This is a tough one to rate. I've been putting off reviewing this for a few weeks as I'm confused about it. Let's break it down and start with the positives:
1. The Writing
Bravo Mark Lawrence! Fantastic writing, the book is filled with noteworthy quotes and witty dialogue. I'm beyond impressed; this is his debut novel and it is world class. Aspiring authors seriously need to take notes from this guy, who clearly put a lot of effort into editing and fine tuning instead of producing crap and tagging it as New Adult.
2. Story Telling
No doubt about it, Lawrence can spin one hell of a tale. Prince of Thorns is engaging, fast paced and exciting. It's the kind of novel that forces you to stay up till 4 am in a reading marathon, the type you ditch your friends for, a novel you'd rather spend valentine's day with. Yes, it's gripping.
So why the 3 Stars? The following points retracted from the book's worth IMO:
1. The Hero Syndrome
This is the same issue I had with The Name of the Wind.
What is the Hero Syndrome?
The Hero Syndrome is when a novel completely rests on one characters shoulders. This character is EVERYTHING. All writing tools are used towards progressing this one character's story line/personality. etc. This person is usually amaze balls as well. They can do everything and anything, they are superman, just because.
In this novel, obviously Prince Jorg is the Hero. Lawrence attempted to give the brothers some form of personality by ending each chapter with a one line about each one but that didn't help at all. In fact, other than the Nuben, all the brothers melded into one for me. All the magic people had the same characteristics as each other. And everyone else is now just words on a paper. Nothing worth mentioning or remembering.
Side Note: What was up with his OBSESSION with Katherine?
2. World Building
What is the Empire? Who is the Empire? Why is any of this even happening?
Perhaps this will be explained in the second book, but why would I want to read that when I have no clue what is going on.
3. Plot Holes and Convenient Coincidences
Does anyone realize that this kid is NINE YEARS OLD at the start of the novel?!?! How does a seemingly normal nine year old become a murderous psychopath? From a traumatic experience? HE'S NINE. Perhaps a trauma could lead him to depression or night terrors or schizophrenia FFS! But to suddenly become a murderer? Is this a psychologically sound argument? I don't know. I think Lawrence tried to justify it somehow by referencing the thorns and the ensuing disease or whatever, but sorry, makes no sense to me.
Also, Lawrence relied a lot on convenient coincidences whenever there was a seemingly impossible situation. Most of them were justified by voodoo magic but not all *cough* THE VERYY CONVENIENT ENDING *cough*. Perhaps it will be explained in the next book, but for now...
Will I read the second book? I really don't know. I'm not a fan of Jorg and his immaturity but the writing was just so spectacular I might be tempted.