“If you’ve ever wanted to read a first-person book about a hero who is also the darkest of villains, try this out. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before.” — Rick Riordan
“This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut.” — Robert V. S. Redick
“Dark and relentless, Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two-in-the-morning page-turner.” — Robin Hobb
“Mark Lawrence is a master storyteller and this book is the proof. The characterization is superb, the story is enthralling and incredibly powerful. The most original and captivating fantasy fiction I’ve read.” – Leona’s Blog of Shadows
“A hard-edge tale of survival and conquest in a brutal medieval world well told and very compelling, it is different than anything I have ever read.” — Terry Brooks
“Lawrence’s Prince Jorg is one delightfully twisted little bastard. But you may find yourself having a little sympathy as you get to know him.
Blink, and you might even find yourself rooting for him to succeed.” — Peter V. Brett
“Mark Lawrence’s debut offers many delights, including economical yet elegant prose and compellingly brutal action sequences, but the introduction of Jorg Ancrath to the Canon of great fantasy characters stands as his principal achievement here.” — Anthony Ryan
“Lawrence’s protagonist is vicious, immoral (as distinct from simply amoral) and concerned only with his own desire for revenge. Who would cheer for this asshole? Well, you will, if you keep reading.
Lawrence’s writing is excellent: efficient, stylish, and perfectly channeled through Jorg’s view of the world.” — Sebastien de Castell
“Prince of Thorns simply; ‘works’ because it carves its own space within the fantasy genre and sits there. It doesn’t try to be something else – it simply is what it is. It’s a quick read, a dark read, a thrilling read, a unique read and a must read.” — Marc Aplin, Fantasy-Faction
“Told in Lawrence’s trademark, lush prose, and never ceasing to surprise, King of Thorns pushes young Jorg ever more towards adulthood. I strongly recommend this book.” — Mazarkis Williams
“The whole book is really like one action scene that doesn’t end . . . King of Thorns is epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale but on speed.” — Fixed on Fantasy
“Lawrence had me intrigued with Prince of Thorns but he earned a life long fan with King of Thorns.” — Awale Abdi
“OH. MY. GOD. I can’t- I can’t even- this book was AMAZING!!! I don’t even know where to start with this review, because the ending completely blew me away! I didn’t see it coming – but then again, nothing Jorg does is predictable.” — Renn Raven
“No other contemporary Fantasy author can write prose as brilliantly as Mark Lawrence. After a fascinating first book, with “Prince of Thorns”, this one manages the impossible: to be even better.” — Miguel Boronha
“Lawrence steps the series up to a whole new level with this instalment. It’s deeper, more compelling and even more unexpected than its predecessor and the twin story lines flow seamlessly between each other in a way that never loses momentum or grows dull. There was one chapter where I literally broke out in chills and had to take several deep breaths to soak it all in, then turn to the girl beside me and say “That was the best chapter of a book I have ever read.” — Josiah Hunt.
“Drop whatever else you’re reading and start the Broken Empire trilogy . . . [Emperor of Thorns] is told in a vivid prose filled with profound reflection and brilliant metaphor. Every sentence is carefully crafted, a work of art and a pleasure to read . . . Lawrence fills the last book of his series with unexpected twists and turns, and an ending I don’t think readers are at all likely to predict. I certainly didn’t . . . Amazing . . . I eagerly anticipate Lawrence’s next literary effort, whatever it may be.” — Peter V. Brett
“I like it. I liked it so much I bought all the ebooks, then the hard covers. I liked it so fanatically, I ordered a signed/numbered copy from the UK. I’ve never done such a thing with a novel of any sort, and that alone should assure you it is worth the read.” — Alicia Wanstall-Burke
“Not since I was a teenager (20 years ago) and read The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings for the first time have I loved a book/series so much!” — Phil Witvliet, Grimdark Reader
“Great conclusion to a memorable, unique and well-written trilogy. Pick up all three books today if you haven’t read them. Buy some for your friends if you have – they will thank you.” — Steve Drew
“Powerful conclusion to one hell of a trilogy. Endings are hard, but Lawrence pulls his off with style – I came away feeling deeply satisfied, not just by this book, but with the trilogy as a whole.” — Courtney Schafer
“Genius is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit and it rarely merits its own use. Mark Lawrence is a genius. Or, if you’d rather, The Broken Empire series is genius. Emperor of Thorns takes your expectations from the previous two books, shatters them and makes them look childish, and then constructs a conclusion that raises the bar impossibly high.” — Derrik Peterson
“Reading the Thorn series is an unforgettable experience. It feels like a remarkably inventive fantasy – even after you come to understand that it’s actually even-more-inventive science fiction.” — Orson Scott Card
“Lawrence captures elements of the human existence through Jorg’s tale that are not easily verbalized. Most remarkably, he shows the growth of a character who morphs from one marred by a lifetime of cruel encounters with the reality of life and the mere cost of being alive, creating a bitter and vengeful individual, to one who learns to understand that it is okay to love and be loved and that, in the end, we must all confront and make peace with the sins of our past.” – Zach Allison
“There is no doubt this is a Mark Lawrence novel—pick it up and you will immediately see the hallmarks of his storytelling and writing style which made the Broken Empire trilogy such an incredibly addictive read, replete with his darkly droll humor and very quotable dialogue. Fans won’t be disappointed.” — The BiblioSantcum
“Lawrence’s epic fantasy is a great summer read, full of humor, revenge and perils that this warrior-and-coward duo must evade in order [to] save their kingdoms and themselves.” – The Washington Post
“Prince of Fools is Mark Lawrence’s newest and perhaps best attempt at proving what a talented wordsmith he is. Be sure to read this one if you enjoy dark fantasy rife with superb characterization, black humour, and a fast-paced plot that will leave you hooked till the very end.” — Fantasy Book Critic
“With this book, Mark Lawrence shows he is one of the premier fantasy writers of this generation and of all time.” — Grimdark Reader
“Lawrence’s most accessible and fun-filled novel to date! . . . The sort of work Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch would come up with if they ever collaborated on a project.” — Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
“A fun, fast, dark, and deceptively deep book that will engage readers instantly . . . New readers will be delighted, and the tried-and-true fans will be immensely pleased. Congratulations, Lawrence, you’ve hit another home run.” — Bookworm Blues
“[Prince of Fools] still retains what I’ll now refer to as trademark Mark Lawrence: excellent one-liners, cold truths you can’t help but agree with, and a rousing story that you’ll enjoy from the first to last page . . . It’s a seamless blend of horror and grimdark that really set the atmosphere for events and I think actually made the book feel like a richer read overall.” — Drunken Dragon Reviews
“If you’ve never read [Lawrence] before, Prince of Fools is a damn-near-perfect introduction to his work . . . Mark Lawrence is obviously an author well worth any fantasy fan’s time.” — The Eloquent Page
“This fantastical and ill-fated bloody journey with a necromantic edge is rendered beautifully by his dramatic, nightmarish prose and portrayed impeccably by his new stable of characters. Lawrence’s world-building is first-rate and his reign of the genre absolute.” — RT Book Reviews
“Once you get going in Prince of Fools, cancel all your plans. You won’t be able to put it down . . . One awesome read.” — The Book Plank
“Prince of Fools is a great kick-off for a new series . . . Mark Lawrence continues with awesome world-building, interesting characters, and gives us a thrilling new adventure.” — It’s All About Books
“A highly entertaining, thrilling journey, funny, dark, and fulfilling . . . one of the best fantasy titles I have read in quite some time. I laughed out loud and wiped a damp eye, this story has it all. Very highly recommended.” — Parmenion Books
“A mixture of traditional fantasy and Norse mythology, the plot is unique, exciting, and enthralling. The plot twists, the characters, and the first-person point of view add up to make this one fantasy book you will not want to put down. Lawrence’s humor shines through to add in completely unexpected laugh-out-loud moments.” — Student Spyglass
“Lawrence is to be commended for taking a chance, stepping aside from what (and who) readers know so well, and finding an exciting new way into this world . . . Highly recommended.” — Beauty in Ruins
“Without doubt one of the best new fantasy authors, and if you like your fantasy dark, twisty, and very well-written, then you really do need to give his work a try.” — Civilian Reader
“Exciting action and quick-witted dialog make it a fantastic summer page-turner.”— Library Journal
“Jalan Kendeth is a fine addition to this Loki-like roster of tricksters, knaves, and cowards: heroes and antiheroes we love to hate and hate to love…Mark Lawrence’s growing army of fans will relish this rollicking new adventure and look forward to the next one.”— The Daily Mail
“Dark, gory, and fun. It’s packed with action, horror, and many gruesome details, all that [is] balanced with the perfect amount of humor. This great combination makes Prince of Fools an impossible book to put down.” — The Bookaholic Cat
“Shrewd Jalan and honorable Snorri make a marvelous team, lightening a very dark story with wry humor. The brisk adventure and black magic will leave readers eager for the next chapter in the series.”— Publishers Weekly
“As richly told as the earlier trilogy: The author makes this place, a post-cataclysm earth of the far future, feel as real as any place you’ve ever visited. For fans of the Broken Empire series and readers who enjoy a good, epic-sized fantasy story (readers of, say, George R. R. Martin), this is a must-read.”— Booklist
“I like characters who sit awkwardly in my head. I like that they don’t want to be there and it’s a real journey to get to know them. It’s one thing among so many that Mark Lawrence does beautifully in his work, and I can’t wait for more.” — Alicia Wanstall-Burke
“The dialogue is a humorous, frightening lullaby that flawlessly depicts this dark, disturbing universe and its meticulously constructed characters, both friends and fiends.” — RT Magazine
“For those who have not read it, the Broken Empire series is an excellent fantasy series, one that take the reader right to the edge, page after page…. and yet I have found myself enjoying the Red Queen’s War much more.” — Parmenion Books
“The Liar’s Key is Mark Lawrence’s most solid effort thus far!” — Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
“This is a great second book in the series. Lawrence takes what we already know and with his own inimitable style continues to layer extra goodness on top.” — Lynn’s Books
“I dare you not to get hooked!” — Whedonopolis
“The Liar’s Key is the kind of sequel every reader dreams about.” — The Bibliosanctum
“I’m not sure how Lawrence does it, but everything he writes is amazing. I’m already counting the days until the next book in the trilogy comes out.” — Reviews from a book-obsessed Human
“It’s felt like a long year, but it’s been well worth the wait; Lawrence improves with every book he writes and if he keeps on like this, we may have to turn the ratings system up to eleven. Magnificent, and highly recommended.” – Starburst magazine
“This book is life changing” – Mightythorjrs
“This book has so much humour, depth, wildness, and great character development, that I’m sad its over. Before Mark Lawrence’s books, I’d find I wanted to read a book as fast as possible, get through it, move on to the next. Now I turn each page with mourning, knowing soon the experience must come to an end.
Please never stop writing.” – Joy Cronje
“All in all The Liar’s Key is simply amazing. Lawrence continues to grow as a writer (which in itself is fucking incredible seeing as his debut was mind blowing) and storyteller with this release. I adored every single page of this book, and I can’t wait to find the time to reread it in full again. If fantasy was a drug then The Liar’s Key would be the most pure and addictive form of heroin known to humanity!” – Smash Dragons
“Mark’s writing remains as brilliant as ever. A few deft brush strokes of words that paint a picture more completely than many a writer might manage in several pages.” – T.o. Munro
“The Liar’s Key is absolutely brilliant. Mark Lawrence keeps doing the impossible: whenever you convince yourself that you have read his best work, he shows you that you are wrong, and keeps on climbing the Olympian Staircase of modern fantasy writers.” – W. G. Saraband
“The Liar’s Key swallows you in a big wave, locks you into its tale, snatching the world away. Mark Lawrence has a wonderful imagination which he serves on ravishing prose, expertly spiced with devilish laugh-out-loud humour. He continues to hone his skills as a writer, hooking us clean off with the prologue, weaving the storylines around us tight enough to steal reality, leaving us begging for more.” – Mitriel Faywood
“Mark Lawrence is a master at writing first person narratives. For me, reading his prose is like fine artists marveling over the brush strokes in a masterpiece painting. I’m in awe at the narratives construction, the distinct voice of each character, and the very visual action, all compiled into a perfectly synced tale.” – Andrea Luhman
“Lawrence has done it again, providing his fans with a dark and inescapably fun ride. Prepare to lurch from laugh out loud hilarity to gut wrenching sadness, from casual disregard for fellow human beings to witnessing sacrifices that will break your heart as Mark gives us a perfect second book that, just like Jalan, is far more faceted than most. I’m already looking forward to starting it again.” – Charlie Hopkins at Fantasy Faction
“Prince of Fools was great but this book erased the last traces of The Broken Empire hangover for good.” – Grimdark Alliance
“The Liar’s Key is a really complex and shocking work. It is unexpected and powerful. This book showcases everything that Lawrence does so damn well. It is a fast moving book, with complex characters, unexpected evolutions, and a fascinating world. The ending was powerful and hinted at interesting things to come. In truth, this is one of those books that I loved as much to experience how well Lawrence does just about everything, as much as to enjoy the fascinating plot. This Liar’s Key challenges its readers, and its characters, and that challenge (combined with incredible writing) is what makes it so damn good.” – Bookworm Blues
“Lawrence has pulled off a coupe-de-grace, a stunning conclusion to a trilogy which set an already high bar.” – Chris Meadows at SFandFReviews
“In wrapping up his third and final chapter of The Red Queen’s War, Mark Lawrence has truly outdone himself. I would actually go so far as to say that this is his best book, hands down, and that is no lie.” – Beauty in Ruins
“In my review of The Liar’s Key I wrote that Mark Lawrence had done himself proud with that book, well……The Wheel of Osheim far eclipses that as I feel this is his best book to date. To end the trilogy Mark Lawrence has crafted an outstandingly complex and engrossing book and now that it’s over I can write that just like The Broken Empire trilogy before it, with The Red Queen’s War Mark Lawrence has created yet another fantastic fantasy series that fully deserves to be added to any and every best of fantasy series list out there for many years to come.” – TheTattooedBookGeek
“The Wheel of Osheim presents everything our followers could want in a fantasy book.” – Grimdark Magazine
“Though he seems far too incorrigible to be contained in one trilogy, The Wheel of Osheim is an admirable conclusion to Jal’s saga. Though not as shocking or as visceral as the end of Jorg’s tale, Osheim is somehow more satisfying, tying off each thread with gentle finality – including Snorri’s heartrending tale, woven in and around the main story since book one.” – Laura M. Hughes
“In conclusion what can I say but this is an amazing piece of literary genius! This book has built upon the extraordinary solid foundation of the first two books and takes this series to a new level of greatness. I will put these books proudly on display, on the self next to Tolkien and Martin.” – MightyThorJRS
“I have no hesitation in recommending this book and this series. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and the ending is rather spectacularly twisted. This book is an absolute thrill ride of an adventure that had me gripped to the page and reading late into the night.” – Lynn’s Book Blog
“The Wheel of Osheim is a masterpiece. You need to read The Red Queen’s War trilogy. The end. Full stop.” – The Bibliosanctum
“This series is right up there in the pantheon of my fav fantasy reads… and Wheel of Osheim completes it in true style, a must read. Highly recommended!” – Parmenion Books
“With over a million copies sold and two quality series under his belt, Mark Lawrence now deserves to be ranked among the very best fantasy authors out there. […] If you have yet to do so, give that thorn guy a shot! These two superior trilogies are well worth your time and are highly recommended! – Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
“This is a tremendous ending to a fantastic series. Lawrence has earned a place on every fantasy reader’s bookshelf.” – Eric Christensen
“The Wheel of Osheim is the perfect conclusion befitted to an awesome trilogy, and something every fantasy reader MUST eventually read.” – Booknest.EU
“I predict this trilogy will become one of the timeless classics that will stand the test of time, one which future generations will seek out and read time and again.” – Bitsy Vontrapp
“I once described Mark Lawrence thus: thief of slumber, time trafficker, broker of the dawn. Many a night I have sacrificed sleep and my ability to function as an adulting adult, so immersed have I been in Lawrence’s worlds. This holds true with his last book in the Red Queen’s War series – The Wheel of Osheim.” – Amanda J Spedding
“2017, the gauntlet has been thrown and the challenge has been sounded. Red Sister has set the bar high for fantasy this year and we shall have to see if anyone can meet it. ” – The Quill to Live
” Fabulous, in-depth world building, great characters, and as always with Lawrence, plotting that is fresh and unpredictable. Upon finishing, I went out immediately and bought the sequel, Gray Sister. If you like fresh, take-no-prisoners fantasy, this is for you.” – Rick Riordan
“The finale of this story was utterly breathtaking. Nona is one of my favourite characters in fiction. Lawrence has created one of the most engaging fantasy worlds that my mind has allowed me to visit. At the finale, the second book is set up exceptionally well. It hit me yesterday that because I have an advanced copy of this, that I have to wait even longer for the second book. That is quite upsetting.” – James Lafayette Tivendale, you and i books
“The contours of the plot will feel familiar to genre fans—a young orphan, possessed of special gifts, receiving lessons in a cloistered community on how to realize her potential—but Lawrence makes it seem fresh through evocative prose and three-dimensional characterizations.” – Publishers Weekly
“Every so often a book comes along that reminds you why you fell in love with your favourite genre. This was one of those books for me. If you are in any way a fantasy lover, then this book will be right up your street!” – Orangutan Librarian
“Seriously. What are you waiting for?! Mark Lawrence is a must-read author. Get in on his brilliance immediately! The Grimdragons Rating: 5 kick-ass nuns!” – The Grimdragons
“In this stunning, action-filled series launch, Lawrence (“Broken Empire” trilogy) establishes a fantastic world in which religion and politics are sharp as swords, with magic and might held in the hands of wonderful and dangerous women. Impatient George R.R. Martin fans will find this a pleasing alternative until the next installment in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga arrives.”— Library Journal, starred review
“Mark Lawrence’s new tale is a friggin master class in Fantasy, beautifully written, amazing characters and a world that breathes.” – Shelf Inflicted
“Look, here are some final thoughts to sum up my feelings: This book is just as amazing as I was lead to believe by everyone who raved about it before me. Can… can I just give it all the stars?” – Kristen Reads Too Much
“Mark Lawrence’s newest masterpiece. I don’t use the term lightly.” – Alice Phair, Raptureinbooks Reviews
“I really can’t emphasize how much I love Lawrence’s writing. It is intricate, dramatic, intensely lyrical. It makes combat and death seem like art of the highest order. If I haven’t made it amply clear yet, I highly recommend this book.” – Khanh (the Grinch)
“Nona’s journey from outcast to powerful heroine recalls the work of the late David Gemmell with its many trials, complexities and betrayals proving a protagonist doesn’t have to be ‘anti’ to be compelling. The lyrical excellence of previous books is present in full force here and it’s fair to say that Mark Lawrence has evolved into a master of his craft.” – Anthony Ryan
“Lawrence has created an iconic world that is not lacking in strangeness or wonder. Red Sister, the First Book of the Ancestor, lays the groundwork for a complex lore and an inventive system of magic. I’m excited to see where Nona’s adventure take here next.” – Josiah Bancroft
“This is a world of such intrigue, I was kept up reading late into the night, rooting for Nona, second-guessing my assumptions, wondering who was telling the truth, who was scheming against whom, and when blades would be drawn. Red Sister is a breathless read and a powerful start to a new series, with yet more blood waiting to wet a Sister’s blade.” – Barnes & Noble
“Readers who’ve enjoyed Lawrence’s earlier novels will also love Red Sister.
Readers who have never encountered the Broken Empire series should set it aside for the time being and instead dive straight into Red Sister.
And as for readers who disliked either Jorg or Jalan, let me assure you: Nona Grey would kick both their arses, and turn Jorg’s Road Brothers into bacon for her breakfast.” – Tor.com
“It is refreshing to read a fantasy book which is so wholly focussed on female characters, and one which gives them very creative and proactive roles. I really hope Red Sister garners the interest of Lawrence’s previous work, as this looks set to be a thrilling and, above all, fun series.” – The British Fantasy Society
“Utterly brilliant. It’s my favorite Mark Lawrence book to date, and that’s saying something, as I’ve loved all of his books so far.” – John Gwynne
“This book, like its heroine, is full of fire and worth.” – The Fantasy Hive
“Book of the Ancestor is Mark Lawrence’s finest series by a great distance and Grey Sister is a far superior outing than the critically acclaimed first entry and his previous works.” – Fantasy Book Review
“I’m pleased to say that Grey Sister more than holds up, and unusually for a ‘middle’ book in a series, is actually better than the first.” – Mystic Fibrosis
“It’s exhilarating!” – Mayticks, a drawn review!
“Lawrence’s suspenseful account of Nona’s efforts to complete her training and gain control over her powers balances action and introspection, and will keep readers hooked.” – Publishers Weekly
“With the strategy of a general and the finesse of an artist this master storyteller fills each page with vivid imagery, making the beautifully brutal scenes, alien landscapes, and impressive characters come to life for his audience.” – RT Magazine
“If you enjoy a well written fantasy, in a unique intriguing world, with a fabulous heroine and other wonderful characters, you must read Grey Sister.” – The Reading Cafe
“Much like Red Sister, this one was really difficult to put down once I started, and is incredibly well written. It’s peppered full of really quotable deep thoughts, is full of all kinds of plot twists and turns.” – superstardrifter
“I absolutely revelled in this; it’s so rare to read high fantasy in which women get to dominate the pages like this.” – Druid Life
“Overall it’s a very strong second entry and I’ll be counting Holy Sister amongst my most highly anticipated future releases.” – The Tome and Tankard Inn
“Another Rocking hit by Mark Lawrence” – Let’s Discuss About…
Prince of Thorns is a great follow-up to the Thorns series, keeping all the wit and panache of Jorg Ancrath while adding great self-deprecating humor.
I love Mark Lawrence’s books because I also love science, and Mark’s books have a lot of real science things, as the constructor’s secrets. I would think Mark is a time traveller who came from the future to give us some knowledge about it, but i’m afraid it’s not possible to go back in time. Also, I love learning, and his books thaught me some nice things, as a bit of Sun Tzu and Maquiavel, authors I didn’t read (yet). And another fact is that his (your? I think that you are Mark right? Because this is your ‘unofficial website’…) books are able to keep me reading for hours without being able to play some computer games i’d still play if I didn’t like his (your) books and get attracted by reading.
Greetings from your (his) facebook friend Hiero!
Mark Lawrence has a rare gift of making his readers root for unlikely characters, and he has done so successfully again here. He writes absorbing tales, with a roundness to his characters that enhance the telling of these tales.
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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.
I stumbled across Mark Lawrence in a supermarket for a very modest sum which after reading decides was far too low and he quickly took the top spot on my favourite authors list.
I love his descriptions, his character’s and the emotions throughout his story’s but in truth the one thing that I love most of all is simple.
You never know what to expect next and that is a very rare thing to find in present day.
I love Mark’s books because the characters are complex, intelligent and damaged. I often forget I’m reading and feel like a part of that world.
I love the books. Couldn’t read anything for two months after finishing emperor of thorns. And that’s the best praise I can give.
I love the series because Mark Lawrence, through excellent writing and character development, manages to redeem a parade morally contemptible characters. By the end of the series, not only will you like the characters, you will find yourself identifying with them in a way that resonates with my internal ‘dark’ groove. Truly, and literally, a guilty pleasure.
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“parade of”, even
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.
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Mark’s work is like panning for Gold in a stream that just keeps giving. There’s a ruthless efficiency to his prose that isn’t lazy, rather he packs into a sentence what some authors take a page to say. His characters are just as vulnerable and weak as they are resilient and strong. His greatest triumph is taking what those repulsive, damaged, and despicible people and making them the hero we want to see succeed. Most of all however, he is a unique voice in fantasy telling stories no one else is!
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I love, love, love Prince of Fools! Prince Jalen is not the usual anti-hero of Grimdark fantasy. He is a non-hero. He is a sincere coward who accidentally does heroic things. From the first chapter to the last, I was intertained with action, tension, and humor. Best of all, at the end I was not depressed with a dismal end by dismal characters. I felt good and excited to read what troubles Jalen gets involved in The Liar’s Key.
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Jorg’s journey spoke to me on a personal level. He may seem a monster on first impression, but deep down he’s someone who refuses to give up, no matter the horror or tragedy thrown at him. That really struck a chord with me. I won’t pretend I’ve suffered the same trauma that Jorg did in his story, but that same unwillingness to give in, that refusal to just lie down and give up, drives us both.
“There’s something brittle in me that will break before it bends.”
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I became aware of the Broken Empire series towards the end of 2014. I went searching for great fantasy books to listen to, I don’t usually have time to read books so i purchase audiobooks and listen to them while I work, and came across Prince of Thorns. I loved the book with such a passion that i bought all 3 books of the trilogy and made time to be able to read them. The character Jorg Ancrath was to me the best hero in any work of fiction i have come across because he was a hero that is flawed. Cruel, murderous and full of rage the poster child for what a human being should not be, and yet the more you get to know him, the more you understand him, you start to love him, pity him, and even hate him. Lawrence turned a man like Jorg Ancrath, an abomination of humanity, the very extreme of what is considered a terrible man, into a hero you want to succeed not only because it is what is right and what is needed but because you want their redemption. He continued this theme with Jalen, a coward who will do anything to save himself from any discomfort in Prince of Fools and i cant wait to learn more of him in Liar’s Key.
It’s a great way to pass the time in prison, cheers Mark!
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Mark Lawrence writes in a fantastic and detailed fashion. His writing fades away and draws you in, leaving nothing but the story, the characters, and the spirit. I was so immersed in each saga that when the books end, I have to physically and emotionally recover for a few days. These are books I must stock microwaveable food before reading, so my children do not starve while I journey with Jorg.
Mark has already written one brilliant trilogy, The Broken Empire, that turned the world of fantasy upside down. His second trilogy, The Red Queens War, looks set to smash it to bits. You simply MUST NOT miss out on reading these books.
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I think that the ultimate test of an author is if they can make you love, cheer for, and mourn the loss of a character you should despise, boo, and celebrate the demise of. Mark does this with Jorg in a way that I’ve not seen the equal of. To pass over Prince of Thorns is to do your fantasy reading experience an irredeemable disservice.
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I find that part of the vast appeal I have for the books Mark Lawrence has written thus far has to do with the mechanics that the magic has in this world: If you want it, you can will it. Myths are real in this world because we created them and we believed in them. Spells and incantations and curses affect a person or object because we want them to. Heaven and hell, God, Jesus, Satan and his demons; Great Valhalla with Odin and Thor and Loki and Hella; the reincarnation system of the Indus; even mighty Olympus with its quarrelsome Olympians and the Underworld with loathsome Hades and lonely Persephone are places and people that exist (Possibly in a plane beyond actual existence in this world, but those are metaphysics for another day). The fact that the elements are alive, containing the voices and the wills of those lost to them. Ferrakind residing in the dancing flames, Aaron becoming part of the ground we walk upon, Kai joining the air-sworns that let go and never returned, it all holds an allure of danger and a need to have more, to control, to be consumed is one that entices to these book series. This world has so much potential for depth, and that is an appeal that is irresistible.
I’m going to talk about my favorite of the books that Mark Lawrence has made, King of Thorns. Part of what makes this book my favorite are the characters and some things of speculation. We have Jorg, defying the Prince of Arrow’s force mainly because somebody told him he couldn’t. Here comes the Hero of Legend (or so we are lead to believe, until later evidence shows otherwise), the one that prophecy speaks of, the one to save the Empire and bring forth prosperity, the Good Guy, and Jorg decides to stand in his path just because he can. Because “no” tastes so good to him at the moment. I’m simplifying the reasons that Jorg stands against the Prince of Arrow, but those would fill a paragraph or two. Orrin and Egan are amazing antagonists to Jorg, and their personality paints them as two of my favorites. First, we have Orrin, a paragon of justice and a man of unmatched purity, the stock fantasy hero. Then, we have Egan, the kind of general any army needs, but vicious and full of rage, a man whose sole purpose is to conquer and live in battle, a man of passions. Another character that I enjoyed was Sageous, bastard that he was. I feel that Sageous played a pivotal role into why this story is so pleasing and powerful and sorrowful. The way the story combines these characters and develops and thickens into a masterful climax of betrayal, fratricide, and disappointment (Now that the hero of legend is dead, what can be done?), all ending in such a satisfying fashion that I had to read the last few chapters repeatedly the first time I read the book, then a few more times the second time I read it, then a couple more of times the third time.
I cannot wait to get my hands on The Liar’s Key and, eventually, The Wheel of Osheim. I cannot wait to see what epic Mark Lawrence takes Prince Jalan Kendeth and Snorri Ver Snagason on. I cannot wait to see how this plot thickens, and I can only hitch my breath at what these books reveal about this world that is so powerful, and dangerous, and exhilarating.
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.
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I’ve been a fan of Mark’s books ever since I stumbled across Prince of Thorns whilst looking for a filler read between anticipated titles when it first arrived on the bookshelves… Upon a brief inspection it seemed like any other runofthemill fantasy/(attempted)grimdark-esque novel; I’ll happily and repeatedly admit I was entirely wrong in all my expectations! His technique of starting each of the Broken Empire Trilogy’s books ‘in media res’, then layering this upon itself creating concurrent novel spanning timelines that keep you hooked, is one that breathes new life into what could be considered a classic yet mundanely overused technique. However, this is only a pillar of what holds the Fane of Lawrence up, with other prime components including the flawless writing style, incredibly apt lexical choice for the novels as a whole yet retaining subtle variations between characters (alongside a rare ability to communicate a character’s background through how they speak (May I point to Snorri’s ‘gruffness’ compared to Jalan’s sarcastic rhetoric for the Red Queen’s War, or Jorg’s brutal wit and Makin’s bluntness)), intricately tantalising world building and a story with so many surprising yet believable twists in it it’ll make you wish you had never even heard of the Gordian Knot.
This, combined with the fact Lawrence writes his books not for profit as some contracted authors are apt to do, churning out title after title (I defer to his note about the subject in the Emperor of Thorns), but for the sake of his readers and a story worth telling creates a set of novels that are riding at the very pinnacle of what most fantasy authors of this day and age hope to achieve!
Jorg gave voice to the part of my personality that was hidden, the darkness that allows me to survive (almost) intact in a world of selfish people.
Mark’s genius with words gave me hope, in a world where my words aren’t close to near enough.
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The English language is not strong enough to express the emotions I have felt while reading Mark Lawrence. It was recommended to me as “a fantasy-ish kind of world with like skyscrapers and electricity and stuff.” I started reading it, and it was nothing like my friend had described, it was more like what one would “expect” a fantasy novel to be like, with the horses and the taverns and the grit and grime of the road and a whole lot of swords and thrones and knives and killing… and then Fexler Brews happened. And my mind exploded.
The thing that keeps a squeamish reader like me coming back constantly and faithfully to ANY BOOK bearing the name of Mark Lawrence is the consistent way he uses language so well. The characters have voice, personality, and life; it’s not about the killing, about the gore, about the sex–these things are often used by lesser writers to take the reader’s focus off of the shabby writing. Not Mark; his writing excels above all others, and it is these two things–the words he uses, and the characters he populates his world with–that bring a sense of poise and balance to an otherwise violent and barbaric world. I open a Mark Lawrence novel and eagerly await each new twist and colorful character he brings along.
I love Mark Lawrence’s books because they give the reader a peek into the mind of a type of character that is never properly explored in fiction- the unrepentant sociopath. In the Broken Empire’s case, that is Jorg, the protagonist.
Writting would allow you to understand and accept Jorg’s heinous actions, maybe even begin symphasize with over 3 books definitely deserves a special mention.
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Most writers make excuses on the behalf of their protagonists. They feel their struggles and know their pain on a purely personal level, and thus want nothing more than for the readers to understand and — perhaps more than anything — empathise and accept. Even the most heinous villains are often presented as justified in their actions. Mark Lawrence makes no such excuses, and this gives his character (particularly Jorg Ancrath) a real and truly visceral edge that others fail to reciprocate. The Broken Empire trilogy is unique in its delivery, ice cold in its execution to an extent that is captivating and horrifying in equal measure. There is no disconnect between how we see Jorg and how Jorg acts, which makes him by far a more real and — at least in a twisted way — relatable character than the vast majority of characters in fantasy fiction. But do we empathise with him? No. Jorg is rotten at the core, dedicated beyond reason and mercy to his goal, and that is something Mark Lawrence conveys better than any other writer could have.
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Mark Lawrence has quickly become my favorite fantasy author. Each of his novels evolves not only the profound cast of characters but also the reader in turn. The gentle blend of medieval, magical, and machine strung along by clever narrative is simply too good to put down. The Prince of Thorns trilogy and this continuing evolution of a profound landscape are must-reads.
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I was introduced to Mark Lawrence’s books by a friends and couldn’t put the Broken Empire Trilogy down! What really made his books stand out for me was the twist of the world he created not quite being what it initially seemed. As unlikable as Jorg is, I quickly found myself rooting for him and the added humour really appeals to me. Prince of Fools was a fantastic introduction to his next work and I can’t wait to read on!
What I really love about Mark Lawrence’s writings isn’t the great characters, excellent prose or captivating stories. It’s the humor that premeates his books that sets him apart from the other great authors I’ve read.
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?
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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.
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I love Mark Lawrence’s books because he’s so much better at writing than all the other Mark Lawrence’s!!!
For example Mark Lawrence the Bishop from South Carolina is great at reading “The Good Book” but not so good at writing them!
Mark Lawrence the Principal Trombonist of the San Francisco orchestra can read and write music but he’s not so good with words!
Mark Lawrence the footballer write pretty poor columns for newspapers these days! I’m not a fan of his work!
And don’t get me started on Mark Lawrence the American politician for Maine! He’s a politician. Yeah he can write a little. But can we really believe him?
Nope I think you’ll find that if we want to read something that isn’t either a sermon, a musical score, a distorted view on football, or at best a half truth, then Mark Lawrence the author is the only Mark Lawrence for me!!!
I should win a free copy of The Liar’s Key because Mark Lawrence’s poetic pose is my SHIT, man. It’s the selvage of the fabric of my life. I need dat.
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i absolutely love this series because the characters are real. Jorg and other characters behave like anyone would in a kill all take no prisoners world. This series hooks you in and gives you a true glimpse at a broken world. Bravo Mr. Lawrence!
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I love Mark’s books because they show me that with enough love, even the worst of us don’t change;-)
It is the beautiful writing. Even those who have struggled with the subject matter of a first person sociopath narration have admitted that the Broken Empire was beautifully written. Economical, elegant, poetic, but never cumbersome or purple or wordy. Mark plucks words from the air and assembles them in an eye catching order which makes the reader stop and think and smile. It is like those children’s TV artists who build a picture by stages from materials of simple scrap and when you look at the totality of what has been produced it seems so much greater than the sum of its simple raw materials. In consequence, Mark’s work has a better “memorable quote to page” ratio than any other writer I have read.
And then there are the characters, Jorg and Jal. Both deeply flawed human beings, loathsome in their different ways, and yet Mark has us ride in their heads and forces us into not just a grudging admiration of this unlikely pair, but even a desire to see them succeed. No-one conceives of themselves as evil, everyone thinks their actions reasonable responses to the context they find themselves in, Jorg and Jal no less than most. But Mark’s triumph is not just to have them believe they are doing merely that which they must do, but to have us believe it too.
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Mark Lawrence is an amazing author. There is something so special in his works. While his characters are great and the stories are delightfully enthralling, I must admit that my favorite aspect of his writing style is the pacing. His stories move so quickly and seamlessly that I often find myself reading his books during every free moment I have, finishing them in a matter of days rather than weeks. His books are my go-to recommendations for friends interested in trying fantasy, and I haven’t heard a bad review yet.
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I loved Jorg as soon as he envisioned stabbing his own man and making his neck ‘bubble bubble’. I love Mr. Lawrence’s books because reading them makes me feel a little less ashamed of being a person that many might view as a villain. I like to see myself as a mix between Jorg and Jalan.
Although, that doesn’t mean many others will like it. Including the judges here.
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What I like about the books are that he’s able to help me flee my own world and enter his created world for a time being. I can purely enjoy his stories without worrying about other things that occupy me. That’s, for me, the best criteria if a book is good or not.
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A usual protagonist makes me root for them and cheer when all the wonderful, moral people around them live happily ever after. Mark Lawrence’s protagonist makes me root for him and cackle madly when similar wonderful, moral people die. I love the Broken Empire and every inhabitant so far has been killer. Pun may possibly be intended.
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.
We live in a time where fiction is slowly (or quickly, depending on how you look at it) turning darker. Readers and viewers are learning to appreciate death, moral ambiguity and bittersweet endings more and more – which, in my opinion, is a really good thing. It allows for more realistic, intense, unpredictable and above all fascinating stories.
The Thorns Trilogy didn’t just fascinate me because it was dark, or realistic (despite the fantasy setting the characters and their interactions were, I think, as realistic as possible given the world they live in) but because it was incredibly well written and its twists were so carefully mapped out and gradually revealed. Everything made sense, although not right away and not without some thought on the reader’s part. Events intrigued from start to finish and the protagonist evoked such a wild range of emotions I’ll be musing his actions and personality for a long time. Truly a work of art!
The best answer I can give is this post I made following my first read through Prince of Thorns. I hope that is allowed.
“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.”
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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
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!
I forgot to mention that my entry above is meant to be rapped to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’