Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

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The path to the throne is broken – only the broken may walk it.

***

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.

Emperor of Thorns (Book 3 of The Broken Empire) by Mark Lawrence is the final instalment in the series; following Jorg, an ambitious, amoral, twisted, violent and selfish protagonist.

Now, I typically don’t do reviews for books until I’ve reviewed at least the first in the series. I’m going to have to do it backwards though, as I’ve yet to review Prince of Thornsand King of Thornsthe first two novels in the series. However, rest assured that I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum where possible (*cough* Snape kills Dumbledore. *cough*).

This series took me a few tries to get into, the characters are rather unlikeable (like the aforementioned protagonist, Jorg, who is a disagreeable guy), and for me, I tend to read books for the connections with the characters. However, that being said, this really was an amazing series. In The Broken Empire series, you don’t really get that optimistic happiness that’s apparently through a majority of novels in the genre — it is rather grim and dark. It’s compelling, once you get into it. Jorg has an unlikely charm about him, and he develops into an interesting character.

In Emperor of Thorns, we see Jorg continue on his path to gaining the Empire Throne — the last hope of uniting humanity to a single purpose, and of course, won’t let anything stand in his way.  The novel, as with the previous two, weaves throughout different periods in Jorg’s life, revealing context, a spattering of horrific events, and the sheer complexity of the world that Lawrence has crafted.

The only negative that comes to mind is that a few of the crucial story elements which Lawrence introduced in the novel arrived a bit too late to be entirely credible.

Emperor of Thorns is probably my favourite in the series, Lawrence has surpassed himself in the conclusion to his series. The story really came together at the end, and provided a satisfying resolution with surprising and unpredictable twists. The Broken Empire is a must read, it’s really a great dark fantasy.

I look  forward to reading what Mark Lawrence writes next.

Emperor of Thorns was released today in the US/Canada.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’ll most likely be posting my reviews of the first two novels (or at least the first one) in the next month or so.

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