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A short one on Prince of Thorns, Book 1 of the Broken Empire, by Mark Lawrence. The phrase ‘a fantasy with a twist’ is too often used nowadays. This one belongs to the new-fangled, no-holds-barred, in your face, gory fantasy with steaming guts, hacked limbs and bodies pierced this way and that. The hero is typically atypical, a person who does evil deeds but has a paper thin moral excuse. A Jamie Lannister-ish is-he-isn’t-he duality.

This book has a couple of interesting facets that distinguishes itself from other fantasy worlds, hinting at a world set in the very far future ala the Mistborn series, or A Canticle for Leibowitz, or the Book of the New Sun. Unlike its spiritual fantasy forebear, A Song of Ice and Fire (and the book pays homage to GRRM too, in the text), there are hints of our world beneath the one the Prince of Thorns inhabits, and there’s way more magic.

The story, a quest, is interesting enough, and the pages fly by, the action thick and fast. Not too shabby at all, if the ending a little rushed, and feels a tad unresolved. But then that’s what Books 2 and 3 are for.