Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Emperor of Thorns Mark Lawrence

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Kai stood before the old-stone, a single rough block set upright in the days when men knew nothing but wood and rock and hunting.


King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb.

Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg plans to change that. He’s uncovered the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it.

But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.


Jorg’s back and he’s as driven as always. He’s not changed his goal of becoming emperor and he will do everything in his power to realize it.

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.

However, things change when his wife is about to give birth to his son. Because he now realizes that there may be something more important in life than his desire. It’s a weakness he can ill afford. With enemies gunning for him, his son is in danger even before he is born, both from mortals as well as from the Undead King who seems oddly interested in Jorg.

The story, like in the previous books, switches between times. On the one hand we follow Jorg on his way to the empire’s capital, where congression is about to take place to crown a new emperor. On the other hand, we look back at the time five years ago when he travelled the world to visit his mother’s family and then went looking for those who would harm them, crossing the sea and the desert.

I liked the story, because I like the world and the fact that Jorg is not a squeaky clean protagonist. However, I really missed the Jorg from the first book. With every book Jorg gets more and more… normal I guess.

I kissed her cheek then, because I feared to do it and though commonsense may occasionally bind me, I’ll be fucked if fear will.

Emperor of Thorns is a good read, it just wasn’t great. The story felt too disjointed for me. Particularly the parts in the “present” where Jorg travels to the capital, the Dead King’s armies on his trail fell flat for me. The big reveal who the Dead King is and the way the book ended? Just didn’t really blow me away and for me, didn’t really fit the previous story.


Nice, neat conclusion to the Broken Empire trilogy with some flaws.


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