the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Mark Lawrence’ Category

emperor of thorns 2Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (book 3 of the Broken Empire Trilogy)

published August 2013

where I got it: received review copy from the publisher

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It’s no secret I was a huge fan of the first book.  Prince of Thorns was unlike anything I’d ever come across before. It was everything I was looking for in the departments of grimdark and horrible things happening to people. For a short time that book  polarized the fantasy fan community, with people either really loving it, or really hating it. Lawrence took risks that other authors simply would not take, and you’ve got to applaud him for that.

 

A year later, I kept finding reasons not to pick up King of Thorns. The first book in the series was so good, how could the second one possibly live up to my expectations? Long story short is I was lukewarm on King of Thorns.  I had a tough time wrapping my head around the disparate plot lines, and found the dream transitions to be confusing and awkward, but I enjoyed Katherine’s scenes and was moved by the loss of Gog. The dog scene? Didn’t hold a candle to what I went through losing Gog. Yes, I’m heartless, we’ve already established that,   I’m the kind of person who likes this kind of thing, remember?

 

A year later, I was again avoiding reading Emperor of Thorns. Which was it going to be? Mindblowing like Prince? Or middling like King? Or something else entirely?

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KOT2King of Thorns (Broken Empire, book 2), by Mark Lawrence

published in 2012

where I got it: purchased new

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It’s all about a change in perspective.  Getting yourself somewhere where you can see the bigger picture, because there is always a bigger picture.

The story begins with a knife and a box. All Jorg can remember about the box is that it should never, ever be opened. If he opens it, it will destroy him.  So strange, how something so small could destroy a person so completely.  If the dream-witch Sageous can get into Jorg’s mind, the only place his thoughts, plans, and memories are safe are someplace out of his mind. The box contains Jorg’s salvation and his destruction.

Split into two timelines (and each with multiple flashbacks), King of Thorns is far more complex than it looks.  In the “now” timeline, Jorg is 18 years old, about to get married, is surrounded by the armies of his enemy, Orrin, Prince of Arrow.  If he’s going to defeat Orrin, he’s going to need the memories and strategic plans that are locked in that box.  Haunted by the ghost of a child, Jorg continues to allow his baser instincts to influence him.

The other timeline is four years earlier, a few months after the end of Prince of Thorns.  Jorg is King of the Renar Highlands. Not the crown he planned on, nor the last one he expects to wear, but he’s got to start somewhere.  Young Gog is having trouble controlling his fire-magic, nearly setting the castle on fire more than once.  Jorg decides to travel to  a northern firemage, thinking if he can help Gog, maybe he can help himself.   Gog’s storyline was one of my favorite parts of the book.

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The rules for my “best of” post were simple: I had to have read and reviewed the book in 2011, and it couldn’t be a reread (otherwise this list would taken over by Lynch, Powers, Brust, and others).

In no particular order (saving me the impossible task of choosing my utmost favorites), here are my top reads of the last 12 months. I’m surprised so many of them are new-ish books, as that wasn’t really part of the plan. Enjoy the little teaser then click on the title for the full review.

Grey by Jon Armstrong (2007)  frantic, insane, completely over the top, hilarious, refreshing, and at times completely sick.  This is dystopia like you’ve never read before. This is body modification and mortification, life imitating art to the nth degree, and performance art like you’ve never imagined. This is fashion punk.

The Third Section by Jasper Kent (2011) The third in Kent’s Danilov Quintet, one of the most brilliantly frightening books I have ever read, and brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you’ve been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly.

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Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence

Published August 2011

Where I got it: rec’d review copy from Harper Collins/Voyager

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With an epic, empire-shattering sprawl that brings George R R Martin to mind,  and a quick and snarky narrative style reminiscent of Scott Lynch, yet with a twist unlike anything I’vecome across, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns is easily the most incredible epic fantasy I have ever read. To drop yet another name,  this is a novel that practically vibrates with deliberateness, making me think of Patrick Rothfuss at times.

Showing a true mastery of foreshadowing, Lawrence drops hints both overt and subtle that creep up on the reader like a path of breadcrumbs that twists and turns through the forest.  I don’t care if this path leads to a witch’s house, Lawrence has completely seduced me to the point where I can do naught but follow. I knew from the first chapter this was a book I’d be devouring.  The plot set-up is fast and clean,  the prose and dialog alive with “show me”, and long before the first twist hits you’ll realize this is nothing at all like your typical epic fantasy.

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We came home from vacation laden with fudge, wine, cherries, a few books,  and wonderful memories. Vacations out of town: I highly recommend ‘em. Even if you only go a few hours away.

Came home to find a few packages waiting for us on the kitchen table as well (thanks garden/house sitter!)

behold, books review-copy, purchased, and borrowed, and hopefully to be read soon:

from bottom to top, we’ve got:

The Thackery T Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, Edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – This is my top priority, once I finish the book I’m reading right now (more on that later). I really have no idea how to describe this book, but I’ll try. It’s a massive collection of stories, articles, photos and artwork of the strange things (and the stories behind them) that were found in Dr. Lambhead’s sprawling home after his death. The man was a hoarder/collector of anything and everything strange.  I believe the Vandermeer’s solicited entries for this, and accepted only the strangest.   Suffice to say, I’ve been excited about this one for a while, and when I tore open than shipping envelope I squee’d around the apartment for most of that evening.  I’ve only been able to spend about 10 minutes with the book so far, and just reading random opening paragraphs I can tell I’m gonna be squeeing the entire time I’m reading.

Lowtown, by Daniel Polansky – my 2nd priority.  I’ve been looking forward to this title for months.  Since I got a well written e-mail from a gent that started out something like “Hi, my name is Daniel Polansky, and I’ve written this book. . . . “.  Early reviews were positive, focusing on the anti-hero and darkness of the book. Well, ya’ll know I loves me an anti-hero, and I loves me some dark.  Not to mention this is a beautiful hardcover edition too.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.