I’ve been looking forward to Emperor of Thorns, and couldn’t wait to pick it up once it showed up on my doorstep…
To say I was surprised by how Mark Lawrence wrapped up Jorg’s story is an understatement. Surprised seems somehow inadequate a word to describe how I felt or what I thought, yet surprised I was as I turned the final pages of Emperor of Thorns. Surprised, impressed, and… wanting more.
Honorous Jorg Ancrath is not a likable protagonist – he’s screwed up, selfish, paranoid, and he really doesn’t care who knows it. Oh, and he’s ambitious too. Not that ambition is a bad thing necessarily, but Jorg’s ambition brings death along in its wake… Then again, just about everything Jorg does brings death along in its wake, whether he plans it that way or not.
In Emperor of Thorns, Jorg has matured some, yet still holds his resentments close. He’s got responsibilities now. A kingdom to run. A son’s arrival to prepare for. A father to kill. And an empire’s throne to win, regardless of prophecy. I can’t say more, not without introducing spoilers, and y’all know how hard I try to stay away from spoilers…
The story is told from three points of view: Jorg’s in current time, Jorg’s from five years earlier, and the necromancer Chella’s from that same five years. We follow as the paths of prophecy and stubbornness collide, watch as actions lead to consequences unforeseen. Jorg is still impulsive, but getting smarter about it – chess seems to help with anticipating effects, even if he still loses more games than he wins. Chella’s story revolves around the Dead King, and sometimes I felt bad for her; about as much as I felt bad for Jorg. Circumstances are rarely kind in Lawrence’s world, and you have to admire (somewhat) those who survive whatever’s thrown their way.
As I mentioned, I was surprised by the ending. Not that Lawrence didn’t drop hints, so I did guess at part of what was coming. Still, wow – I’m impressed. And in a few months (more like 6, with my TBR mountain) I’m going to try and re-read the entire series back-to-back. Because it’s just that good. If you’re a fan of dark fantasy, you’ll have to pick up the Broken Empire series if you haven’t already. And if you want a reading buddy, come nag at me.
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read Emperor of Thorns? What did you think?