Emperor of Thorns (Broken Empire #3) by Mark Lawrence

Posted: October 6, 2013 by Arushi in Book Review
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Emperor of Thorns

The final book in the Broken Empire trilogy, Emperor of Thorns does make a fitting conclusion to the story. If you have not read the series, or even this book, I would advise against reading this review. Way too many spoilers ahead.

This is a series that I really like. The writing style is different really fresh, and the protagonist Jorg is really intriguing. Not to mention I really like that he is who he is without excuses or angst.

The first book, Prince of Thorns, showed Jorg from when he was fourteen and from when he was ten – from when he ran away from his father’s palace and from when he came back. It is the story of a Prince who has decided that he will be King before his fifteenth year.

King of Thorns, has two timelines again. In one he travels to his mother’s family on the Horse Coast, through swamps that are crawling with the dead with what is left of his road brothers. The second, is four years after that time, and Jorg is defending Renar against the forces of Orrin, Prince of Arrow. There is a third element in the book, Jorg is reading Katherine’s journal in the ruins of his castle. But it is impossible to tell whether he won or lost to Orrin.

Like the previous books there are separate timelines in Emperor of Thorns. Five years ago is the rest of the story of what happened on the Horse Coast and how Jorg finally returned to Renar. The  other part is set in the present and Jorg is setting out to attend Congression in Veyne but the addition is Chella (the Necromancer from Gelleth in Book 1 who also showed up in the Swamps in Book 2) telling parts of the story. It is she who gives the first real glimpse of the Dead King.

The past that Jorg could not tell in the last book because he had hidden it from himself in the copper box is finally revealed. It is the time when he traveled from the lands of his grandfather to allow Fexler Brews to die and where he gained the gun that helped him kill the Prince of Arrow. Then he traveled to Afrique, because this is Jorg and Qalasadi had tried to kill his family and blame him for it. Vengeance is kind of his thing.

The events in Ibn Fayed’s palace in the middle of the Sahara unfold in a very Jorg like fashion, with much bloodshed and intelligence all revealed at the last minute – which as always makes you wonder if he is that brilliant or if he makes it up as he goes along.

In the present, all the rulers are collecting to try to decide upon an emperor. They have been at it for over a century and the Broken Empire remains broken. But this time there is a time limit, the Dead King is marching upon the very doors of Veyne and the chance of survival is greatest only if an Emperor sits upon the throne.

I knew who the Dead King was. There were too many hints and after a point, it really was an easy guess. But at the same time, I had no idea how that would go over with Jorg. Or how their meeting would go, period. I did not expect what finally happened. I did not really expect this end – and it was fitting in a way. And as the author wished, he did leave me wanting more.

The book works extremely well. It is a good end to a good series. But I will miss Jorg and I cannot reconcile him to his data echo. Someone that unpredictable, that impulsive and rash, cannot be summed up in numbers and he cannot be as calm as he was in speaking to his son. But then again, the data echo did say that Jorg truly loved his son and he felt a really loud echo of that love.

I find it hard to reconcile with Jorg becoming a good man, a hero at the end. In his own vicious manner maybe, but a hero who sacrificed himself for the people he loved. Not really for the greater good, but he did it for his son and because he would not have the world burn.

I truly believed that he would find a way to live, and maybe even bring William back, because how could he not. He had always put himself first, he damn well should have survived. I am sure I will get over it eventually – and at least he was his own mad self till the very end. Thank Heavens for that. The data echo being all reasonable was bad enough – I would have cried if Jorg became sensible too. Plus the way the actual end was worded, for all I know, the brothers might have found a way to make it back. God knows they had more than enough will.

Still. A really good series and definitely one of my favorites. One I really recommend,


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