I was twenty pages from the end when I had to stop to write this review before I forgot what I had to say. I have never done that before.
King of Thorns is better than the first book. It is brutally brilliant, gruesomely good, and amid the carnage offers slivers of a rainbow before snatching it away in a world and future as grim and real as any out there.
Amid the wickedness that is Jorg Ancrath, you will find wit and wisdom to match. Sometimes almost too much for a young man of eighteen. But then, he is not a normal young man, or else why would Lawrence tell us his story? He is special in every way and so is this book.
From characterization, to prose, to style, to setting, King of Thorns is carefully laid out in ways that capture the imagination, whether good or bad or ugly. The writing just feels so natural, so Jorg. Take the two passages below.
“It being Sunday, the cook prepared a special treat for us. Snails in garlic and wine, with saffron rice. The snails came from local cliffs. A big variety as thick as a child’s arm. But let’s face it, snails are just slugs with a hat on. The main dish looked like large lumps of snot in blood.”
“But they’ll sing songs about Quick Jorg for years to come. Fast with one sword, faster with the other,” she said.
Those two are just miniature snippets of hundreds of passages in this book that speak to the style, and in fact, are nowhere near the best there is, but are worthy examples.
Whether in act of defense, murder, or the twines of manipulation, Jorg tells his story in gripping fashion without any apology. Simply put, his will is indomitable, his hunger for revenge and power near insatiable, he’s conniving and cruel, but he is no less spellbinding to read. At times, he has the tiny touches of compassion that make you think he’s coming around, that he is human after all, before he disabuses you of the notion.
Five days it took me. This is the fastest I remember reading in a long time. I was simply transported into this boy, this tale, this world. And I want more. No. I NEED more.
There will be naysayers as there were for Prince of Thorns. To them I shrug. They simply do not understand Jorg or the condition of humanity than when driven to extreme circumstances, might surface in any one of us.
Thank you, Mr. Lawrence.
P.S I read those last twenty pages. The ending was nothing short of amazing with a great plot twist and some classic unscrupulous Jorg.