile.

After reading this one I admit I am even more curious what happened to the Builders and why the humankind had to return to the level straight from the Middle Ages when it comes to material culture. Oh and little Miana, Jorg’s betrothed, is an interesting creature, definitely worth more place in the next book.

What I didn’t like:

I admit the whole story lost a bit of momentum. Constant jumps forward and backward in the plot line were a bit bothersome, especially at the beginning, before you get into the rythm of the narration.
Also the POV of Katherine was, in my humble opinion, not such a great idea; in most of her diary entries the girl simply didn’t have anything important to say and when she finally did, she disappeared (a spoiler, highlight to read or skip) most probably killed during the big blaze which consumed the Prince of Arrow’s army. I hope she will stay absent – she was getting annoying with her “I-hate-Jorg-I-love-hating-Jorg-so-much-that-I-almost-love-him” soliloquy.

Final verdict:

Not bad continuation of an interesting series but I found it weaker than the first part. Well, the ending will be decisive. By the way my review of the first part, Prince of Thorns, you can find here.

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