Book Review: EMPEROR OF THORNS

PrintE-mail Written by Alister Davison

Review: Emperor of Thorns – The Broken Empire, Book 3 / Author: Mark Lawrence / Publisher: Harper Voyager / Release Date: August 1st

It’s been less than a year, but Emperor of Thorns is a book long awaited by many – the conclusion to Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series. Final instalments of trilogies can often be an anticlimax, especially after a strong second book, sometimes disappointing the readers by not giving them what they’d either hoped for or expected. As the book’s narrator says: “Follow me, and I will break your heart.”

The story, like those before it, is split into two narratives; one set in the present, the other five years earlier. Naturally, the latter has an effect on the former, but the two are woven together with such skill that nothing is given away too early. For the first time, the author presents us with a different point of view, that of the necromancer Chella. It’s a shock initially, being torn away from Jorg’s narrative, but Chella’s story becomes a fitting tale of impending doom approaching the hero, heightening the tension as the Dead King gets ever closer.

Arguably, the success of a story hinges on its protagonist, especially when that character is also the narrator; in Jorg Ancrath, Mark Lawrence has created a controversial antihero, one who, in another tale, would likely be the villain. Jorg’s attitude and his actions are unsettling at times (he is a man who will take lives just to prove a point), yet the triumph of this series is that this vicious man, by being presented warts and all, actually comes across as a sympathetic human being. Jorg has grown through the course of the books; the amoral boy is now a king with a wife and child on the way, and now appears to be feeling the weight of his past misdeeds, prompting the reader to wonder if redemption is possible for such a person. We can’t condone what Jorg has done but, given what we know about him, we can understand his reasons without having to agree with them. Mark Lawrence’s writing makes us greedy, wanting to know more, turning pages to find out Jorg’s fate.

We can guess – several ideas went through this reviewer’s head – but the ending is more than the inevitable confrontation between Jorg and the Dead King. Yes, there’s a ‘final battle’, albeit scaled down to fit indoors, but the book stretches beyond that to offer a finale that is poignant, moving and – above all – completely fitting, given what has gone before. It’s a conclusion that is not only emotional and satisfying, but clever and unexpected, a fascinating twist within the concept of the narrative.

Here, then, is a book that promises much and delivers on every aspect. Like the previous tales of Jorg Ancrath it’s not pretty, but anyone who has read Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns will know what to expect. Be prepared to keep reading long into the night and maybe, just maybe, shed a tear or two over the final pages. Mark Lawrence has written a brilliant and enthralling tale – a trilogy that has gripped from the first scene to the very last – and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.




Suggested Articles:
With impeccable timing comes this new biography of George Lucas, perhaps the most important geek ico
The Language of Dying tells the story of a woman taking care of her father, who is in the final stag
For Jim Sturges Jnr. life is tough. Distinctly average in every way, he is regularly bullied by the
BBC Books has republished the three novels which began the Doctor Who literary phenomenon back in th
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

GEORGE LUCAS: A LIFE 08 December 2016

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING 08 December 2016

TROLLHUNTERS 08 December 2016

DOCTOR WHO BBC BOOK REISSUES 07 December 2016

IN CALABRIA 03 December 2016

PURGED 03 December 2016

AN A-Z OF CUMBRIA AND THE LAKE DISTRICT ON FILM 29 November 2016

THOUGHT X: FICTIONS AND HYPOTHETICALS 29 November 2016

BATMAN: A CELEBRATION OF THE CLASSIC TV SERIES 25 November 2016

FINK ANGEL: LEGACY 22 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144