Kirsten Reviews: Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire #3
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, the final book in Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire series finds Jorg Ancrath the ruler of seven nations. And yet, he still has not had his revenge on his father, a fact which makes his other victories ring hollow. Jorg wants to be Emperor, but the only way to be crowned is for them to win the majority of the vote.
In a land where magic can be best characterized as a kind of science, and brothers may kill and haunt one another, Jorg thinks he finally has the influence and long-forgotten technology to secure his revenge. But there is one who stands in his way, the Dead King, and this necromancer is possibly too much for even Jorg and his magic to best.
This series is a medieval fantasy, emphasis heavy on both, while also incorporating in scientific elements that make it a slightly different part of the genre.
For anyone who likes their protagonists to be kinds, self-sacrificing, or at least marginally noble and prone to making good decisions, this is not the book to pick up. Since it’s the last book in the series, there’s no way to truly get involved in Jorg’s evolution without having read the previous books. But growth aside, Jorg isn’t all that nice of a person, and his ambitions as well as desire for revenge negatively impact both himself and everyone around him. To put it mildly; this is not a ruler whose subjects are cheering him on in the streets because of his unassailable good qualities.
But, it’s an interesting story, one that doesn’t promise to end neatly or nicely for anyone. And that, ultimately is what makes the political maneuvering, vengeance-seeking and all-out nastiness more palatable. There may be no clear winner because nobody deserves to claim a victory.