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BOOK REVIEW – Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire #3) by Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW – Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire #3) by Mark LawrenceEmperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire #3)
by Mark Lawrence
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.

The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine. The world is cracked, time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days, the future so bright that those who see it are the first to burn. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne whoever seeks to thwart me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.

This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don't look to me to save you. Don't think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don't follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.

Sorry guys. I thought about some fancy way to write this review and it seems that I just – couldn’t. Maybe, one day, when I’ll reread it because of course I’m going to reread it, I mean, JORG for Pete’s sake, maybe this day I’ll be able to find, I don’t know,
a) A travel map review of his journey through Europe, because YES, I totally sought the places out during my read, frowning at the name slightly altered of a city, a river, a land… By the way, UK, the drowned Isles? I might have laughed at that. But I’m French, so, well. Okay I’m kidding! I love you British, don’t throw me anything!
b) A sketched review of Jorg’s best moments, because who doesn’t want to see someone …. Oh, well, it would be spoiling if I told you right? Don’t worry, I’d have to learn to draw for this and somehow I’m pretty sure it won’t happen in this life. Sigh.
c) A trial review to state on Jorg’s faith, but then, I guess that I’d have to be objective and where would be the fun if I couldn’t cry my love for him, I’m asking?

So. Someday. Maybe. Who knows. Certainly not me. It seems that you’re bound to suffer my not-so-fancy review, that is to say, let me purr my feelings for crying out loud.

“No half measures. Some things can’t be cut in half. You can’t half-love someone. You can’t half-betray, or half-lie.”

First of all, I can’t express how much this story drew me in. From the first time my eyes met Jorg’s thoughts (yes, I know, last week, shush) I knew that I wouldn’t be able to let go of this world before knowing the entire story. I tried to hold on because come on, have you tried to binge read fantasy? Usually I prefer to let my thoughts sink a bit before opening the next book and here? I couldn’t. I had to know. I felt like obsessed, so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading. So, yeah, I read them three way too fast for my own good because now I don’t know what to do with myself. Except writing this review-not-so-fancy, of course.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I wanted to stress how much these books enthralled and captivated me – they weren’t really page-turner but then, they were even better. Because sometimes I had to put my book aside and think about it a few minutes. Sometimes I needed to reread some sentences because dumb me! I didn’t get it. Sometimes I chose to reread some sentences because damn, that made me laugh. This was long at times, but trust me, this was worth it.

“My father taught me not to love or to compromise, the thorns taught me that even family bonds are fatal weaknesses, a man must walk alone, bide his time and strike when the strengh is in his hands. Sometimes, though, it seemed all that bound me to those lessons were the scars they had left on me.”

Jorg now. I’m craving for talking about him, of course. I mean, these books are really character driven and I’m almost sure you can’t really enjoy them if you don’t like him. Now, I can be wrong, and I would be really happy to be. If you have read my review of Prince of Thorns, then you know that this anti-hero fascinated me from the beginning. And young Jorg was something to handle, I’m telling you. I’ll borrow Chelsea’s words here, and say that he was our little killing machine. Yeah, that’s completely affectionate, and if that makes us crazy, so be it. I’m not going to re-explain how he was because there’s a lot of chance that if you read this you already know him.

Do you want to know if he’s going to evolve? Yes he will.
Will he become some white knight? No he won’t.

And that’s what I adored in Emperor of Thorns : the fact that Mark Lawrence managed to offer us a realistic evolution in his character, making him complex, multi-layered, without never travestying him in some unbelievable shadow of himself. He is bad, stubborn, terrible, and he knows it. He is human, flawed, and won my heart. I said it before, but I can’t help but feel ruined for the future heroes I will meet, especially in fantasy. As it is, I struggle to let him go. No more Jorg. Sigh.

“When you’re in a dark place, and your light is going to run out before too long, you get on with things. It’s a wonder to me how few people apply that same logic to their life.”

Finally, of course I won’t talk about the plot, because you should go blind into this last journey with Jorg – but I wanted to say :
1) I don’t know if I was supposed to, but I guessed some major twist way before Jorg. Now, it didn’t bother me because I enjoyed so much my read nothing could have spoiled it. And feeling more clever than Jorg? Best feels, guys.
2) The ending was epic and satisfying and above that, surprised me. Hours after finishing it, I find myself both happy and disturbed, truly amazed.

“At the sharp end of things there is only room for ourselves.”

BOOK REVIEW – King of Thorns (The Broken Empire #2) by Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW – King of Thorns (The Broken Empire #2) by Mark LawrenceKing of Thorns (The Broken Empire #2)
by Mark Lawrence
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

Do you know what I love in these books? Picture the perfect hero. Kind. Skilled. Supported by all kind of prophecies. See this guy, the perfect Gary Sue of fantasy? Well, here, you root for the other guy who wants to kill him.

Because Jorg is some kind of anti Gary Sue.

“I don’t play by the rules you choose.”

Hello, Gary Sue : Prophecies see you rule the world because you’re the One.
And Jorg? Prophecies see you rot in Hell and witches bet against you. Screw you. Well, now, there’s this Necromancer who’s dying to have you as ally, but is it really a good thing?

“If he told me something about the glories ahead for the Prince of Arrow I would have trouble restraining myself. If he suggested I might be born in the year of the goat then there would be no restraint!”

That doesn’t work. Too long. Let’s nickname our heroes, shall we?

GS : Everybody loves you, because you’re that merciful.
J : Nobody should love you because the only way to live for you is merciless. Now, there are fools everywhere. People who love you don’t know why though.

GS : If you’d earned a medal each time you won a great battle, their weight would stop you from walking.
J : If there’s something I learnt, it’s that you know when to run. And when to come back.

GS : You lead an army which is formidable in many ways : in numbers, in courage, in skill… Damn you’re exhausting me here.
J : Well, you can be dazzling, but a trick is a trick. By the way, you own the best ideas and made me giggle like crazy at times. You surprise me. And with surprises, I’m like a little child : Aww thank you, and can I have some more?

“As Maical would say, it helps to have the elephant of surprise on your side.”

GS : Yes, but you are good.
J : Don’t care, you’re funnier, little smart-ass.

GS : You follow some kind of rules in your life. In the best case you even have a book where they’re written just for you. Lucky you!
J : Rules? What are you talking about? There’s no such things as rules in this world!

GS : You do what is right.
J : You do what is good … for you

“Sensible, honest. I don’t even know how to pretend those things.”

GS : You’re fucking handsome and you stay it.
J Well… Hmm… No offense Jorg, but I might find you scary in the real life.

GS : Professional savior is your full-time job.
J : There was a moment in this book when you save someone you didn’t even know! I was so proud of you, Little Jorg. Careful though, don’t go all weak however.

GS : You want to rule because you want to bring justice in this world
J : You want to rule because you can, DUH.

“I wonder if we don’t all go stamping and crashing, crashing and stamping in our own little circles going nowhere. And I wonder who it is that laughs at us.”

GS : You wear your kindness on your face.
J : Damn, you’ve got so many secret failures hidden in your heart it took a whole book to unravel them – but that was worth it, because above all we already know about you, in this book you become more – a complex King who’s growing up, acquiring maturity and who perhaps, perhaps will learn to be better, yet can never forget what he truly is, his devil inside and his wickedness.

Flash news! Gary Sue is in this book! Luckily that’s not Jorg.

Meanwhile? Damn you, Jorg of Ancrath, to make me care so much I almost cried for you. We can follow a good hero and feel his pain but what happens when a flawed bastard we love is hurting and lets go of his shell to show us his vulnerabilities? We cry, plain and simple.

“We’re not memories, Katherine, we’re dreams. All of us. Each part of us is a dream, a nightmare of blood and vomit and boredom and fear. And when we wake up – we die.”

I think I’m kind of ruined for future heroes now. Sigh.

PS : One thing to know ➸ the rhythm is way slower than the first one and if it didn’t bother me because I honestly thought that the story needed it in order to develop Jorg’s characterization, I think it would annoy some readers. Voilà, that was my only complaint toward the book. But then, the back and forth between past and present was worth it. Even if I was frustrated more often than not.

BOOK REVIEW: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark LawrencePrince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)
by Mark Lawrence
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Mark Lawrence's debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

 photo 13601492_zpsa5j4bork.png

Hate will keep you alive where love fails.

So, I’m not going to say anything good and I’m not going to say anything bad about this book. This was read solely for the purpose that I wanted to support Anna on her bday read and it doesn’t matter if I loved or hated this book-it wasn’t about me. Now, the reason I can say all this in such an even tone is that it’s all pretty simple: There were parts I was bored out of my mind with, and then others where I was having a really good time reading. Again, in normal Chelsea fashion, I’ll say why I think that is-I don’t like traveling books. Like…ever. So maybe that’s part of it. But it’s more than that, I think. I won’t bash. I won’t gush. But here are the finer points on each end of the spectrum:

The Good:

Jorg

He was an asshole and, for whatever reason, I liked him about as much as Anna. He was mean, cruel, and he was despicable beyond redemption….but his foul mouth and harsh actions did nothing to deter my love for him. Whatever that’s about…

The action scenes

Call me a sucker for a perilous situation, but it is what it is. The battles rocked.

SOME of the flashbacks

I liked what happened in them and how they shaped him as an evil little bastard. He was always destined to be that way, I believe, but seeing all that helped me to understand, a tad.

The Bad:

The traveling

Just….no.

All the people I had to remember

Eh. Attention span, yeah?

The droll, dragged out conversations at times

Sigh…see point above.

The Ugly:

What he ate at one point in the novel…

Oh, Jorg, you sick little bastard. I about threw up…just…no. Don’t do that again lmao >.<

There was lots of ugly, but that is to be decided at your own discretion for what you, as a reader, can tolerate. I liked most of the ugly-but that’s just me.

The old Jorg would have kept him there forever. I’ve grown, but whatever monster might be in me, it was always mine, my choice, my responsibility, my evil if you will.
It’s what I am, and if you want excuses, come and take them.

Sooooo. That sums up how I decided to rate, a little, without going one way or another. I just wanted more. And maybe book two WILL have more…but for now I will just say it was a fun read with two awesome chicks and I can’t wait to do it again.

Love ya, Frenchy Bug! *Muah*

BOOK REVIEW – Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW – Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark LawrencePrince of Thorns (The Broken Empire)
by Mark Lawrence
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Why, hello, anti-hero! I’m going to tell it right away : I loved the guy. That sick little Evil. Sue me.

Sick little evil… Hmm… Tell me more

“There is no evil, Makin,’ I said. ‘There’s the love of things, power, comfort, sex, and there’s what men are willing to do to satisfy those lusts.”

There’s no need telling that Jorg is infuriating, sarcastic, selfish, smart-ass, ruthless, nope. Of course all these words could define him but the only thing you need to know is that you’re going to have to brace yourself because we have a real villain as a hero here. And damn, I loved that. Since the murder of his mother and brother, Jorg’s decided to run away from the castle where he’d been raised – yes, because he’s a prince, duh – and started to … well … is kill people with a bunch of mercenaries good enough of a description? Yeah? He kills without an afterthought, he rapes, respects NOTHING (and I mean it. Literally nothing.) and can sacrifice everyone of his fellows, his so-called Brothers, who follow him everywhere and all share a spark of devil.

“You know how to break the cycle of hatred?” I asked.
“Love,” said Gomst, all quiet-like.
“The way to break the cycle is to kill every single one of the bastards that fucked you over”, I said.”

➸ Yeah, this is a really violent journey you’re about to start. *whisper* Now, I laughed a lot, you know. Are you scared of me? I am scared of me.

“That silence almost beat me. It’s the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears. The spirits of the dead have nothing on it. The dead one tried to show me hell, but it was a pale imitation of the horror I can paint on the darkness in a quiet moment.”

No but seriously. SERIOUSLY. I’m a tad worried because I never could bring myself to hate him, even though each and every one of his actions, what am I saying, of his thoughts yelled HATE ME!! JUST DO IT ALREADY!

But you know what?

♠ If I take an unflinching look at what I feel about him and if I compare with what made me loathe characters that a lot of people loved, I know how I could manage to accept him : That’s because he’s plain evil and AT NO POINT during the book, someone is telling us that he is good. NEVER. I can accept, even LOVE to follow a fucking twisted bastard if I’m not feeling urged to drool over him, like other male leads we meet in a lot of romance for example. There’s no point in seeking redemption out for Jorg, there’s none. That makes this journey in his sick head all kind of fascinating.

“It’s what I am, and if you want excuses, come and take them.”

Did I appreciate the writing? Of course I did. ▒

♠ There’s no brilliant way to explain it, no similes everywhere, but a flow that made me eat the book way faster than I thought I would. Now, I don’t know if that’s because I loved being in Jorg’s head so much, but his inner monologues pleased me to no end and I was never bored. I trade any of my YA female leads for Jorg’s monologues on any day. Indeed the irreverent tone of his humor drew me in and it seemed that I never could get enough of it. Even if the guy is always on the verge of stabbing someone. No one is perfect right?

Oh, and I guess I’m supposed to talk about the plot? Let’s do this. ▒

♠ Saying that I was captivated wouldn’t do justice to the book – no. Because from the first line to the last, I stayed wide-eyed and eager to learn more. One piece of advice : keep your heart still, because the path Jorg takes is ruthless. Violent. We’re spared nothing, so before starting this book, keep in mind that you’re going to be sick sometimes, shocked, uncomfortable – in a word, you’ll have to grit your teeth several times. You’ve been warned.

“Cowards make the best torturers. Cowards understand fear and they can use it. Heroes on the other hand, they make terrible torturers. They don’t see what motivates a normal man. They misunderstand everything. They can’t think of anything worse than besmirching your honour. A coward on the other hand ; he’ll tie you to a chair and light a slow fire under you. I’m not a hero or a coward, but I work with what I’ve got.”

๑ To conclude, what made this book stand out from the rest in my opinion is the fact that the dark personality of Jorg leads to a complete and oh so amazing uncertainty. Yes, because you’re all kind of unpredictable when your conscience never bothers you. We might oppose that there’s too much luck in it, and that would be true, there’s no denying it. Plus the word-building is a little messy at times (apparently, a medieval setting in an odd Europe after a near apocalypse, so in the future. No?). What can I say? I don’t care.

I fucking loved this book. That’s all.

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