“When it comes to stageacting, some men are more eloquent than most. It’s given to some to have a gift with a bow…I just avenge myself better than most. Consider it a gift.”
The Prince of Thorns brings us into a nitty-gritty world of Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath. He witnesses the death of his mother and brother at then age of ten then sets off on his revenge story. This bloody tale gives us a main character that you are suppose to hate which kind of makes this a hard book to review.
Jorg is, for lack of a better word, a psychopath. Now granted, if you watched your family members be slaughtered you might go a little blood thirsty too. He seems to take it to a insane level in which even if one of his men questions him, he likes to make an example out of him. He kills, fights, and rapes whoever he wants, with one goal in mind. Like we said above, the author obviously wants us to hate him, and hate him we do. Maybe a little too much.
Making your main character in the story be a horrible person is fine, as long as there are other parts of the world that are interesting. Unfortunately, the rest of the setting is bland and plain. You have seen these character types before. You have Jorg with a revenge story. You have his father, the king, who is selfish and only wants to better his standing. You have the evil king that kills for power. Nothing felt super fresh or interesting besides Jorg.
This book does bring up an interesting question: Can a book have a main character be evil and still be enjoyable? Some people say yes, while others like ourselves disagree to a small degree. Go listen to this weeks podcast as we get more in depth into this very conversation!
This book was confusing at times in the way that it jumped back and forth between Jorg at 10 years old and 14 years old. I like the idea of a main character being a bad guy, but something about this one didn’t strike me. Maybe the rest of the book being bland didn’t help, but overall this was a snooze fest for me.
The biggest thing I didn’t not like was in the begging. Jorg readily admits that he had fun raping these farm girls. I am okay for using rape as a plot device in novels but here it just seem to shoe-horned in as a way to make you hate Jorg. In my opinion it lessens the true horror that is rape.
I have read some other reviews that claim the next book really ties it all together. While I shouldn’t have to read 2 full books to get excited about this series, I want to at least see where this is going.
Man, this is a hard one to review. If I were rating this book on its merits alone, it would probably be a one star and it all comes down to how much I hated Jorg. And I know that you are supposed to hate him. He’s not written to be a likable character. There was a lot that was cringe-worthy and just plain distasteful here and I know that it was supposed to be so I tried to enjoy it anyway. There just wasn’t much to enjoy. This is probably the only main character I can think of that has literally no redeeming qualities. Further, the story itself I didn’t find engaging enough to look past Jorg and his psychopathy.
But I have heard so much about how the future books tie it all together and it is worth sticking it out for that I can’t help but look forward to the rest of the series. More than anything, I am interested to see how modern technology mixes with a medieval time period.