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Review: Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence


The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

My thoughts

I was really excited about starting this book because I only recently finished The Broken Empire trilogy and even though the trilogy had a very good ending, I couldn’t wait to dive back into this world.
It was a lot of fun to be back and to get to know new characters as well as meet old ones again. Prince of Fools is an exciting new adventure set in a interesting, dark world.

When I started reading the book I was afraid it might be a bit boring at first. I already know a lot about the Broken Empire but this is the start of a new series. People may read it without having read the other books, so Mark Lawrence needs to introduce them to this world. Was it boring to go through this again? Not at all! Even though this series is set at the same time as the previous trilogy, it still has many new things to offer. Jalan experiences a different adventure than Jorg did, they travel different paths, visit different places and the most important thing: experience different things magic related. Thus this book will be just as thrilling for new readers as for fans of his Broken Empire trilogy

Jalan, the main character, came as quite a surprise. Living in this dark and broken world, I wasn’t prepared for such a jolly, easy-going character. He made me laugh out loud quite often. He is one of those guys who will never grow up and only cares about having fun which made it so much more entertaining seeing him stuck in this magical connection with a Norse warrior. He can be quite a sissy and was therefore a lot of fun to read about.
Even more surprising was the Norse warrior and some friends of his. When you first meet Snorri, he is this fierce,big and intimidating guy and later on you suddenly get to see a completely different side of him. That was the point I started caring a lot about him too. He made the perfect travel companion for Jal. These two characters are a great team. I can’t wait to read more about their adventures.

I love reading about Norse mythology and Prince of Fools covers many things from that. Reading about Vikings, Ragnarök, LOKI and more was a lot of fun and made me think that I may like this series even more than the other one.

Prince of Fools is a great kick-off for a new series as well as a great addition to the collection of books about the Broken Empire. Mark Lawrence continues with awesome worldbuilding, interesting characters and gives as a thrilling new adventure.

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  • I read that this book is coming in June, but I was worried it was a dark, grim book since it sounds like the origianl series is pretty dark. From your review it sounds like a good place for me to start with this world. Thanks for a good review! (And it’s nice to find a new blog–I found it through Anya’s Si-fi and Fantasy Friday!)

May 25, 2014