Amazing. Simply amazing. This is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. That fact that this is Lawrence's debut novel makes it even more impressive.
I enjoy many genres: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, action and adventure…pretty much anything that grabs me and moves along at a good pace. Prince of Thorns certainly fits that bill. After reading the sample on Amazon, I ordered the book in hardback. I could tell it was going to be a keeper.
The prose is clean and direct, but colorful. The humor is also well done. Jorg (the main character) is completely amoral, but oddly likeable. He puts me in mind of Han Solo if he’d gone to the Dark Side. A comparison that also came frequently to mind was Alexander the Great—another flawed young genius with 'daddy issues' whose mind was unfettered by conventional thinking. Some of Jorg's ingenuitive solutions to seemingly insurmountable situations are reminiscent of Alexander’s feats at the Battle of Gaugamela (on a much smaller scale) or in untying the Gordian Knot. Some have criticized this book for being too dark or disturbing. They must’ve grown up on a steady diet of gumdrops and lollipops.
That being said, this is a real page turner. When there are other things you know you should be doing, this book calls to you like the last slice of chocolate cake. You just have to finish it.
I gave this book to my fifteen-year-old son as soon as I finished it. He’s not a big reader. He’ll read the stuff his teachers assign and that’s about it. I asked him to read the first 27 pages to see if he liked it. He hasn’t put it down since.
Lastly, I’ve also read the first three books of Georg R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones for all the TV fans). Those books are enjoyable, but you have to chew through two or three hundred pages of fat to get to the meat. Prince of Thorns is darkly delicious filet mignon from the first bite to the last. I’d better stop here and get a snack. All these food references have made me hungry.
I give it six out of five thorns ***** * (in honor of Jorg, who never plays by the rules).
PS: My hardcover copy of King of Thorns just arrived. Word is that it’s even better. I can’t wait to find out.