Review of Mark Lawrence’s PRINCE OF THORNS

There is a genre in Fantasy called GrimDark (as opposed to HappyLight, my personal Fantasy genre fav.) and PRIINCE OF THORNS revels in its genre grittiness. Remember these word: Gritty. Grim. Dark.

See?  Grim.  Dark.  Brooding-ness.
See? Grim. Dark. Brooding-ness.

The narrative rides on the shoulders of Jorg (pronounced Yorg? Who knows.) a princeling among mercenaries. All these mercenaries are happy, clean, well-dressed and exceptionally well-mannered. They actually don’t ever kill anyone, they just ask politely for their lands and wealth. In fact, they are content to their lot in life, not bent on conquest, and pretty much paragons of honor, every one.

So, actually they’re all terrible people who are opposite in every way to the previous paragraph. And the story is about bloody, terrible revenge, and it’s all gritty, grim, and dark. I had a single bone to pick with the fact that scrawny teenage Jorg could outfight hardened mercenaries, but hey, it’s Fantasy.  Things happen.

The story is fast, and gritty, grim, dark, etc. and the writing is the same. It’s a typical revenge quest set in a fantasy world with an unusual twist (maybe the best part, once you figure it out).

GrimDark itself might be classified as a reaction to sword & sorcery and its heroes mounted on milk-white stallions, and this story exemplifies the genre, for better and for worse. One thing to note: PRINCE OF THORNS is not for the squeamish reader.

PRINCE OF THORNS is the first book in a trilogy of books, but definitely the best of the three.

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