The September 2013 fantasy book for my sci-fi and fantasy book group Dragons & Jetpacks was Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence. The member ratings were between two and five stars, for an average group rating of 4.00 stars.
Please bear in mind that the following post will contain spoilers for Prince of Thorns.
My personal views:
- From what others had been saying, I was expecting much more graphic violence, and a more shocking opening chapter. But after reading George R.R. Martin, this really wasn’t that bad in comparison. It felt a little ‘so-so’, and Nic agreed with me on this one.
- I found the setting a little weird. I now know it’s a post-apocalyptic world, but the fact that Jorg and co found some technology and literally just glanced over it, after living in quasi-medieval society, seemed kind of odd.
- It was interesting having a main character that you can’t empathise with at all. It wasn’t so much Jorg’s violent tendencies, but his age combined with them. He often talks of rape and prostitutes, at 13/14. However, it’s based on medieval society, where boys would have become men at a much younger age, so that may explain his sexual experience.
- I didn’t like the world building very much at all. The nuclear explosion just came out of nowhere and was instantly forgotten afterwards. It felt really odd to have familiar figures spoken about and quoted, they felt pretty out of place, as well as the use of Latin.
- The ending was pretty bad. Lawrence completely skipped over the most interesting bit, it was over too quickly. I did enjoy the jousting scene though.
- I have no idea how to pronounce Jorg’s name! George? Yorg? Jah-org? Ich weiss nicht!
My rating: three stars.
- Douglas enjoyed the setting, but also expected the story to be a lot more violent.
- Helen was originally a little apprehensive about having a main character who acted so violently. However, she enjoyed the sci-fi element of the story and began to appreciate Lawrence’s writing, although she would have enjoyed more diversity within the book.
- It wasn’t the violence that got to Mpauli at first – it was the world-building, which he thought was sloppy – but he found that he had rather enjoyed the book by the end and is now looking forward to reading the sequels.
- Jim has already reserved the sequels at his local library, and admitted this was not something that he would have picked up by himself!
- Kirsty did not like how Jorg was written at all. She also got a little bored of the story and had to resort to skim-reading.
- Mpauli explained to the group that Mark Lawrence had previously stated in an interview that in Jorg’s world, all digital information as well as most books had been wiped, and the only ones remaining were old and well-regarded texts, like Plato and Shakespeare.
- Kyle was put off of Jorg completely as a character.
- Jennifer really enjoyed the story, and has read the other books in the series.
- Rob thought the book was good, but it didn’t particularly grab his attention.
- The only characters that Abi really liked were Makin and the Nuban. She made an interesting point when she said that she thinks Jorg admires their morals, and will maybe become more like them in the next two books.
- Nic didn’t understand the use of Corion in the plot (neither did I particularly) but said he will probably end up reading the next two books for closure!
- Wayland enjoyed it, and admired Jorg for his cleverness.