Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book 1: Prince of Thorns

I've seen this book quite a few times on my recommended list from Amazon, based on my purchasing history of course. Seemed like a natural to put on my wishlist. There's a lot to like and a lot not to like in Mark Lawrence's "Prince of Thorns" a book that I had more conflicting feelings about than just about any other I've ever read. On one hand, it is brash, crazy, and totally over the top. Jorg Ancrath is one of the irredeemably despicable central characters in a long time, which, of course, plays to my overly masculine desire to read about a lot of intriguing action and death scenes. But, alas, this is ultimately an empty pursuit that needs to be balanced by something other than heaping helpings of loathsome activities. If there were a better counter balance within the novel itself as played by a someone, anyone, who wasn't entirely contemptible in their actions or pursuits, it might have been able to elevate above just being a revenge fantasy genre book. It almost feels like a cynical approach to readership that we'll just accept any horrible abuse as "part of the character" or "necessary for the story". The tepid attempts at some sort of redemption are almost more cynical in that there really is no redemption for any of the characters outside of death and a chance to start over. There were a couple of intriguing characters introduced much later in the book. Being said, I actually still enjoyed many aspects of the book. There are moments when the writing really escalates and Lawrence shows his chops. Even though most of the characters are stock types found in nearly every fantasy ever written, they are still fun and darkly humorous at times. I just really wish that Lawrence could have pulled this up from the gutter a bit more (though I think he does in the second book).

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