I would not read Prince Of Thorns again, but I might be convinced to read another book by Mark Lawrence. I heard this was his first book. So I would be willing to give him another chance. For this reason, I give Prince of Thorns three out of five stars.
How can I sum this book up? Is it a crazy orgy of bloodlust and death? It was not the most violent book I ever read. Although at times it did seem like a D&D campaign where the players just decided to run amok and kill and destroy as much as possible. Or can we call it art? Is there beauty in the way the book makes one cringe and feel revulsion like a crucifix in a jar of urine?
The problem for me is that I don’t read books about D&D campaigns. And I don’t read books as art. I read them for their stories. And this story just wasn’t there for me. The story follows a young prince and his group of madmen that go around killing, raping, and pillaging. It doesn’t seem so at first, but it turns out that there is a method to the prince’s madness. But as I turned the pages I realized that I really didn’t care that much. It didn’t surprise me when the Prince knifed a guy to death or burned a village or nuked a whole kingdom. I really just didn’t care. I guess as mounds of bodies start piling up it just starts to matter less and less.
I looked for some redeeming quality in this prince, something that would make him interesting to me. He kind of liked the princess. He was loyal to some of his men. He was hellbent on revenge against the man that had murdered his mother and brother. But after awhile I wasn’t even interested if the prince had a redeeming quality. In the end it would not have mattered to me if the author had opened up the ground to swallow the prince whole and said, “There! That’s the end of the story.”
Every reader cannot be interested in every main character created by every author. And sometimes authors will make their main characters do terrible things. They may even create main characters that are evil or rotten to the core. But good authors always manage to keep the reader interested in their main characters. I was interested enough to read to the end of Prince of Thorns (about 300 pages). But I am not interested enough to read on to the next book in this series.