Surviving a Bad Book – Prince of Thorns


Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

2 Stars



Back in 2011 I kept hearing about this new up and coming author, Mark Lawrence and what a wunderkind he was. He was on the forefront of this new fantasy sub-genre, something called “grim dark”. I figured I had nothing to lose and dived into it.

Oh my goodness.  I was shocked, to say the least. Jorg was a 13 year old psychopath who raped and murdered his way through the book. There wasn’t a single good thing I could point to and it left me feeling betrayed and angry at Lawrence.  I don’t even remember any details about the plot, as Jorg dominated everything in my mind.

If I wanted that kind of entertainment, I can turn on the news. Seriously, there is enough horrible stuff in the real world, every single minute, of rape, of abuse, of neglect, of despair and of death for any sicko to get their rocks off. So why someone voluntarily reads this for fun is beyond me. What amazes me even more (in a bad way) is that someone wrote this. It boggles my mind that such filth was given the light of day. How does Lawrence go out in public knowing he penned, for any and all to read,  such things?



And those strong feelings are why I’ve never read another Lawrence book since.  In the last couple of years I have heard good things about his Red Sister trilogy. Once the final book is out and if it doesn’t stoop to frenzied levels of despairing violence, I’ll probably give Lawrence another chance. But even if I like it, I’ll always remember that this guy wrote someone like Jorg.


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43 thoughts on “Surviving a Bad Book – Prince of Thorns

  1. I agree totally. Writing reveals so much about yourself. That someone can come up with a truly reprehensible creature like that AND give it the light of day is beyond my fathom. I’d see a psychiatrist if I was having thoughts like that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for affirming that thought. Even if Lawrence wasn’t chortling eviling while writing Jorge (from everything I understand Lawrence is a pretty nice guy in real life) just the fact that he could write that at all is disturbing. If I could do that I’d be questioning the very state of my soul and wondering if I was mentally unhinged.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve questioned the people who are reading his Red Sister trilogy and so far it seems that none of that kind of thing is in it, which is why I’m considering reading it.
      If I do though, I’ll be very vocal about how this is an exception to the rest of his writing and not the norm. I wouldn’t want someone to read the Broken Empire trilogy because of something I said.

      Probably a good call on your part…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve finished “Red Sister” a few days ago. I’ve just got to write the review…But it’s so bad I can’t find the will to do so…When I say bad, I mean it’s pretty bad. The guy just can’t write…He’s another Michael J. Sullivan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhh, you picked the wrong guy as an example. I love Sullivan’s stuff and I’m not remembering from 14 years ago with him 🙂

      That being said, I’ll look forward to your review of Red Sister…

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Some of the pearls from my review:

            “You’re going to ruin all your pretty makeup” — said to Thrace by Hadrian as she was crying….

            “I mean, sure, she’s cute as a button…” said by Hadrian about Thrace.

            “She was a vision of youthful beauty and Hadrian guessed she could not be more than seventeen.”

            I also like a love interest in my SF, but this is too much…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, that does sound bad. I never felt an inclination to pick up Lawrence, mostly due to the loudly marketed “grimdark” vibe, which actually seems to require a separate post – if you put Cook and Lawrence into one bag, something with your bag might be really wrong, like Hermione Granger enhanced bag-wrong 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow.
    I really liked your review. I’m not a fantasy reader, and haven’t read anything by Mark Lawrence. Have seen this series around and all the reviews were so great so that i picked up the books in the charity shop, not really knowing much about it.
    I’m not sure i want to read anything about a child psycho/rapist tho. Wow. Just wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I suppose this is just an example of how everyone likes different things. Personally, I enjoyed Jorg’s story and found the entire trilogy to be fascinating. I thought it was an utterly genius thing to create a character who was not a good person and was meant to be that way. Jorg is one of the most interesting characters I have read recently and it was refreshing even though he is a thoroughly reprehensible character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When writing this post I had to be VERY careful to not lambast all the people who did like this trilogy or the character Jorg. Because I don’t understand the attraction at all.

      And my goal in writing these SaBB posts isn’t to rag on the fans of Book X but more to rag on the book/character that I survived 🙂
      Well, except for that fan of “Sword of the Archon”, I totally ragged on them in that SaBB post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think, with Jorg, it’s the same as people’s fascination with true crime. No-one wants to be a psychopath but the psychology behind them is interesting. You’re disgusted by what they do but you’re drawn to understand what made them that way. The only difference is that Jorg is fictional.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I lasted a couple of chapters with this one and hated the MC so much that I just couldn’t continue. I need to care in some way about the MC to get into a book but there were no redeeming qualities about that little monster!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I read this book my reaction was not as shocked as yours (even though I had to avert my eyes – i.e. close the book – several times in the course of my reading), and I ultimately did not dislike the story, though I could not really warm up to the main character. On hindsight, though, there must be a reason I never picked up any of the sequels of any other book by this author…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you a fan of grimdark? If not, that might be as much a reason as any for why you never continued.

      I know I don’t even bother to try new books today if they’re touted as “grimdark”. Doesn’t matter how good the story is, that sub-genre and I just don’t hit it off…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I read grimdark without problems, unless there is a marked authorial enjoyment in the focus on the bloodiest aspects of the story – this is not the case here, all the cruelty seems in tune with the way this world is shaped, but still I could not warm up to Jorg: I saw where his ruthlessness came from, and I understood its roots, but what I was missing here was the glimmer of humanity, the barely perceived hint of hope that sometimes makes all the difference.
        I felt the same kind of… distance (for want of a better word) with a character similar to Jorg in “The Court of Broken Knives”, and although I was intrigued by the story, I feel some sort of reluctance in moving forward to the next book…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. If Grimdark “has to be all endless violence and rape and 13 year old snotty children being chosen to do bad stuff to be the hero’I will be stepping away aswell. Have I mentioned that I realy do love your SaBB posts. Even if I at times might not have the same views as you, it still entertains me a whole bunch. Keep them comming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I have to admit, once I find the right “bad” book, the words just flow. Too easy sometimes 😀

      I’ve tried enough grimdark to know it just isn’t for me. So whenever I see a book labelled that way, even if just by a fan, that becomes an auto-no for me. It takes some really, really good reviews to even think about something people call grimdark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s good and bad grimdark. Abercrombie belongs to the former. I think we’ve discussed things a few years ago in I recall right. He’s not nasty for the sake of being nasty. Moreover, Abercrombie does not do Nasty. If he did I wouldn’t read his stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. oh wow I never heard of grim dark before! but yup. a 13 serial rapist is not something I think I would like! Glad you survived it. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Hyperbole carton LOVE IT TO PIECES. On eof my fav books of all times 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your feelings for this author, and especially the protagonist of this trilogy is definitely hard to ignore hahah It sure does makes you wonder why anyone would like such dark things, without any ray of light/redemption arc or whatever. But hey, I do like to try and see what’s under all that darkness within a person and why. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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