I bought Prince of Thorns on a whim. Whilst I hadn’t heard anything from personal sources, I was aware that this book had done quite well commercially. The cheesy tagline didn’t prompt high expectations, but I thought I would give it a go. Read anything once, and all that.

Prince of Thorns turned out to be one of the best reads I’ve had in a while. I think after a long stint of reading unexceptional books it’s easy to lose interest in the words altogether. It usually takes something fantastic to snap me out of such moods, and this did just that.

I won’t pretend it’s the most well-written book I’ve ever read, and if we’re being quite politically correct it’s far from innocent in terms of racial stereotyping, but Jorg Ancrath is a bloody good character.

For me, that red sticker on the cover is a disservice. This book has what A Game of Thrones does not – a bad, bad boy who does bad, bad things, but somehow retains the necessary scrap of emotional investment to keep me interested. If I’m being honest, I don’t like GoT. I found it a slog, and whilst some of the characters were nasty buggers, I had zero empathy for them, and very little interest in their development.

Jorg, however, I loved. He’s the textbook definition of messed up, but he got me on board, and can we just talk for a minute about the setting? Neo-Medieval possible post-nuclear is nothing new (Thank you, Terry Brooks), but the delicate craftsmanship with which it weaves into this narrative is so well done. The writing isn’t perfect, but as an example of futuristic fantasy I think this is magnifique.

I looked online before I wrote this review, and noticed that a lot of the criticism of this book stems from the fact that Lawrence has made Jorg a ruthless, unethical bastard who gets away with everything. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the point.

Personally, I am so done with reading about good and noble princes. They have a place, but see them everywhere and they get boring! Sometimes we want a rampaging monster, and in Jorg we are given an ultimate evil, an unscrupulous embodiment of nasty.

I read this book in one sitting. I devoured it, and I get the feeling that this is just the opening of an even better trilogy about redemption in terms of real evil.

I have just ordered King of Thorns, so heads up for another review soon!

Update: I finished the trilogy! See what I thought here.