Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Prince of Thorns coverA review by Nalini Haynes

★★★★☆ four out of five stars

Jorg Ancrath is the Prince of Thorns: escaping murderers, he hung on a thornbush until rescued. While hanging, impaled upon vicious thorns, Jorg watched his brother’s murder and his mother’s rape and murder. After rescue followed by a lengthy recovery, Jorg left home to avenge his murdered family.

Relentlessly grimdark, this fantasy follows Jorg who is surprisingly young for his standing with his followers. Gradually the group dynamics are revealed – Jorg’s right-hand man is his protector and enforcer, should he need one.

Prince of Thorns is surprisingly gripping for a novel with such an unlikeable a character. Watching Jorg’s story unfold is like watching a train wreck – it’s so hard to pull your eyes away. Occasionally Jorg’s backstory seeped through his tough veneer to hint at the possibility Jorg could be sympathetic and then – nope. I can’t feel sympathy for this psychopath. And yet I’m fascinated: what will happen next?

A riveting, fast read, Prince of Thorns is highly recommended for those who enjoy grimdark fantasy.

Prince of Thorns was a finalist in the prestigious Morningstar Award, a popular choice award.