Announcing the winners of the Fandom of the Thorns Competition


Art by Kareem Freshpots Mahfouz

Thank you very much to everyone who took part in this little contest and shared their thoughts and feelings on Mark’s books. It was very difficult to choose only three out of over forty superb entries and I wish I could have a book sent to every one of you.  

Very many thanks to guest judges Alicia Wanstall-Burke and Joy Cronje for helping with this difficult decision! The three winners we finally agreed on are:


Garrett Rentz:

“There is a beauty to Mark Lawrence’s writing that I’m hard pressed to find anywhere else. Masterfully written characters and beautiful prose outlining a mysterious, yet familiar, world. Lawrence has a wonderful way of making you fall in love with characters as broken and flawed as any the world has seen. There’s something in Jorg beyond the hatred and cunning that feels as basic to all humans as breathing. The same can be said of Jalan, perhaps even more so than Jorg. You find yourself relating with these over the top characters and occasionally cheering them on through their sins. I believe that beyond the grit and gore there is something for everyone in a Mark Lawrence book. A longing for a familiar, fractured human being to win.”


 Jorg Ruber:

“Happened upon this fantasy series because of the name I share with the main protagonist. Did not expect to find him to be the complete opposite of me. Damn this is one cold bastard. He makes Joffrey look like someone I would let watch over my kid.
The Thorns series is a literary powerhouse on the same level as A Song of Ice and Fire. Fast paced storytelling with gruesome action and face slapping plot twists.
If I would reccomend one series to read, even if you are not a fantasy fan, it is this one! Pure gold. But black gold at that.”



“For the longest time (really a little over a year), I’ve found nothing new in the fantasy genre to really grip me like my favorites did. A year and a half ago I discovered all my now-favorite authors – Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Patrick Rothfuss, and Dan Wells. Since then I’ve been picking up and putting down books like I open the refrigerator doors on a Sunday afternoon – often and without purpose, and gaining nothing from the action. Many times I’ve given up on books after only a few dozen pages, something I’d never done before. I’ve re-read each of my favorite books multiple times rather than start a new book.

A few months ago, I was browsing a bookstore at the mall and came across Prince of Thorns, which I’d heard about often and had been on my to-read list for a while. I bought it, because I simply cannot visit a bookstore without walking out in possession of a new book; a weakness and habit I have a hard time breaking, or even wanting to break.

For months I put off reading it. It was promising; I was looking forward to it; I was excited. And that scared me. I was sure I would be let down.

And then, last weekend, while packing up for my next week on base (I’m in the Israeli military), I realized that I only had two unread books on my shelf. One of them was Prince of Thorns. I packed it.

I started it last night, nervous and excited and fearful at the prospect of another letdown.

I only had to finish the first page to know. I’d finally found my next favorite author.

The way he writes Jorg is incredible, and I find myself marveling at his words every other sentence. Some fantasy authors are the greatest world builders, plot-writers, character crafters, and magic-system inventors, but they use words as mere tools; a means to an end, a way to convey the scene and the action and the information, but not anything inherently special. Mark Lawrence is not that kind of author.

The closest I can come to describing his writing style, using past reading experiences, is Marcus Zusak channeling Brent Weeks.

The writing, and the story itself, had such a hold on me that I could not tear my eyes away from the page even when a siren went off on base, wailing unheeded into the empty night. Luckily it was nothing.

So thank you, Mark Lawrence, for such a story, such an experience. I will be buying the rest of the series as quickly as is humanly possible.”


We would also like to list a few honourable mentions, though once again, this list could go on a lot longer:



“Mark, I don’t actually want the free book. Ever since reading Prince of Thorns, I’ve greedily gobbled up everything you’ve written. I *want* to purchase this book when its released, to show you my support.

That said, I still wanted to say my piece. What I love most about your books, is rich personal perspective of the protagonist. You are able to draw us in, to make their pain and hate and victories feel like they are are own. And when the ugliness of the world sinks it fangs into your protagonists, I love most of all when you show us how they outwit those snakes by biting them right back. There are few things more satisfying, or maybe human, than that kind of primal defiance.”


David Wade:

“What I love about the Broken Empire Trilogy is that I have never, in any book I have read, nor movie I have watched, experienced one character develop so realistically–and the ironic part is that its fantasy! Jorg Ancrath’s development from reckless fourteen-year-old to father-husband-man-responsible-for-the-continuation-of-humanity is truly mind-blowing. The way his conscience reemerges after the demonic tragedies of his childhood is so subtle, so artful, so beautifully well-written; and its even more realistic because we are not left with a remorseful hero trying to make up for the sins of his past, but instead find ourselves in a conversation with a conflicted soul struggling with the path of his life-long ambitions and newfound humanity. All I know is that the whole thing changed the way I look at what could be done with a book.”


Kalman Balla:

“Mark Lawrence took the Earth, turned it out, raped it, fried it crispy in the sulphurous hell, chopped it, then he populated it with evil-hearted rogues, red-handed monarchs, dreadful sorcerers and voluptuous princes.
The Broken Empire is exactly the place where the readers are able to sympathise with a ‘brotherhood’ consists of murderers, or where even a coward can be a hero.
And you still ask me why do I love Mark Lawrence’s books? ‘Christ-on-a-bike’ did you not listen?”


Miguel Boronha:

“Only Mark Lawrence’s unique aptitude to fully understand both the light and the darkness of the human condition, together with some of the best prose available in today’s Fantasy genre and groundbreaking world-building, can fully breathe life into characters that are so complex, dark, but, overall, remarkably human.”



“to be rapped to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back:

I like Mark’s books and I cannot lie
My love for them I can’t deny
Coz when he writes them words
they’re a mighty, mighty force
They explode just like a bomb–
They go boom! Better ready your brain
Thought shrapnel’s gonna rain.
Even if you didn’t notice
It’s poetry in all its goodness
Oh baby, the words they stay wit’cha
And your world is richer.
Some person tried to warn me
That Prince of Thorns is so icky
Ooh, Rump-O-Snooty
You think you’re the Book Police?
Well, sue me, bite me,
Coz it touched my heart so fiercely.
The Empire’s bitchin’,
The story is just so stirring.
Jorg’s mean, tough
And often he gets so rough.
The world can be quite grim
Where hope is just so slim,
But life is pain as much as joy.
If you want, go ask Tolstoy!
So holla (yeah!), holla (yeah!)!
I proclaim Mark’s books are dope.
Shout it! (yeah!) Preach it! (yeah!)
Mark’s books they’re just so dope!

Lawrence got game!”


To view all entries please visit the books acknowledments section. Congratulations to the winners and we hope you carry on enjoying Mark’s works!



  1. Reblogged this on Brain-babies and commented:
    Fantastic feedback from “Broken Empire Trilogy” fans… I enjoyed the books myself on a whole new level and would absolutely, indefinitely recommend Mark’s work as your next read!


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