King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
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Cannonball Read IV: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

By Alexis | Book Reviews | August 31, 2012 | Comments ()


I don't buy hardback books and I DEFINITELY don't pre-order new release hardbacks. With the notable exception of the final Harry Potter, Mockingjay, and now King of Thorns.

After reading the previous book, Prince of Thorns, last spring I immediately put this one on my watch list. Because never have I found a world as richly imagined, an honest to god dark protagonist (not one of those shiny heroes who just needs a little polish), and a truly original take on the classic medieval fantasy tropes.

Prince Jorg is now a king of a small, inhospitable corner of the empire. But the Prince of Arrow, on target to unite the empire under a single rule. But if there is any truth in Jorg it's that he hates nothing more than losing, and has no intention to let the noble Prince of Arrow roll over him. Unfortunately, Jorg has no army and scant friends. He burns for Katherine but she has more reasons to hate him than appendages to count. Jorg has also placed a bit of his own memory in a box (along with some spare change and a ticket stub from last Sunday) and has been told that he did so because the memory drove him to madness. However that memory may hold the only clue to defeating the Prince of Arrow.

This is not a fast read, you'll need to pay attention to the details or they'll escape from you. Jorg is hard to root for (in fact you may not). But it's like a great meal, you'll enjoy it thoroughly while reading and think back fondly after it's over. My only regret is that now I have to wait another year to find out what happen next.

If you haven't already read the spectacularly dark and enjoyable Prince of Thorns you would want to start there. Lawrence is not an author who feeds you the relevant backstory so this is not a series you would enjoy jumping into at the midway point.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it, and find more of Alexis's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • QueBarbara

    Based on your review, I spent the last seven days gorging myself on these two books. The first book was great but this one was incredible. You are right, it's not an easy read. I had scores of bookmarks that I kept referring to trying to keep track of the three separate timelines (Wedding Day, Four Years Ago, and the Katherine side story.) But it's so worth the effort.

  • space_oddity

    I just started Prince of Thorns a couple days ago and already cannot put it down. I may have to plunk down the money for the hardcover of this too...

  • Snath

    I'd read this on that art alone. Holy balls, that's kind of rad.

    As I'm getting older, I'm starting to buy more and more hardcover books simply because they're sequels that I desperately need. It's going to happen with The Doors of Stone, it's going to happen with The Winds of Winter, and it's going to happen with A Memory of Light. That's like...$75-90 right there depending on where I buy them. Ugh.

  • Justin Cognito

    Isn't this the book with a black character known only as "the Nuban"? Defined by being silent and savage?

    "What's a Nuban?" "Shut the fuck up!"

  • Dave

    no, this isn't that book. That book doesn't exist except for in the heads of some very strange people.

  • Anderbot

    I know I'm a full fledged member of Pajiba now in that I saw the word "loosing" in paragraph three of the article and cringed. Please fix before my eyeballs melt!
    Anyway, good review. I think I'll pick these two books up since I'm looking for something to read now that I've plowed through all the Game of Thrones books.

  • You'll have to excuse typos and such - generally when I write book reviews for cannonball I have my 3 YO hanging on my arm while my 5 YO is pelting me in the head with lego guys. Definitely check out the book however (I also got them after wrapping up my GoT tomes). -Alexis

  • mswas

    Fixed, @anderbot:disqus - hopefully before your eyes melted! We need every reader we can get on these posts.

  • Guest

    You reminded me to read Prince of Thorns (and eventually the sequel, I'm sure). Lawrence just made another KIndle sale.

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