Musings on writing, lessons learned by an aspiring professional, book reviews, movie reviews, an occasional t.v. show review, and unashamed opinion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

King of Thorns

Honorous Jorg Ancrath is back, this time with a throne.  He's as mean, as clever, and as unmovable as ever.  Four years have passed since the end of Prince of Thorns.  An army is gathering to dethrone Jorg and claim his land, but they will let him and his people go free if he yields.  However, King Jorg does not like doing what he is told.  

Mark Lawrence has delivered an ambitious sequel, giving us a deeper look into the mind of Jorg.  Jorg is one of the most interesting characters I've come across in fantasy, and I can't help but enjoy the time I spend with him--despite the helping of disgust that comes with the experience.  For me, a writer has proven himself when he can make me feel for his characters.  It ain't all lollipops and sunshine with 'ol Jorg, but he gets at me in ways I can't explain.  He is one superbly-imagined, nasty bastard.

As a novel, I have to say that I didn't enjoy King quite as much as Prince.  It comes down to the structure of the story.  In Prince, there was a much clearer narrative--Jorg was moving inexorably toward a specific goal.  The flashback sequences were more... relevant to the way the story was revealed.  I never felt lost or bored.  King, on the other hand, didn't have the focus, the flashbacks felt awkward more often than not, and I lost track of things a few times along the way.  By the end, everything came into focus--and I enjoyed the climatic scenes and reveals, but it didn't wash out the experience as a whole.  I think the biggest issue was that I always wanted to be in the "Wedding Day" sections of the story, rather than the "Four Years Earlier," and journal parts.  The threat on Jorg's doorstep was all I cared about.

That being said, I still really liked King of Thorns.  I recommend, of course, that readers start at the beginning of the series.  I feel that the third novel, Emperor of Thorns, is going to be epic.  I think that Mark Lawrence is going to be a power-house name in fantasy.  I think everyone should buy and read Jorg Ancarth's story.  There is so much emotion in the pages of this tale--you can't help but be pulled in.    

I'm rating King the same as Prince--4 stars out of 5.  Didn't enjoy it quite as much, but that's just because of my taste in structure.  The writing, characters, and depth are all on par with Prince, if not better.  So a 4 it is.  

-By the way, did the audiobook again.  Great voice and narration like the last book.

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