Monday, 14 January 2013

The King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence

It took me the upside of a month to read this book. It wasn't that I was super busy, but because at first, I found it stupid.

The series so far: This little kid called Jorg had something terrible happen to him. He grew up into crazy killing machine and swore revenge because of it. He traipses around the country side with a band of merry (NOT) followers he calls brothers. They pretty much just go with Jorg on his random travels in Jorg's quest for ... well if you want to read the titles of the all the books in the series, I'm not spoiling anything really. It's a dark, gritty book full of death and determination.

Characterisation is the big draw card in this book. This is where Lawrence becomes a master in his own right, his ability to write a first person character that clearly evolves because of the experiences he put Jorg through in the book was mind blowing. I think it is such a great feat for 2 reasons. Firstly if you wanted to draw up an action and reaction grid for all the major plot points you would be able to see a direct link between Jorg's action and how he then perceives himself and the world. Secondly it makes it a compelling read, in a very insightful way. If u asked me to give a character description of Jorg, I could write you an essay and them some. I can talk to you about his childhood, his dreams and goals, his motivations, his loves and hates, his relationship with his family and all in a pretty large amount of detail. There is not a single character I could do that for in any other books, even from the books by authors I consider to be master's of characterisation.

The biggest problem I had was I found the start of the book really difficult to read. The story line was complicated and jumped time so much that for the first part of the book you had very little idea what was going on in present time or what had happened in the past. It took so long for me to grasp the story line it was only in the last 200-ish pages I got into the book and finished it in a night. Please note, the book is 464 pages by amazon's account, so it took me a month plus to get through the first 200 ish. The most frustrating thing was waiting for it to make sense, it wasn't even an enjoyable suspense ride when battles were occurring. When Lawrence wrote about Jorg and his brothers getting caught up in trouble 'four years ago' I knew he was going to be fine anyway!

While Lawrence hasn't blown me away with this series and left me gobsmacked for years at his awesomeness, I will be pressing that kindle edition button when it is released. I am hoping he has a new or more efficient way to catch me up on the year's in between King of Thorns and the next instalment Emperor of Thorns.

If you want to read the longer version of the review, it'll be up at bfb's blog.

3 out of 5 - little boys stuck in thorn bushes


  1. I was struck by the characterisation in Brent Weeks' trilogy when I read it a few years ago. I'd have to say it was one of the more adult fantasy novels I have read in a long time. Another favourite of mine would be the Daughter of the Empire series of books.

    1. Yea, Brent Weeks has most certainly grown as an author! I guess because I read so much fantasy I real a lot of good and bad characterisation and when it's good I always want to share it with others. It can make or break a book for me that is for sure! Weeks' Night Angel trilogy had some great characterisation, some other less good things too though.