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King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb. Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in liv King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb. Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg plans to change that. He’s uncovered the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it. But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.


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King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb. Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in liv King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb. Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg plans to change that. He’s uncovered the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it. But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.

30 review for Emperor of Thorns

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    Just couple of ratings needed to reach 40,000! All reviews very much appreciated :) --------------- Finished the Broken Empire trilogy and want more? Check out Road Brothers for backstories on Jorg and friends! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... In case you're wondering which book in the trilogy people liked best - here's the result of a poll on the subject: http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk... If you've read The Red Queen's War trilogy, the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, and the Impossible T Just couple of ratings needed to reach 40,000! All reviews very much appreciated :) --------------- Finished the Broken Empire trilogy and want more? Check out Road Brothers for backstories on Jorg and friends! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... In case you're wondering which book in the trilogy people liked best - here's the result of a poll on the subject: http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk... If you've read The Red Queen's War trilogy, the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, and the Impossible Times trilogy then the next thing from me is The Girl and the Stars, the First Book of the Ice, out in April 2020: http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk... And don't forget to check out my Prince of Thorns review! http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Right... Emperor of Thorns: I'm too close to it to tell right now, but I think perhaps this is my best work. I hope it takes what's strongest in Prince of Thorns and in King of Thorns and mixes that to produce a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. All I can say is ... you ain't seen nothing yet.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”I failed my brother. I hung in the thorns and let him die and the world has been wrong since that night. I failed him, and though I’ve let many brothers die since, that first pain has not diminished. The best part of me still hangs there, on those thorns. Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones. The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy ”I failed my brother. I hung in the thorns and let him die and the world has been wrong since that night. I failed him, and though I’ve let many brothers die since, that first pain has not diminished. The best part of me still hangs there, on those thorns. Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones. The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy of violence, a message blood-writ, requiring a lifetime to translate.” The Prince, The King, The Man Jorg Ancrath is king of seven kingdoms at the tender age of twenty. He did not achieve this feat with political intrigue. Oh no, that would have taken too long and required the type of patience of which he has very little. At fourteen he could swing a sword as well as any grown man. He is a natural born leader of rogues, thieves, and murderers and soon learns how to best use their skills to obtain what he desires. He has seven principalities, but he didn’t come so far so fast to stop there. He wants to rule the entire Broken Empire. You are either with him or you are against him dead. We don’t know what kind of man Jorg would have become if he had not witnessed the brutal deaths of his brother and mother while he hung in the thorns, hooked, bleeding, and too scared to rip himself loose. His father made it clear that the wrong son died. William was better at everything. Jorg might have spent his days whoring, gambling, and drinking, taking full advantage of being the neerdowell son, but with William dead and his father rejecting him... well... he went psychotic. ”Whatever lay broken inside me had started to wind too tight to be ignored. I would shake the world until its teeth rattled if that was required to have it spit out an answer. Why? The trilogy is set in the future. The Builders who despite the wonderful technologies or maybe because of them destroyed themselves. It was the day of a thousand suns taking the world from the height of civilization back to medieval in about the time it took everyone to say…oh shit. Anybody who has studied a bit of history knows that in medieval times if there were laws they were only enforceable by those with the brawny strength to uphold them. Might made right and with Jorg’s warped; and yet, at times astute view of world he is a man of his time. ”Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.” Jorg will sacrifice any friend no matter how precious or how loyal to achieve his ends. He will rape, pillage, and murder because he is bored or annoyed or needs something to chase away the pain in his head. Now here is where Mark Lawrence works his own bit of necromancy. Despite the fact that Jorg is this despicable little bastard with a moral compass that spins with the wind you will start to like him. It will scare you. It might even make you retch. You will spend time with heart palpitating and all that you hold dear being re-evaluated when you realize that Jorg has reached into your soul and touched a darkness that you didn’t even know was there. You will not be able to return to Mayberry. Jorg has a wife, an arranged marriage, that by some twist of the universe has paired two people that are entirely suited to each other. There are no illusions, no love, no trust, but something more important is formed a bond of mutual respect. Miana is pregnant and it makes me tremble to think of this child, forged in such fury, let loose upon a world trying to climb one step closer to civilization. He will either be the savior or the final destruction. One of the enemies that Jorg has made is the pope of Rome, a bloated, fat woman that confirms the reason why gluttony should be a sin in a world where so many go hungry. She sends an assassin. ”Sometimes it cuts to see other men more passionate than I about the things that I should care for. I knew that if the Pope’s assassin had killed Miana and our unborn child I would have grieved. But also I knew that some terrible part of me, down at the core, would have raised its face to the world with a red grin, welcoming the chance, the excuse, for the coming moments of purity in which my revenge would sail upon a tide of blood. And I knew that rage would have swept away everything else, including sorrow.” Jorg responds by deciding to rebuild a church which when one first hears of this you might think that Jorg is growing up thinking more about repairing alliances than thinking about revenge. You would be wrong. The pope has to come and consecrate a new church which would put her within sword length and as we know that has proven to be a too close to continue breathing for enemies of Jorg in the past. The Congression is being called and all the leadership from all the principalities is coming together for a vote for King of the Broken Empire. The Dead King is marching his armies with the intent to rule what is left of humanity. His army builds as they kill people and turn them into their puppet soldiers. Jorg by murder, mayhem, and trickery is trying to obtain the votes necessary to be declared King of the known world as The Dead King’s army knocks at the gates. Brass Balls award goes to…Mark Lawrence. I don’t normally read fantasy. This is the first fantasy series that I’ve read all the books. A tip of the hat to Mark Lawrence to have the brass balls to end a successful series at three volumes. Part of the reason that I don’t read fantasy is generally by the time I take notice of a series it already has ten volumes or more. The characters have been facsimiled so many times they are merely a gray shade of themselves in the text. Lawrence is getting out clean with Jorg showing all the sharp edges of a man ready to step out of the text into the real world, and believe me you better have your sword drawn when you see the tip of his nose emerging. These books are bloody, brutal, dark, and marvelous. I do not contest any reviewers decision to give this book series one star or three stars or five stars. It is a series that will force the reader to evaluate their own capacity for violence. We all like to think of ourselves as good people, and we can maintain that illusion usually right up until the time we are truly tested. Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1) review. You'll have to forgive the brevity as I was a pup reviewer then. Link for my Prince of Thorns review King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2) review. A much more Keetenesque review. Link for my King of Thorns Review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Petrik

    3.5/5 Stars Emperor of Thorns marks the conclusion of The Broken Empire trilogy and I must say, despite my lukewarm and dislike towards the first and second book, I end up enjoying the last book in the trilogy more than I expected. Jorg, now 20 years old, is on his way to become the Emperor of the Broken Empire but there’s a looming threat that’s coming for him and the Broken Empire itself, the Dead King. EoT managed to wrap the main storyline wonderfully, the entire climax of the trilogy between 3.5/5 Stars Emperor of Thorns marks the conclusion of The Broken Empire trilogy and I must say, despite my lukewarm and dislike towards the first and second book, I end up enjoying the last book in the trilogy more than I expected. Jorg, now 20 years old, is on his way to become the Emperor of the Broken Empire but there’s a looming threat that’s coming for him and the Broken Empire itself, the Dead King. EoT managed to wrap the main storyline wonderfully, the entire climax of the trilogy between Jorg and the Dead King plus the ending is gripping and well written. It’s safe to say Jorg’s story that we followed since he was 10 years old ended satisfyingly. However, I feel like the end section deserve more screen time since it ended in a bit of a rush and at the same time, there are still some things unexplained specifically on the history sections and how exactly the Dead King came to be. Picture: Chibi Emperor Jorg by peastri The story is again told in the same method as before, divided between three main sections, Jorg’s 20 years old present day, 5 years earlier which continues straight after King of Thorns past section but before KoT present section (weird isn’t it?) and another female perspective, Chella the necromancer. Honestly, I prefer Chella’s Story more than Katherine’s diary back in KoT which were almost completely pointless imo. Chella’s story does provide information and depths to the main story and it’s told in 3rd person POV which added color to the narrative. There’s also one more reason why the plot in EoT is the best out of the trilogy. It’s the fact that there is only one or two ‘Dream sequence’ here. Let me tell you this, I despise the entire dream sequence of the trilogy, 90% of the time when it appeared, it ended up hurting the pacing and I can’t wait for it to be over as soon as possible. Every dream sequence is hard to digest and most of the time are pointless to the main storyline, it’s there to show Jorg’s obsession and relationship with his aunt, Katherine, which at the end, doesn’t have any closure whatsoever and made me wonder, what was the point of reading all that. Despite this trilogy having a huge problem in the scarcity of compelling side characters, Jorg is one of the most unique protagonist in fantasy I ever read. He’s pretty much the sole main driving factor of the trilogy and it’s really awesome to see his growth from the first book up to the end of EoT. He’s a really complex character, don’t get me wrong, he’s an asshole, a scum, ruthless, selfish and violent but he has his protective and redeeming factors. This book gives the conclusion on his journey into his redemption, whether he succeeded or not, I’ll leave it for you to find out. Picture: A scene from the book (Interior Artwork from Broken Empire Omnibus edition by Jason Chan) For the world-building section, the overdue explanation, while still unsatisfactory is finally here. Some “Gary-Stu” moments from King of Thorns finally received a proper explanation, especially regarding where Jorg received the Builder’s Tools. I do wish there is more information on the history and everything about the Builder, there is so much potential to make this series better but hey, in the end this trilogy has always been about Jorg. I must state once again that Mark’s prose is a thing of beauty and authenticity, it’s original, philosophical and sadly, a double edged blade for me. I don’t think it was a good idea for me to binge read this trilogy. I love binge read, it’s what I always do but on this case, I think this time the prose damaged my rating. There are a lot of parts that could be trimmed down, especially on Jorg’s inner monologue that go on and on more than necessary that made the trilogy tedious to read. “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.” Overall, I think The Broken Empire trilogy may be one of most overrated trilogy of all time for me. I struggled heavily to finish it that I don’t think it’s a good idea to read it right after reading Red Sister. To compare them is probably unfair since they’re written differently but it’s really obvious from the comparison in quality that this is Mark’s debut trilogy once you read it. I can’t say the same for Red Queen’s War (haven’t read it yet) but none of the book in this trilogy ever came close to the quality of Red Sister. I’ll recommend this trilogy to anyone who’s looking for a complete anti-hero and unique grimdark read but if you’re looking for a fantastic grimdark fantasy series, my recommendation is to look for a different series such as The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Series review: Prince of Thorns: 3/5 Stars King of Thorns: 2.5/5 Stars Emperor of Thorns: 3.5/5 Stars The Broken Empire Trilogy: 9/15 Stars Picture: The Broken Empire (Omnibus edition cover) You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    You may be wondering why/how I am reviewing a book that is not due to be published for several months. The answer is I couldn't wait, in more ways than one. I've written about Mark Lawrence before. I reviewed the first book in this series, Prince of Thorns, on my blog a couple years ago. I enjoyed it so much I happily offered quotes to Mark's publishers to be used on the second volume, King of Thorns, even before I'd had a chance to read it. I secured an advance copy of KoT, but again was too bus You may be wondering why/how I am reviewing a book that is not due to be published for several months. The answer is I couldn't wait, in more ways than one. I've written about Mark Lawrence before. I reviewed the first book in this series, Prince of Thorns, on my blog a couple years ago. I enjoyed it so much I happily offered quotes to Mark's publishers to be used on the second volume, King of Thorns, even before I'd had a chance to read it. I secured an advance copy of KoT, but again was too busy to get to it until after the publication date. You can see my King of Thorns review here, but the tl:dr version is I loved it. Loved it so much that despite the fact I often counsel eager readers that anticipation for a book can be a special pleasure in and of itself, I set about pulling strings to get a copy of Emperor. I knew the book was written, though advance reads and Netgalleys were still some time away. This is one of the places where being a published author living in NY can pay off. I know pretty much the whole staff at Ace/Roc, the imprint of Penguin that publishes Mark. Many of us drink together, and they often ask me to blurb new authors. But this time, my sources were no avail. The book was still in raw manuscript, without even a copyedit, and they were reluctant to release it in that form. I then tried Voyager, the UK publisher Mark and I both share. Again a fail. So I went right to the source. I have met Mark twice, been to his home, and shared many a correspondence with him. Through a combination of cajoling, false promises of friendship, and a little emotional blackmail, I wore him down enough to secure a word document, swearing to keep it secret and safe, deleting as I read so there would be no chance it might get out before its time. Indeed, the manuscript has already been returned to the digital ether, so don't ask. I'm not one for spoilery reviews, especially so far before publication, but that need not stop me from telling you to drop whatever else you're reading and start the Broken Empire trilogy. If you've already read the first two, the third is worth pre-ordering, or marking your calendar to buy in-store on release day. First week sales can make or break an author's career, and Mark deserves to see his star rise. In Emperor, we return to the character of Jorg, an amoral, violent, selfish protagonist, who nevertheless is posessed of an impressive charm and the soul of a poet. Told in the first person, Jorg's recounting of horrid events, conflicting emotions, and even the everyday pains and pleasures of life is told in a vivid prose filled with brutal honesty, profound reflection and brilliant metaphor. Every sentence is carefully crafted, a work of art and a pleasure to read. As with King of Thorns, the story weaves through different times in Jorg's life. One might say "past" and "present", though those are in some ways meaningless terms when speaking of the life of a fictional character set in a fictional world. In the "present", Jorg continues his path toward the Empire Throne, the last hope of uniting the broken remnants of humanity to single purpose once more. Though of course, Jorg does not want the throne for such lofty reasons. In truth, he does not know what he would do with it should he win. He just hates being told he cannot have something. On his way, he struggles with the kernels of real family for the first time since his childhood, fearing that caring too deeply will make him weak, and vulnerable to his enemies. The "past" of the story is no less compelling, providing background and context for the struggles in the "present" as Lawrence strips away the garments covering his world and letting us at last have a good long look at the underlying philosophy, magic and technology that makes it tick. Lawrence fills the last book of his series with unexpected twists and turns, and an ending I don't think readers are at all likely to predict. I certainly didn't. Broken Empire was an amazing series, and I eagerly anticipate Lawrence's next literary effort, whatever it may be.

  5. 4 out of 5

    seak

    Mark Lawrence likes to claim that authors are not their characters, but I think we need to look at the facts. Jorg Ancrath: 1. Single-mindedly takes the world by storm. 2. Spreads his wit (among other things, blood and guts included). 3. Flips everything on its head, traditions, magic, you name it. 4. Encourages blasphemy and the slaughter of innocents. 5. Will stop at nothing to reach his goals of claiming the title of Emperor. Mark Lawrence: 1. Single-mindedly takes the fantasy world by storm. 2. Sprea Mark Lawrence likes to claim that authors are not their characters, but I think we need to look at the facts. Jorg Ancrath: 1. Single-mindedly takes the world by storm. 2. Spreads his wit (among other things, blood and guts included). 3. Flips everything on its head, traditions, magic, you name it. 4. Encourages blasphemy and the slaughter of innocents. 5. Will stop at nothing to reach his goals of claiming the title of Emperor. Mark Lawrence: 1. Single-mindedly takes the fantasy world by storm. 2. Spreads HIS wit (and probably other things we won't name here). 3. Flips the fantasy world on its head with his antihero fantasy filled with modern technology and countless subverted tropes. 4. Encourages blasphemy and the slaughter of innocent bloggers and authors (through words only of course ... hopefully). 5. Will stop at nothing to reach his goals of claiming the David Gemmell Legend Award. We're not fooled Mr. Lawrence, no not by a long shot. The next thing we'll see is Mark kicking around Joe Abercrombie's decapitated head. And yes, this is to say, Emperor of Thorns was excellent. The perfect conclusion to an excellent trilogy. It's actually hard to imagine that Lawrence is a debut author and this his debut series. The writing is up there with Joe Abercrombie, filled with great one-liners and quotes at each turn of the page. The following were literally within a page of each other and I could add so many more: "When a decision is inevitable you may as well take it as quick as possible so that you still have something left to deal with whatever consequences may arise." (p. 172 Hardback) "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 lives." (p. 173) It's also just about impossible to stop reading this fascinating character Lawrence has created. Jorg Ancrath is compelling from the first page even when you quickly learn how really terrible he can be. I think there's a lot to going out and doing, accomplishing those things you set out to do whether it's looks feasible or not and Jorg does it all. I honestly do think that there's a lot of Lawrence in Jorg or vice-versa just because of the things that Lawrence himself has overcome. Publishing traditionally is difficult enough, but he can also literally say he is a rocket scientist. He even has a family of four, one of whom is severely disabled (and she is publishing amazing stories that my son absolutely loves btw!). This is a man who sets out to accomplish what he puts his mind to and makes it happen too. (Nothin' going on here GR police, nothing at all.) Really the only negative thing I can say is that the timeline gets a little crazy by this last volume. King of Thorns introduced a portion of the book that took us back "four years earlier" and which portion continues into Emperor of Thorns. The only problem is that it's a year later in the present so "four years" becomes "five years earlier," which later in the book (spoiler alert!) becomes four years earlier even though it is still called "five years earlier." Make sense? There are also flashbacks in the present time that add to the timeline fun, but it's nothing that takes you longer than a moment or two (days? not me, no way) to puzzle out, if that. I'm glad the reader is trusted enough to figure it all out, we can't all be rocket scientists can we? :) Lawrence asks us what happens if the good guy can't make it to save the day and you have to settle for the guy who has done terrible things. The guy you really shouldn't have to root for but who will get the job done. Is it worth it? It's amazing how well he pulled that off. Brutal fantasy that will make you cringe, that will make you think, and that you can't stop reading. Mark Lawrence is in for a terribly long writing career and Emperor of Thorns is about as perfect an ending as you can get. 4.5 out of 5 Stars (super duper highly recommended with cherries on top) The Broken Empire Trilogy: 1) Prince of Thorns (review) 2) King of Thorns (review) 3) Emperor of Thorns

  6. 5 out of 5

    Petros Triantafyllou

    Emperor of Thorns is Mark Lawrence's greatest work up to date (The Wheel of Osheim is out). "If i come back from Congression and I'm still not Emperor, I'm not going to be in the mood for excuses." Emperor of Thorns, just like it's predecessors, is featuring two different POVs of the same character. One in the past, covering the time period between the events of the second and third book, while the other, in the present, is following Jorg's tale in the path of conquering and uniting the Broken Em Emperor of Thorns is Mark Lawrence's greatest work up to date (The Wheel of Osheim is out). "If i come back from Congression and I'm still not Emperor, I'm not going to be in the mood for excuses." Emperor of Thorns, just like it's predecessors, is featuring two different POVs of the same character. One in the past, covering the time period between the events of the second and third book, while the other, in the present, is following Jorg's tale in the path of conquering and uniting the Broken Empire, and crowing himself Emperor. The stakes are now high,and every King is for himself. Or maybe not? If you have already finished the previous two installments, you know exactly what to expect. Exceptional plot arc, controversial and unexpected circumstances, and enough existential dilemmas to leave the book aside and ponder the meaning of life, is what characterizes Mark's work. “Hurt spreads and grows and reaches out to break what’s good. Time heals all wounds, but often it’s only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men.” Emperor of Thorns is providing the perfect closure for the critical acclaimed The Broken Empire trilogy, what has now come to be known as one of the greatest fantasy trilogies of our century. You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bookwraiths

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews Prince of Thorns was a seminal work in the fantasy genre. Jorg Ancrath a sociopathic protagonist who became both loved and reviled — seemingly in equal measure. The cry for “More Thorns!” overpowering. Quickly, Mark Lawrence turned Thorn‘s into an epic trilogy; a rousing tale of madness, mayhem, machinations, and meditations on the human condition. And with this final volume, the author has gifted readers with a fitting conclusion, remaining true to Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews Prince of Thorns was a seminal work in the fantasy genre. Jorg Ancrath a sociopathic protagonist who became both loved and reviled — seemingly in equal measure. The cry for “More Thorns!” overpowering. Quickly, Mark Lawrence turned Thorn‘s into an epic trilogy; a rousing tale of madness, mayhem, machinations, and meditations on the human condition. And with this final volume, the author has gifted readers with a fitting conclusion, remaining true to Jorg ‘s destructive nature yet giving him a measure of redemption. Emperor of Thorns begins with our favorite Ancrath tantalizingly close to realizing his lifelong ambitions. At twenty years old, Jorg is already king of seven nations, secure in his power, soon to have an heir, and the annual concave to elect an Emperor of the Broken Empire is fast approaching. While he is not certain of being elected to the throne, Jorg has a plan; one that will allow him to assume the reigns of power. What stands in Jorg’s way — as always, it seems — is his abusive father as well as the rising threat of the Dead King, who has completed his conquest of the Drowned Isles and has turned his necrotic eyes upon the continent. And so the tables are set for a final role of the dice for Jorg to either win all or lose all! Interspersed in the tale of Jorg’s procession to the Imperial Conclave is the flashback scenes that Mark Lawrence has made a centerpiece of this series. Here he goes back to Jorg’s time on the Horse Coast years before, detailing his quest to uncover the technology of the ancients in the nuclear wastelands of the peninsula and the further journey that these discoveries produce. Lastly, there are a few chapters scattered throughout focusing on Chella. This female necromancer has hounded Jorg throughout the trilogy, and here the narrative spotlights her . . . more as a way to introduce and detail the Dead King than for any other reason. As I mentioned earlier, this novel was a fitting ending to the trilogy. An action-packed extravaganza that was equal parts sociopathic mayhem and philosophical pronouncements as well as two journeys of discovery by Jorg with tidbits of world building, rousing fights and his grimace worthy actions in equal measures. Is it as awe-inspiring as Prince of Thorns? Not in my estimation. But worth is in the eyes of the beholder, and my preference for book one might be nothing more than just that: my personal preference of one good thing over the other. Because, honestly, I can’t point to anything that did not feel right about this book. It had wonderful pacing. It showed real growth in the characters. It made revelations about Jorg, his world, and the magic permeating it. Its flashbacks chapters even satisfactorily completed the story begun in King of Thorns . It reveals the Dead King in all his dark might and glory. And in the final conclusion it had the perfect emotional mix of realism, cynicism, and hope to cap this epic journey. If I was forced to name anything in the book that I did not find wholly appealing, it probably would be the pacing of the final few chapters before Jorg and the Dead King finally meet. It just seemed very rushed. Mark Lawrence frantically attempting to wrap this epic series up as quickly as possible. All in all, The Broken Empire is a fantasy series that will long be remembered by fans and detractors alike. A series that went somewhere that no other fantasy epics had truly ever been . . . at least, uber popular series. And I for one am very glad that I set aside my disillusion with book two and completed Jorg Ancrath’s journey, because it was quite the ride.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    A wonderful, surprising, and worthy ending to the Thorns trilogy. If you’ve followed Jorg Ancrath through the first two books, it shouldn’t shock you that Jorg does not give you the ending you might expect, but it’s an ending that makes perfect sense. As with the past two volumes, this book jumps around in time, from Jorg’s journey to the seat of the empire to vote for a new emperor, back to his earlier journeys through Hispania and Afrique in search of power and answers. Looming on the horizon A wonderful, surprising, and worthy ending to the Thorns trilogy. If you’ve followed Jorg Ancrath through the first two books, it shouldn’t shock you that Jorg does not give you the ending you might expect, but it’s an ending that makes perfect sense. As with the past two volumes, this book jumps around in time, from Jorg’s journey to the seat of the empire to vote for a new emperor, back to his earlier journeys through Hispania and Afrique in search of power and answers. Looming on the horizon is the Dead King, a mysterious force who has raised armies of the dead and bent powerful necromancers to his will. Eventually, Jorg will have to face both the Dead King and the other players in the internal struggle for the throne of the empire. How he manages this . . . well, let’s say he employs his typical Jorgian style and panache. There will be blood. It was hard to say goodbye to Jorg and his story, but I’m anxious to read Lawrence’s future books set in the Broken Empire. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    "Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me." Jorg of Ancrath, the Prince of Thorns, the boy who would be emperor, is back at long last. Our maliciously fascinating antihero is finally on his way to the holy city of Vyene. Escorted by the legendary Gilden Guard, Jorg is ready to make his way to Congression, the gathering of all the Hundred taking place every four years where they come together in the emperor’s palace to choose who among them shall take up the ever vacant throne of the Broken Emp "Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me." Jorg of Ancrath, the Prince of Thorns, the boy who would be emperor, is back at long last. Our maliciously fascinating antihero is finally on his way to the holy city of Vyene. Escorted by the legendary Gilden Guard, Jorg is ready to make his way to Congression, the gathering of all the Hundred taking place every four years where they come together in the emperor’s palace to choose who among them shall take up the ever vacant throne of the Broken Empire. But as Jorg finds the achievement of his ultimate ambitions to be closer than ever before, new complications arise in the most distant corners of the Empire. In the sands of Liba on the coast of Afrique, the caliph is intent on murdering Jorg's family. And in the far north, on the Brettan Isles, the mysterious and ghostly character known as the Dead King has conquered everything with his horde of corpses from the Deadlands. All of the Hundred are his enemies, but the only one to truly catch his interest is Jorg Ancrath. In the end, all the threads are woven together at the Congression in Vyene. "We have both walked black paths, lady. Don't think that mine leads back into the light. Of all those that tried to guide me, of my father, of the whispers from the thorn bush, of Corion's evil council, the darkest voice was ever mine." Mr. Lawrence's writing continues to be every bit as good as it was in the two previous books of the series. The character of Jorg Ancrath, though, is not as appealing to me as he has been before. Several events occur in this book which make him falter at times, lighting sparks of goodness, fallibility and even uncertainty in this glorious villain. And while noone are really infallible, this does something to Jorg, and takes away some of what made this series so incredibly fascinating in the first place. Just like in King of Thorns, the narrative of this book is divided into three parts. Firstly, of course, there's the tale of the present, of Jorg Ancrath en route to congression to claim the emperor's throne for himself. The second part takes place five years earlier, where Jorg has just uncovered the assassination attempt on his grandfather, and strives to bring vengeance upon those responsible, guided by the ghosts of the Builders themselves. There was in my opinion a bit too much of this part, taking away much of the focus from the main story. I understand that the reader needed to know more about Jorg's past to understand what drives his ambitions, but this part was at times a bit slow and overdone. The last part, though... was absolutely brilliant. The viewpoint of the necromancer Chella - aptly named 'Chella's story' - also takes place in the present, with Chella also on her way to Congression in Vyene as the representative of the dreaded Dead King, whose intentions and identity remain elusive even to her. Here we get a lot of insight into the main antagonists of the story, both Chella herself and her dark master. Then there's the ending. The ending to King of Thorns was definitely the single greatest moment of this trilogy, and sadly I cannot say that the ending to Emperor of Thorns managed to live up to that. For one thing, it felt extremely rushed. The story in the first half of the book moved quite slowly, but in a good way, and at times I was wondering if this was indeed going to be a five-star book. But the book allows no more than around 80 pages for the events at Congression, and everything moved forward way too fast to be good. The scheming and political manipulation was limited to a small number of sentences. Only a handful of the Hundred were even mentioned by name, and the so-called 'hidden hands' behind the thrones were completely absent. I also have to say that mostly everything that happened within the walls of Vyene was quite predictable. But despite my issues, the ending itself was good enough and an absolutely worthy ending for a character like Jorg Ancrath. I liked this book. Out of the three books of the Broken Empire trilogy, I would have to say this is number three in more than one way, but I still liked it. The final verdict from this humble reader is 3.5 stars, but the series as a whole quite certainly deserves four (hence the rating). For those of you who have already read the first and the second book and enjoyed them, you will enjoy this one as well, no matter if you share my opinion or not. For those of you who have not read any of them, it's time to do so. Lawrence's tale from the Broken Empire is something of a fresh breath of air into the fantasy genre, and it certainly deserves to be read. At least it has my recommendation. "All of us have our lives. All of us our moment, or day, or year. And Jorg of Ancrath assuredly had his, and it has been my place to tell it."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    I am completely blown away. What a great ending to a great series!Jorg is on his way to Congression knowing he must become Emperor and unite the Hundred against the Dead King. Jorg knows that only united will they be able to stand against him.As with the other books in the series, the author bounces between several time periods to tell this story. The process creates a captivating world dominated with strong characters you can't help but enjoy. Jorg more than any other shines. I was never sure i I am completely blown away. What a great ending to a great series!Jorg is on his way to Congression knowing he must become Emperor and unite the Hundred against the Dead King. Jorg knows that only united will they be able to stand against him.As with the other books in the series, the author bounces between several time periods to tell this story. The process creates a captivating world dominated with strong characters you can't help but enjoy. Jorg more than any other shines. I was never sure if I loved or hated him. The graphic violence continues in this book and can be quite shocking at times.The book is an absolute pleasure to read. The author has created not only a detailed and believable world but the language he uses to describe it is completely immersive. Don't get me wrong there are not pages of description, not at all. Some how the story flows and the plot moves along but this expansive world grows around you as you read and suddenly it's like you're there. Mark Lawrence is easily one of the most skilled writers I have ever read.Absolutely great series!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    This is a book I really wanted to like. And this is a series I thought I’d love. Now I know I’m arguing against the tide, Mark Lawrence is one of the leading names in grimdark fantasy. He has done exceptionally well for himself. I just don’t get on with the way he writes. I hate the way he puts words together and I hate his characters. His stories just don’t work for me. And I’m not going to attempt to objectify my opinion here and talk about literary quality. I am happy to say that it is my This is a book I really wanted to like. And this is a series I thought I’d love. Now I know I’m arguing against the tide, Mark Lawrence is one of the leading names in grimdark fantasy. He has done exceptionally well for himself. I just don’t get on with the way he writes. I hate the way he puts words together and I hate his characters. His stories just don’t work for me. And I’m not going to attempt to objectify my opinion here and talk about literary quality. I am happy to say that it is my personal experience only. I feel that for the right readers, this series would be fantastic as the reading stats on here alone demonstrate. So what did I hate? Jorg. I fucking hate Jorg. I disliked him to the point that I was longing for his death the entire way through (which would never happen because he is the lone protagonist.) In here everything I hated about him persisted to be evident in his overbearing and arrogant personality. He didn’t grow or change just became more like himself if that’s even possible. He was also ridiculously overpowered and a times felt like an invincible video-game character. I could never invest in his character of suspend disbelief to the point where I thought he might die or suffer. That being said, his character is what drove me to finish a series I was quite clearly hating. I wanted to see if he had a moral rejuvenation. I wanted to see if he grew as a person and, at least on some level, begin to understand that he is a vile little bastard. I was, of course, disappointed but it kept me reading. His dream sequences were also nonsensical and were just painful to read and added very little to the story. I can honestly say I didn’t like anything about the book and I was glad to finish it and be rid of the revolting protagonist. Another issue I had here was how everything was perfectly wrapped together and concluded. For me the series was a bit of a mess (this isn’t a criticism) but there were bits of story all over the place and everything seems to slot into this neat little parcel that’s the climax of this book. And for a series that has felt a little random (by random I mean dictated by the randomness in which life can take you) everything was forced into this ending. It felt odd. It felt uncomfortable. What of his other books? I could never like this series, which is largely due to my personal reaction to its protagonist. So I was willing to give the author another go and I did read A Prince of Fools which I really didn’t like (but that was for a whole different set of reasons.) At this point, I can safely say that this author just isn’t for me. I feel like I should try one of his newer books, but after disliking four of his books I think I might know what my opinion will be. It’s safer to try a different author I think. The Broken Empire Trilogy 1. Prince of Thorns- A heartless 2.5 stars 2.King of Thorns- A dreadful 1 star 3. The Emperor of Thorns - A Hateful 1 star Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    This was a fantastic conclusion to what has turned out to be a very good series. It was a fantastically entertaining ride and Mark Lawrence succeeded in wrapping up all the ongoing story arcs in style. Every four years members of The 100 meet in the holy city of Vyene, the heart of the Broken Empire, to vote. For over a century that vote has ended without anyone having the majority needed to claim the title of emperor. This time Honorous Jorg Ancrath is determined to see a different outcome. Jor This was a fantastic conclusion to what has turned out to be a very good series. It was a fantastically entertaining ride and Mark Lawrence succeeded in wrapping up all the ongoing story arcs in style. Every four years members of The 100 meet in the holy city of Vyene, the heart of the Broken Empire, to vote. For over a century that vote has ended without anyone having the majority needed to claim the title of emperor. This time Honorous Jorg Ancrath is determined to see a different outcome. Jorg travels with the votes of seven nations and is determined that no one will leave if he is not crowned emperor by votes end! He is not the only player in the game with an interest in the outcome. The mages continue their machinations from the shadows, the ghosts of the builders await the outcome for reasons of their own, and last, but definitely not least, the Dead King is heading to Vyene with his own plans to become emperor and he brings an army of the dead in his wake. It all combined to make an incredibly exciting story. This was again told in the first person from Jorg's POV. A ploy I have really enjoyed as it allows us to see a deeper side to Jorg and gives us the full chance to enjoy his unique wit and charm. I loved Jorg's development as a character. He is no hero, but he does finally show signs of growing into the role of anti-hero. More flashbacks provide more insight into Jorg's past and help us understand why he turned out as he did. Another real plus for this series has been the post-apocalyptic setting. At first it seems like a typical medieval fantasy world, but remnants of an advanced civilization remain for those that know where to look. I loved learning the final secrets this world had to offer. I also really enjoyed the balance of magic and old Builder technology. The ending was fantastic. A few of the final twists were a bit predictable, but despite that they were executed very well and I ended up really loving them. I was delighted to discover that Mark Lawrence has wrote a companion series set in this same fantastic world. I'll definitely be reading it! Rating: 5 stars. I feel at least one book in this series deserves a full 5 star rating! Audio Note: James Clamp has performed to a consistent level throughout the Broken Empire trilogy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Will M.

    This novel helped me reach a new milestone in my life, and that is to enjoy listening to audiobooks. I've written several reviews of how much I hated audiobooks, but I believe James Clamp helped me realize how amazing audiobooks are. Add in the fact that this is an amazing novel with a terrific plot and characters. Kudos to Mark Lawrence for ending a trilogy the right way. My journey with this trilogy was rough. I enjoyed the first novel very much, but the second left a bitter taste in my mouth. This novel helped me reach a new milestone in my life, and that is to enjoy listening to audiobooks. I've written several reviews of how much I hated audiobooks, but I believe James Clamp helped me realize how amazing audiobooks are. Add in the fact that this is an amazing novel with a terrific plot and characters. Kudos to Mark Lawrence for ending a trilogy the right way. My journey with this trilogy was rough. I enjoyed the first novel very much, but the second left a bitter taste in my mouth. It took me almost 2 years to pick this one and finally read the ending of the trilogy. I can gladly say though that the bitter taste is gone. I know it was a risk that I chose to listen to this rather than read it, but with my hectic schedule I didn't see a way for me to sneak this in my ever growing TBR pile. What makes this trilogy really amazing for me is Jorg. Jorg alone can make this trilogy standout among the others. He is gritty, profane, violent, and can be considered the devil himself. Without him, this trilogy wouldn't be as successful as it is today. There are other notable characters in this novel. I'm going on a whim and say that The Dead King really amazed me as a villain. Either it's James Clamp's narration that made him really interesting, or Lawrence has talent. I liked the twist and turns that he added. I didn't see the ending coming, even some of the minor plot twists. The writing is commendable. As good or even better than most of the notable fantasy authors out there. Consider the fact that this trilogy is considered as his debut trilogy, it's amazing how he managed to create such a masterpiece. I know I hated the second book, but after reading this, I might have to read it again and possibly change my opinion. The reason why this didn't get a 5 star from me is the same problem I had with King of Thorns, and that is the ever changing timelines. I hated it then, I still hate it now. It's more confusing when listening, but it was still confusing when I read it before, so it's not the audiobook that made it confusing. I don't want to talk about the ending anymore because I don't want to be the guy who spoils people. All I can say is that it's unexpected and gives closure to the trilogy. 4/5 stars. A solid ending to a great trilogy. Highly recommended to fans of Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin. If it's violence you're looking for, then this trilogy is for you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    While this book might appear to be one of those love/hate things, I have to admit that Jorg, the character I love to hate, is awfully compelling. Sure, he's a right bastard and he'll never mince words when the sword of the blade will do the job quicker, but beyond that, he's all about RESULTS. He never takes half-measures. Whether it's about living life, saving people, or murdering ANYONE who gets in his way, be they loyal or antagonistic, he never, ever, takes half-measures. I admit I love that a While this book might appear to be one of those love/hate things, I have to admit that Jorg, the character I love to hate, is awfully compelling. Sure, he's a right bastard and he'll never mince words when the sword of the blade will do the job quicker, but beyond that, he's all about RESULTS. He never takes half-measures. Whether it's about living life, saving people, or murdering ANYONE who gets in his way, be they loyal or antagonistic, he never, ever, takes half-measures. I admit I love that about him. Sure, it means he'll kill everyone and anyone to get what he wants, but he NEVER goes back on his word. Of course, that is only a promise he makes to himself, and he has enough pride and bloodlust to put satan to shame, but it makes for a very compelling story. And then there's all the pure awesome going on with the worldbuilding: a broken future world after the bombs drop and something interestingly quantum opens up the door to belief and expectation altering reality, an amassed army of the undead ravaging this future medieval world, and even high-tech simulacra of men's minds trapped in machines. It's a heady mix and it's totally grimdark, but more than that, it's deliciously fun. Let's hear it for Jorg! He's a horrible man but damn, at least he never does anything by half-measures. Apparently, neither does Mark Lawrence.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    If you must run, have something to run toward, so it feels less like cowardice. And if you must run to something, why not make it the empire throne? Something suitably distant and unobtainable. After all, getting everything you wish for is nearly as dire a curse as having all your dreams come true. Good and thought provoking book and a fitting ending to trilogy, although it didn’t blow my mind the way King of Thorns did. Whilst I enjoyed the story for the most part (except the gruesome bits) I fo If you must run, have something to run toward, so it feels less like cowardice. And if you must run to something, why not make it the empire throne? Something suitably distant and unobtainable. After all, getting everything you wish for is nearly as dire a curse as having all your dreams come true. Good and thought provoking book and a fitting ending to trilogy, although it didn’t blow my mind the way King of Thorns did. Whilst I enjoyed the story for the most part (except the gruesome bits) I found conclusion somewhat unsatisfactory. Given how daring this story and the main character is – I was hoping for a really original, unpredictable, even shocking resolution and it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It is still a very good book and a must read to everyone who enjoyed (or managed to get through ;) Prince of Thorns. Recommended for grim-dark fans. ‘When you move the big pieces on the board, the world seems more like a game than ever. That illusion, that those at the top know what they’re doing – the feeling some folk hold, that the world is safe and solid and well-ordered – well, that illusion wears thin when it’s us who stand at the top doing the ordering. I don’t doubt that for every step you take toward Roma God sounds three steps further away.’ Words are blunt instruments, better suited to murder than to making sense of the world. We all carry the seeds of our own destruction with us, we all drag our history behind us like rusted chain. A man can reach into anything and turn it to his cause. It’s not want, or desire, just certainty. Only be assured that whatever you reach into will reach into you in turn. Anything that happens without witnesses never really happened at all. ‘The future is a dark place. We all die there.’ There’s a slope down toward evil, a gentle gradient that can be ignored at each step, unfelt. It’s not until you look back, see the distant heights where you once lived, that you understand your journey. ‘Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.’ We’re fashioned by our sorrows – not by joy – they are the undercurrent, the refrain. Joy is fleeting.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Wanstall-Burke

    I've made several manic recommendations to friends to read the Broken Empire Trilogy and whenever they ask 'Why?' or 'What is it about?' I find myself hard up against a roadblock. By roadblock I mean "giant choking lump in my throat every time I think about this series"... Weird, given it isn't some navel-gazing, chic-lit, sob story, wah-wah examination of the world focussing on how we could and should be better humans. In fact, it's gory, unapologetic and painful. Sometimes even sickening. But th I've made several manic recommendations to friends to read the Broken Empire Trilogy and whenever they ask 'Why?' or 'What is it about?' I find myself hard up against a roadblock. By roadblock I mean "giant choking lump in my throat every time I think about this series"... Weird, given it isn't some navel-gazing, chic-lit, sob story, wah-wah examination of the world focussing on how we could and should be better humans. In fact, it's gory, unapologetic and painful. Sometimes even sickening. But the Broken Empire is written with such grace that each page yields a quote of goose-bump inducing wisdom or humour or wit it almost seems impossible that one man could have created such characters. I haven't been so effected by a series since Rowen Cory Daniells' 'The T'en Trilogy', which I read as a teen. I was inspired then as I am inspired now. In my most humble opinion this series, the culmination of which is Emperor of Thorns, is a ground breaking work in Epic Fantasy. I like it. I liked it so much I bought all the ebooks, then the hard covers. I liked it so fanatically, I ordered a signed/numbered copy from the UK. I've never done such a thing with a novel of any sort, and that alone should assure you it is worth the read. If my insistence is not sufficient, allow Jorg the time and he will change your mind. He is a character without equal. A boy, then man, so torn and damaged he is perfect. He will take you to places you weren't sure you could go, and then further again. He doesn't care what you think or feel along the way. If you desire a hero who is gentle, or polite, or kind, then perhaps you aren't meant for this narrative. However if you remain on the ride, give him your heart and soul or even just a moment's trust, he will show what it is to be human. What it is to bleed and be real and how we can be better, one way or another.

  17. 4 out of 5

    TS Chan

    Emperor of Thorns was a satisfying conclusion. As the title of the book suggests, the inimitable Honorous Jorg Ancrath, was paving the way to getting himself crowned emperor of the broken empire at the Congression at the Gilden Gates of Vyene where the Hundred gather every four years to vote. The reason why the empire stayed broken till today was simply because no one ever managed to swayed a majority vote. However, this is Jorg we’re talking about, and this young man really knows how to play hi Emperor of Thorns was a satisfying conclusion. As the title of the book suggests, the inimitable Honorous Jorg Ancrath, was paving the way to getting himself crowned emperor of the broken empire at the Congression at the Gilden Gates of Vyene where the Hundred gather every four years to vote. The reason why the empire stayed broken till today was simply because no one ever managed to swayed a majority vote. However, this is Jorg we’re talking about, and this young man really knows how to play his hand - usually with much aplomb and not to mention quite a few deaths. The structure of the narration was similar to that of King of Thorns – present day, flashbacks and a female POV to widen the perspective, and in this case, it’s the necromantic arc with Chella. The Dead King finally made his appearance, along with a revelation of who he was. This plotline was built up with so much tension that the culmination of which was oddly disappointing as it felt too rushed. The whole concept around dreams continued to confound me more often than not. Coupled with the post-apocalyptic setting and foul necromantic arts, I find that the world-building of this series did not wholly resonate with me. What made me really like this series was Jorg – yes, just him mainly. This is a man of extremes, never given to moderate measures. He can kill at a whim, and is yet fiercely protective of those he loved. More so in this instalment than the preceding ones, there were instances where one discerned a spark of humanity and fallibility in Jorg. The complexity of his character was just so compelling. If you’re looking for a different spin on fantasy where the main character reads almost like villain, and one whom you’d want to root for at that, I wholeheartedly recommend The Broken Empire Trilogy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    samantha (books-are-my-life20)

    This whole series is fantastic...dark and disturbing and extremely well written I would recommend this series to both fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mikheil

    The Broken Empire trilogy is an amazingly well written, witty, rich with action and magic dystopia. A multitude of well developed, twisted and unique characters is what, in part, makes this series so interesting. We start our journey among a bloody brotherhood of the road, dumbfounded by disturbingly crude and grim narration of their atrocities, committed with unsettling triviality. LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN. (I've noticed a lot of readers complaining about the "unnecessary and extreme" violence of The Broken Empire trilogy is an amazingly well written, witty, rich with action and magic dystopia. A multitude of well developed, twisted and unique characters is what, in part, makes this series so interesting. We start our journey among a bloody brotherhood of the road, dumbfounded by disturbingly crude and grim narration of their atrocities, committed with unsettling triviality. LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN. (I've noticed a lot of readers complaining about the "unnecessary and extreme" violence of the first chapter, but in the broken empire everything has a distinct purpose, even the cruelty). The brothers and, brotherhood in general, are a leitmotiv of the trilogy, but what makes it truly idiosyncratic is the brother. Honours Jorge Ancrath: what an amazing protagonist, one of the best antiheros out there. A very complex, multilayered, multifaceted, cunning character we just love to hate. Throughout the trilogy we witness the progressive development of this ruthless, reckless, manipulative, devious thief, killer, rapist, manipulated, lost, traumatized, broken and consumed by guilt kid. And we start to understand, to care, to wish brother Jorge to succeed, to chase his demons, to redeem himself, to serve his ultimate purpose and to finally be happy. We complete our journey once again in a bloodshed and ruin, but with a remarkable context shifting: despite the sadness, there is hope. In retrospective, as heartbreaking as it is, the shocking outcome is, fundamentally, the only possible conclusion for the story. The Broken Empire trilogy is a highly entertaining, "can't let go till I'm done" series, that I would recommend to a fellow fantasy lover without hesitation.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alison♊⚜️✨

    “Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones.” 3 stars I don’t know why but for some reason, I just couldn’t really get into this book, which is a shame because I really liked the 2 previous books in the trilogy. Even though more things were supposed to happen, it just seemed a bit bleh to me… I started reading it a couple months ago, but couldn’t “Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones.” 3 stars I don’t know why but for some reason, I just couldn’t really get into this book, which is a shame because I really liked the 2 previous books in the trilogy. Even though more things were supposed to happen, it just seemed a bit bleh to me… I started reading it a couple months ago, but couldn’t get past the first couple pages, which I thought was because of my reading slump, but however, this time, even when I was out of my reading slump, I had a hard time reading it; but I finished just for the sake of finishing the series (otherwise, it would have bothered the hell out of me for it to stay there for longer since I’m trying to reduce my ‘on-hold’ bookshelf).. Except for the ending (view spoiler)[ where Jorg sacrificed himself in order to restore order or for his child to stay safe (I felt that moment so much:( ) (hide spoiler)] , it wasn’t that amazing of a book and the worst out of the 3, which is why I only rated it 3 stars (instead of 4&5 in the previous books), and that fact is kind of disappointing because the trilogy started out really well :/ Would I re-read this trilogy anytime soon? Eh, maybe… If I did, it would be the first & second book mostly… Would I read other books by this author? Maybe, depending on the theme…

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tal

    Thank you Mark for this great and amazing trilogy. I recommend this to everyone. It got it's own magic, something I can't pin out. RTC(Damn you university)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Milo

    The Review: http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/07/.... “A stunning conclusion to the Broken Empire Trilogy. Easily one of the best books of 2013 – and a book that’s well worth the wait.” ~The Founding Fields If I had to make a most anticipated list of Novels coming out this year, Emperor of Thorns would be in the Top 5, there’s no question about it. Mark Lawrence really impressed me with the first two books in the trilogy, both of which I own in hardback – so that I knew that Emperor of Thorns The Review: http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/07/.... “A stunning conclusion to the Broken Empire Trilogy. Easily one of the best books of 2013 – and a book that’s well worth the wait.” ~The Founding Fields If I had to make a most anticipated list of Novels coming out this year, Emperor of Thorns would be in the Top 5, there’s no question about it. Mark Lawrence really impressed me with the first two books in the trilogy, both of which I own in hardback – so that I knew that Emperor of Thorns was always going to be a release day-buy for me. This will explain why I was so happy when I was able to get an Advanced Review Copy, so I’d like to start this review with a massive thank you to the kind folks over at Harper Voyager, and the author himself, so we could work something out. And does the book live up to my expectations? Oh, hell yes. It’s easily one of the best novels of the year, and with a year of some excellent books and we’re just over halfway through, that’s certainly saying something. "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." This is it, then. The last adventures of Jorg. Whilst I’m somewhat sad that there won’t be any more Broken Empire novels, as noted by the author himself, prequels or otherwise, it’s probably best that it ends at Book 3 rather than becoming an over-bloated series that readers quickly start to lose interest in the longer it goes. However, there is also the danger of a fantasy trilogy ending ‘too soon’ if you get what I mean. But thankfully, Lawrence brings it all to the table with a satisfying conclusion (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it), that really brings an end to this epic tale that will most surely be among the best fantasy works that I’ll read. I loved this trilogy, and I think with each instalment, it just gets better and better. Emperor of ThornsJorg’s character growth is incredible. He’s a rather unique main character for a story, often coming across as more of a downright villain than an anti-hero, and indeed – written by almost any other author, he would be. But the character himself is still as awesome as ever, and if you’ve enjoyed the last two books – then that’s what you should come to expect. It’s a strong, epic conclusion to the trilogy that really pulls out all the punches, where nobody is safe – and as we’re now all used to the major game players involved, Lawrence can waste no time with setting up future events (of course, no time was wasted setting up future events in the previous books as well), and instead create a compelling story that will draw the reader in, and not let up with the breakneck pace that this book moves along at. The author’s characters are well created, complex and far from the standard one-dimensional ones that litter poor novels. You’re not going to forget any of them in a hurry, and neither are you to forget The Broken Empire Trilogy anytime soon. It’s immense. Unpredictable. Captivating. A fitting conclusion. However you want to put it, the last adventure of Jorg of Ancrath is his best outing yet. Over the course of the trilogy, Lawrence has made himself a name to watch in fantasy, up there with the likes of Peter V. Brett, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie & George RR Martin. I can’t wait to see what he throws at the reader next, but it’s one that I’ll certainly be on board for. VERDICT: 5/5 THE BROKEN EMPIRE TRILOGY: Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, Emperor of Thorns

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reader-ramble

    I've never done this before. I've never gotten a book ahead of its publication date. You can't leak the ending. You can't spoil it. So, what do you say? What do I say? In my previous reviews of Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns I brought up scenes I liked and wrote about Lawrence's use of modern science to make these books more than a fantasy. I even wrote about the chronological structure, but I'm not going to do that now. I'm going to tell a story instead. When I was sent a DM over twitter ask I've never done this before. I've never gotten a book ahead of its publication date. You can't leak the ending. You can't spoil it. So, what do you say? What do I say? In my previous reviews of Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns I brought up scenes I liked and wrote about Lawrence's use of modern science to make these books more than a fantasy. I even wrote about the chronological structure, but I'm not going to do that now. I'm going to tell a story instead. When I was sent a DM over twitter asking if I wanted a copy, I naturally said yes. Then I ordered book two because I needed to catch up. King showed up before I left on vacation and I finished it before I got back. There, squished between the screen and front door, was a white shipping bag of bubble wrap and plastic. I couldn't get it open fast enough, and the damn package was impossible when I tried to use my fingers. So I resorted to scissors. My face lit up when I held the pretty green proof copy of Emperor in my hands. Sure, the release cover is nice looking, but it's always the story that matters. I couldn't wait to crack it open, but I did. I wanted time to devour it. The next day I sat down with it after work and ate it up. But then a curious thing happened. Over the course of the next few days, I read less and less. Then, about half way through, I set it down. It sat unread for a few days on my dining table. I walked by it every day, but didn't pick it up. Why did I stop reading? I was loving it to death. The truth was that I didn't want to get to the end. This is a strange feeling for me. I'm the kind of person who finished awful books because I have to know what happens next. I understand that a good thing must end because all things should end before they wear out their welcome. I'm the kind of person that would like more Firefly, but I'm happy it died while good so that fans didn't have to see it decay, a former shadow of its glory. I knew this was it for Jorg's story. I follow Lawrence on Twitter. He's already working on a new series. You see, we - the audience - has seen Jorg grow up. We haven't just seen a single moment in his life punctuated with memories. We know his thoughts and fears. We've seen him go from brash teenager who is way too smart, to a mature young man who recognizes all the wrong he has committed. A young man who recognizes the importance of having those you love in your life and why you should save them. Lawrence has managed to squeeze the life of a person into three books while at the same time analyze the role technological advances play in our world. It comes down to Jorg, the boy who defies fate and thumbs his nose at "No," to fix the mistakes that people made a thousand years ago. A boy-turned-man that is just like them, all desire, to fix modern man's drive to play god. Now, for those of you who don't like these books because Jorg is a deplorable personality, you miss the point. You put it down at Prince of Thorns and missed one of the best things about this character. He is self aware. He grew up and knows he is a terrible human being. He doesn't try to justify it or spout excuses. He knows. That is one of the best things about this character. As much as he tries to be a better person, he knows that he is impulsive, quick to anger, and contrary. He knows that people deserve better than him, yet he is the perfect hero for a story like this. And he knows that too. He is greedy, lustful, stubborn, and profane. He is human. You aren't supposed to like him, just understand him. So, in my own self awareness, I finished the book. The ending snuck up much faster than I imagined. At one moment I had one hundred pages, and then forty. And then there were no more. That left me staring at the back of a flimsy paper cover. I didn't want that to be it. Even with a favorite TV show, I don't think I've never been this attached. I cherish what I got and leave it at that. After all, all good things must end. But there was something stunningly beautiful about the ending. I wouldn't change a thing. And for that, I respect you Mark Lawrence.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    "Time heals all wounds, but often it’s only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men." "Perhaps I just wanted to know what it was that I wanted. Maybe that is all that growing up means." "Nothing can be cut away without loss. Even the worst of our memories is part of the foundation that keeps us in the world."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liviu Szoke

    Brilliant though unexpected ending for one of the most beautiful and violent fantasy series I have ever read. Everything fits perfect, from de characters' destinies to the plot's ending. And the SF elements are also perfectly integrated, making this story even more intriguing. Despite Jorg Ancrath being despised by a lot of people, I think he is the most interesting character ever to step between the pages of a book. Highly recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bob/Sally

    ‘Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.’ For all you Jorg haters out there, that one line, that simple declaration, sums up The Broken Empire better than anything I might be able to coax from my tired brain. Yes, for the second night in a row, a book has gotten its hooks into me and demanded I stay up far too late reading the final 200 pages. Fortunately, Emperor of Thorns delivered in almost every respect, defiantly answering my every conflicting emotion resulting from its predecessor, Kin ‘Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.’ For all you Jorg haters out there, that one line, that simple declaration, sums up The Broken Empire better than anything I might be able to coax from my tired brain. Yes, for the second night in a row, a book has gotten its hooks into me and demanded I stay up far too late reading the final 200 pages. Fortunately, Emperor of Thorns delivered in almost every respect, defiantly answering my every conflicting emotion resulting from its predecessor, King of Thorns. Mark Lawrence has taken the successful formula of the first two books, tweaked it, twisted it, and triumphed over the most problematic - and predictable - portions. Once again we find ourselves on a journey, but it's rediscovered some of the novelty and macabre sense of wonder that made the first book so fun. As was the case with the first two books, we have two interwoven stories, but whereas I found the flashback portion of the second book a bit weak, here it's strong enough to carry a tale all on its own. As for my concerns about the artifacts of Builder technology playing such a crucial role in the climax of the first two books, I am very pleased to say that they've proven to be completely unfounded. In fact, what Lawrence does to bring that aspect of the tale to the forefront here is one of the novel's most pleasant surprises. Another pleasant surprise is the continuing growth of Jorg. Yes, he's a right royal bastard, and about as far from a knight in shining armor as you can get, but he's human. We saw some growth in the second book as he matured and grew into his role as king, but here we see him grow into the role of expectant father as well. Of course, that brings about a whole slew of issues, given his dark relationship with his own father, but Lawrence develops it well, making it a key focus of the story, without overdoing it. In fact, there are some very nice parallels with the first book, including a surprise appearance of the very carriage that carried Jorg's mother and brother to their doom. Sadly, Miana feels a bit wasted here, given her developed in the last book, but I thought Katherine's role in things was very nicely played out, with more than a few surprises. An even darker book than the first two, with the Dead King's armies sweeping across the land, Emperor of Thorns still manages to provide a little dark humor, and even some genuine emotion along the way. I could have done without the interludes of Chella's story, but that's a minor quibble on my part. As for the climax . . . well, there are really two endings to the tale, both of which are extraordinarily well played. Without getting into spoiler territory, the first is largely inevitable, but still a hell of a lot of fun to watch come to fruition, while the second is a complete and utter surprise, an entirely bold choice on Lawrence's part to provide a note of finality to things. I said in my review of King of Thorns that it was a bigger book than the Prince of Thorns in every respect, and a tale that leaves even bigger expectations. Well, even if this is a somewhat smaller and more intimate tale, it more than manages to deliver on those expectations. An entirely satisfying conclusion to an original and exciting saga. Highly recommended. Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amit

    I unfortunatley lack the time to elaborate, so I'll make this short. Thank you Mark Lawrence, for one GLORIOUS trilogy. I'm absolutely confident that had the books weren't dark enough to diminish their audience, they were as popular as other awesome "mainstream" series (Sanderson's, Rothfuss's, Lynch's, etc.) The biggest non-spoiler question in these books is: how in hell do we get to root (and dare I say, love) for Jorg's success? That awful murderer, rapist, monster. “It's what I am, and i I unfortunatley lack the time to elaborate, so I'll make this short. Thank you Mark Lawrence, for one GLORIOUS trilogy. I'm absolutely confident that had the books weren't dark enough to diminish their audience, they were as popular as other awesome "mainstream" series (Sanderson's, Rothfuss's, Lynch's, etc.) The biggest non-spoiler question in these books is: how in hell do we get to root (and dare I say, love) for Jorg's success? That awful murderer, rapist, monster. “It's what I am, and if you want excuses, come and take them.” The answer hides in the perspective. Had Jorg been a real person in our world, we'd definitely loathe him. As a main character in a book, on the other hand, we become Jorg. And the more we experiece the world from his eyes, the more the answer gets clearer. The end of the third book, and of the trilogy as a whole, shattered me. I won't reveal anything, only assure you its a once-in-a-lifetime ride. I can't thank the author enough for what he created, and I'm so glad to know he wrote another trilogy in that world (whice I'll read ASAP!) That's all, folks. “Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones.” No regrets. Ruthless. Fearless. Glorious. Five stars and beyond.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Franzi

    4 Stars I still love that ending, although it confuses the hell out of me. While reading I never had the feeling I actually understood everything. I still like the characters and their development, I like the way the story continues and ends in this and I love the way the story is told from different timelines. I recommend reading this if you enjoy reading about the more antagonistic and fearsome characters :) 4 Stars I still love that ending, although it confuses the hell out of me. While reading I never had the feeling I actually understood everything. I still like the characters and their development, I like the way the story continues and ends in this and I love the way the story is told from different timelines. I recommend reading this if you enjoy reading about the more antagonistic and fearsome characters :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    Great ending to one of the best fantasy series I've read. One of the few occasions in fantasy when a trilogy didn't somehow turn into 19 books, 3 novellas and a papyrus scroll. That (relative) brevity allowed this series to go out on a high and without any major drag in the middle. As with the previous books in the series this one was driven by the protagonist Jorg. I wouldn't call him my "favourite" fantasy protagonist in terms of wanting to be mates with him but he was undoubtedly one of the m Great ending to one of the best fantasy series I've read. One of the few occasions in fantasy when a trilogy didn't somehow turn into 19 books, 3 novellas and a papyrus scroll. That (relative) brevity allowed this series to go out on a high and without any major drag in the middle. As with the previous books in the series this one was driven by the protagonist Jorg. I wouldn't call him my "favourite" fantasy protagonist in terms of wanting to be mates with him but he was undoubtedly one of the most complex and compelling protagonists I've read. This book saw more layers of complexity added to Jorg's ruthless, black-hearted character which was established in the first book. Time, the deaths of so many of his friends and the birth of his son haven't so much mellowed Jorg as given him new perspectives on life and he spends much of this book caught between a desire to make up for the crimes of his past and ..... a desire to do more horrible shit to fulfill his ambition and thirst for revenge. Full review to come ...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Antigone

    Time heals all wounds, but often it's only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men. The final volume of Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire trilogy nudges Jorg Ancrath even further down the brutal road of his life. Twenty now, and king of seven nations, his lust for power drives him to pursue the most coveted crown in the land. There has been no emperor in recent memory. Tho Time heals all wounds, but often it's only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men. The final volume of Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire trilogy nudges Jorg Ancrath even further down the brutal road of his life. Twenty now, and king of seven nations, his lust for power drives him to pursue the most coveted crown in the land. There has been no emperor in recent memory. Though the leaders of every nation congregate regularly to vote a man in, no candidate has received the quorum required to ascend the throne. It's the only challenge left in the world that proves seductive enough to lift the crafty Jorg to his feet and set him into motion. Lawrence remains faithful to his vision straight through to the end. His is a violent, post-apocalyptic civilization filled with malicious figures whose primary goal is to claw their way to a better weapon with a sharper edge. Plenty are the scenes of torture and abuse; not a single soul is spared its share of atrocity or the scars such sins produce. That Jorg Ancrath might choose to reign over such a nightmare speaks directly to his own damage and his inability to see beyond the demonic forces that consume him. He exists, in large part, merely as a funnel for pain - what flows into him from one source soon flows out again to be delivered upon another. And that's been interesting to watch because it strains the boundary surrounding the conventional anti-hero. Lawrence hazes the line between rebel and predator, relentlessly testing the moral flexibility of his reader, and resisting all enticement to put the question to bed. The problem, however, with ensnaring your readership in an ongoing ethical conundrum is that it prevents them from making a connection. You can prick at convention all you like, if you don't give your audience something to invest in they're simply not going to invest - and it's not going to matter how you end the thing or what happens to these questionable characters. It's just going to sort of be over. And some of us are just going to sort of be relieved, you know? Because that's how you feel when you're finally off the hook.

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