Today I bring you my review of book two in the Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence - King of Thorns. You can find my review for book one here.
(Read on to see my opinion of this book change - in a positive way - while writing this review. I wrote this review shortly after finishing the book, I just now got around to posting it.)
This is a very hard book to rate. It's been a couple of days since I finished it and immediately after finishing it I rated it 3 stars. But now that I've had some time to let it sink in I'm leaning more towards 4 stars.
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book even though at first I found it very confusing as well. It took me nearly 20 chapters to figure out that when a chapter said 'four years earlier' it meant the whole chapter was set in the past. I'm completely blaming this on the fact that English is not my first language and the fact that I was listening to the audiobook. (I'm NOT saying the audiobook was bad, because I love the narrator. Sometimes it's harder to follow a story through the audiobook than when you're physically reading a book.) Anyway, having established this, the fact that the story alternates between the past and the present is something that makes the writing simultaneously interesting and confusing. (Or maybe that's just me *shrugs*)
Most of the book tells us about what happened to Jorg and his band of brothers in the four years that have passed since defeating his uncle. Those are the 'past' chapters and they form one storyline.
The second storyline is called 'Wedding day' and is set in the present time. In these chapters we follow Jorg - who's now 18 - on his wedding day. We quickly find out it's not your ordinary kind of wedding day because they're under attack, which kind of hinders normal wedding day procedures!
We also get a third storyline in the form of Katherines - Jorgs aunt who he has been lusting over ever since meeting her - journal entries. She provides a different perspective on Jorg and what happens with the prince of Arrow.
The past chapters fill us in on what has happened in the four years that have passed. A lot of those things lead up to certain events happening in the present day. It was great to see how all those events came together towards the end of the book.
Even though Jorg is still one of the most morally grey characters I've read about, I can't help but symphathise with him and his cause. He is one of those characters that goes through a ton of growth throughout the stories. In the first book he is this extremely self-centered young boy who's only intent on killing and revenge. In this book he really starts to change, going from being very egotistical to actually thinking about other people. He no longer kills just for killing's sake, he actually stops and thinks about his actions once in a while. This doesn't mean he's no longer a bloody bastard, btw!!
Because everything is centered around Jorg the other characters aren't all that fleshed out. We don't really get their backgrounds. Except for Katherine, who we get to know through her journal entries. She wasn't my favourite character!
The book has some forms of magic, but they aren't overly present troughout the whole story. There's fire magic and necromancy, but we still don't fully know how they work or what the limitations are.
The reason I didn't like it as much as the first book at first because I didn't feel as connected to the characters. I was also missing the sarcasm of the first book. But, you know what, the more I think about it and while writing this review, the more I realise I actually like this story a lot and I'm curious to what will happen in Emperor of Thorns.
Have you read this one or any other book by Lawrence? What did you think of it/them? Let me know in the comments.
Bye for now