“A two in the morning page turner” – Robin Hobb.
That proved prophetic as I finished the book and looked at the watched : 2:11 am.
So yeah, King of Thorns is good. In many ways, an improvement upon Prince of Thorns. It even takes care of the issues I had with cardboard charactes, as they start to gain more depth. Jorg has changed. He’s still pretty deadly, but you see little glimpses of a better man here and there.
The story is split between a flashback starting right after Jorg becomes King of the Renar Highlands, and the present day four years after that, as his castle is attacked by the Prince of Arrow with 20,000 men at his back. And I still wish that Mark Lawrence had just told the story without this split.
In the past, we see Jorg visiting a Firemage at a volcano, clashing with Chella the not-dead Necromancer and visiting his mother’s family at Castle Marrow. And I loved it all. Jorg’s narration is as good as ever, with a humor dry as bones, and really really good writing. And of course, epic quotes. We get to see more of the past of the world, and a very small, tantalising bit of info about how the world came to be like this.
The present was still fun, though not as much. Jorg is outnumbered twenty to one – 20k of the Arrow’s men vs. a thousand of his own. But Jorg being Jorg, has a plethora of dirty tricks up his sleeve. Though in the end it takes a deus ex machina, just like in Prince of Thorns. I didn’t mind all that much though.
Perhaps my only real complaint is that two books into the series, we still haven’t gotten any substantial explanation for the past, or the way the world has become. Also, grammatical/spelling errors. There were 3-4 that I came across. Call me a grammar nazi, but it was pretty jarring.
All in all, this one deserves its 4 stars – more than Prince of Thorns did.
My Rating : 4/5