Book Review: Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)My rating: 3/5

Prince Jorg, caught in a brier and a web of magic and political intrigue, bears witness to the brutal rape and murder of his mother and younger brother and the hands of his uncles men. When his father strikes a bargain with his brother instead of seeking revenge, 10 year old Jorg runs away from home and takes up with a group of bandits, hoping that his road of pillaging and murder will eventually lead him to his uncle’s door and vengeance.
Jorg is portrayed as a willful 14 year old suffering from psychotic schizophrenia caused by early childhood trauma. Somehow he has managed to rise up the ranks and now leads the bandits he took up with. He is constantly struggling with the urge to kill and often goes against what his own inner voice tells him to do. His contrary nature leads him to return to his father’s castle, where he learns that there may be another force prompting his erratic behavior. Things start to become clearer when his father sets him a test to prove his worthiness to inherit the family throne.
The story is set in a medieval world, which has come about following a nuclear apocalypse in our own world. The fallout seems to have reopened the gates of magic and the dead, as well left some people mutated into monsters. The book is full of bloody violence and dark humour, which may not be to everyone’s taste. The writing is solid enough but the use of modern terms jars until you realise that the world is post-apocalyptic and still has links to our technological time through books. This aspect could have been handled better, but Lawrence May very well be keeping the reader in the dark.
As noted above, this book will not appeal to everyone because of its darker themes and gory violence, but otherwise this is a fairly well-written book with a unique and interesting lead character.

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