Review of the Broken Empire Series by Mark Lawrence

1.5/5 Stars

The premise behind the Broken Empire series seemed like something I was going to enjoy. I was looking for, like I have said before, some new, fresh fantasy series to read and new, fresh authors. The Broken Empire series came highly recommended by every website, bookstore, Amazon—anywhere I looked really. So I gave it a shot. I’m not going to say that I am upset that I gave time to Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns. I don’t want my time back or anything like that. But I am left scratching my head a little bit as to why people were giving this series so much acclaim.

The opening scene of Prince of Thorns is gritty and real.Lawrence deals with real world violence and the realities of a world that resembles Medieval Europe. If you are a peasant man who is conquered, you’ll probably be killed. If you’re a peasant woman, you’ll probably be raped, then killed. Children hold no real value. Feudalism is brutal. Life is hard and short. I am okay with these elements. I am a fan, after all, of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and FireThese elements of the Broken Empire series closely resembled those. But, these brutal, real-world elements quickly became over the top. I understand, being a history teacher, how brutal the world can be. And, to a certain extent, I want some reality in my fiction. But if I want to read endless hours of the brutality and corruption of man, I’ll just pick up a newspaper. It became so over the top, at times, it was even unreal.

I also know that there are unsympathetic people in this world. There are cold heartless bastards. But the main protagonist, Jorg, again was just over the top. We see him first when he’s just a 14 year old kid whose king father thinks is dead. There is no humanity to this character. Maybe I missed something. I don’t know. But unless we’re talking about Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin—and even those close to them spoke of human qualities, however fleeting—a character, in my opinion, needs to at least seem half human.

The story is told in the first person. That is different and, for a while, I liked it. But then it became old. It might be because I was frustrated with the story in general, but I just got tired of listening to the thoughts of Jorg, the protagonist.

The one thing I did really like about Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns was the twist and spin on the world in which it is set. I won’t give anything away, just in case you want to give it a shot, but the world and time setting are certainly not what they seem and that was a very cool element to the story.

I grudgingly finished Prince of Thorns and I could not bring myself to finish King of Thorns. I give Prince of Thorns two starsand King of Thorns one star. I will not be reading the third installment,Emperor of Thorns.

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