Prince of Thorns
by Mark Lawrence
After three years on the road, committing violent raids with his fellow outlaws, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath returns to his father’s castle to reclaim his right as heir to the throne.
While this isn’t particularly gory or graphic, it is definitely dark. You can feel how war-torn the land is, and how troubled the main character is as he deals with his past traumas and travels around with his disreputable crew. I think that’s a good show of how well written this story is, but it also took some easing into the beginning of the story before I was really hooked because of the dark atmosphere. However, once I was hook, I was hooked.
The world is big and interesting with plenty of people, politics, and secrets. The characters don’t go through a great deal of growth, but they’re developed, and a lot is revealed about the main character, Jorg, as things progress. There’s fighting and (not-so-romantic) relationships and magic and creatures. Despite taking some time to get into this story, I really enjoyed it. It tells in full the tale of Jorg’s ambition to become king after abandoning his father’s kingdom, and is a solid opening to the Broken Empire trilogy, which I’m looking forward to continuing with the second book.