Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

Synopsis: King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb.

But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.

Holly: Holyfuckholyfuckholyfuck! This series was SO good! I am emotionally spent after all of that! And yet, I can’t help but want more!

SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!!!

Besides pretty much everything, do you know what else I loved about Emperor of Thorns?! How rad it is that Mark Lawrence included a “Story so far”. And his Afterthought was brilliant! I really appreciate when an author goes that extra step for the reader.

Corey: Yeah, that was a pretty helpful refresher there at the beginning!

Holly: Is it just me or do you wonder what kind of man Jorg would have become if his father was in his life? More importantly, if he did not witness the death of his mother & brother when he was so young? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been *quite* the psychopath that he did eventually become. But then, he probably wouldn’t have been as interesting to read about, either!

Corey: I don’t know, I think he might have even turned out rougher around the edges. I think that overriding desire of his to not turn out like his father is a big part of what passes for Jorg’s moral compass.

Holly: That & Makin! We find out more about Makin’s history in this final installment, which I think we were both grateful for! He is such an awesome character. He really was the closest thing Jorg had to a father figure & I adore him for that!

Corey: Totally. I remember you latched on to Makin pretty quickly in Prince of Thorns, more so than I did. But in King of Thorns and here, he really is such a compelling figure in Jorg’s life. The voice of reason at times.

Holly: Yes! I love his warped sense of humor! And even though he was one of the most savage within the Brotherhood, he still seemed to have a better grasp on his human side, if you will.

Corey: I guess now is as good a time as any to say, I struggled to get into this one as easily as the first two. In the end, I loved it, it just wasn’t clicking for me straight away. There’s also that really long flashback sequence towards the end that, while totally necessary, really slowed the pace a bit.

That said, I’m still completely mesmerized with the way Mark Lawrence writes. There’s that blurb on the cover from Peter V. Brett about how each sentence is “carefully crafted, a work of art”, and I couldn’t agree more. The guy is so clearly meticulous about his craft, and sometimes he’ll turn a phrase that’s just brutal and gorgeous.

Holly: Agreed! I felt very similarly. Book three took me awhile to get comfortable in. It seemed a bit too slow after the frenetic pace of King of Thorns, which was my absolute favorite from the three!

However, because of Mark Lawrence’s fantastic writing, we are able to get to know Jorg in a more fully realized way. The character development that Lawrence thrusts upon him over the three novels is outstanding! We obviously don’t want to say too much, but the Jorg in Emperor is miles apart from the kid we see in Prince of Thorns! In ways, that may be why the pace slowed down.

Corey: Good point! Yeah, I mean, if you look at it as a coming-of-age story told over three novels, it adds up. I’d also put King of Thorns as my favorite of the three, but overall it’s just such an exciting, violent, funny, and weird series. I loved it so damn much!

Holly: The ending was full of “what the fuck is going on here?” moments & I thought it was a bittersweet finale for this incredibly written series! Although after a slower beginning, perhaps a bit rushed. Or maybe I am just nitpicking because I didn’t want the series to end!

Corey: I was a big fan of Chella’s story in this book! It was cool to see how impactful she really was in the scheme of things.

Holly: It took me awhile to get into the Chella POV, but once I did I loved it! I wouldn’t be mad at a Chella book at some point!

Corey: Going into the series, I had read so much about Jorg being “unlikable”. Agree to disagree, I guess. At least taking into account everything he goes through in this series. Certainly he’s a man capable of truly horrible things, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed this series if I didn’t love Jorg. I mean, that’s kinda the main thing for me when I’m reading anything. All the genius plotting and amazing writing in the world can’t save a book for me if I don’t feel something for the characters.

Holly: Exactly! Jorg made this series what it was. I can honestly say that he is a favorite literary character of mine! There is so much more to him than meets the eye. He is such a witty yet savage, charming yet complex individual!

Lawrence truly is an unpredictable, poetic, beautifully vicious BRILLIANT mastermind! I look forward to buddy reading his other work!

Corey: Hell yes!

Also, if there’s any chance he’s reading this: Mark, we NEED a printed edition of Road Brothers! I want to know all about guys like Red Kent and Rike and Makin!

Holly: YES PLEASE! ⚔⚔

The Grimdragons Rating: 4.5 blade-wielding psychopaths!
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