Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Book Review - King of Thorns

Book - King of Thorns   
Writer - Mark Lawrence    
Series - The Broken Empire #2    
Published By - Ace/Voyager

[The review of the second book in the broken empire series, by Mark Lawrence, who is one of my favorite writers. This book I read on September 2012, and am reviewing now as part of my tribute to the release of 'Prince of Fools'. Check out the review of 'Prince of Thorns' too if you will.]
Mark Lawrence had already amazed me with 'Prince of Thorns', so when the sequel was released I didn't waste any time on grabbing it. And to be honest it was a lot different than I expected. There is that dose of unadulterated Jorg, but there is so much more. There are some newly introduced characters including one intriguing villain and a possible love interest as well as Jorg getting some maturity in dealing with his problems while being as selfish, arrogant and as unpredictable as ever. Although for me the author in trying to work with a bit more world-building and giving Jorg some new dimensions did lose a bit of the addictive rawness of the first book the overall plot with its twists and turns and the methodically whimsical yet delicious approach at telling the story more than makes up for it.

The plot is described from two timelines; one is the present in which Jorg attempts at defending his small kingdom against a massive force while getting married (!); the other is Jorg is from four years ago in which Jorg after becoming a king meets a kind of a rival and travels in search of allies to become the emperor. This two plot-lines are described a bit chaotically at different chapters while we also read some journal pages from Katherine (the love interest if you can say so) which were a bit slow at times but unravels the mystery very delicately (and cleverly by the writer) from a part of Jorg's past.

The character of Katherine was a good addition, although she initially felt a bit out of place but was later constructed very nicely, the prince of arrow is another carefully crafted character who is actually complete polar opposite of Jorg and yet through his brilliant writing Mark Lawrence still manages too make the readers root for Jorg in his campaign against the prince.

The world-building gets more established in this sequel and we get more glimpses of the post-apocalyptic nature of the setting and get more details on how this new world came to be. The magic system is also detailed more and the author manages to describe these parts of the setting skillfully without any wall of text describing them rather than through the progressing plot.

Although I did like this novel a lot and was impressed with the growing sense of maturity in the characters and world-building, somehow to me it lacked a bit of the rawness and aggressive anarchy of the first book. There were slow bits and some parts not quite seeming to fit in with the rest made me a bit worried and annoyed; and also some tiny bits that impressed me in the first book (like the little passages at the end of chapters) were missing from the sequel. While it might be completely due to my taste but I somehow enjoyed the 'Prince of Thorns' more.

This gets 4 out of 5 stars.

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