Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg’s bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.
The Broken Empire is a fantastic epic fantasy series that comes with a unique and dark main character who has an interesting way to cope with his childhood, and is set in a world full of violence and nightmares.
All three books tell a gripping story about a prince on his way to become emperor of this broken world. Every single book was just as good as the other and I was glad that I only started reading this series when the second book was already out and didn’t have to wait long between books.
I always love reading from a villain’s perspective because they are so much more interesting than the heroes. There isn’t anything more interesting than getting to know what drives a man into doing bad things. I have read quite some books about the bad guys by now and The Broken Empire series is definitely one of my favorites out of those.
I was fascinated by Jorg right from the start and what really surprised me is how much I cared about him. He is evil and doesn’t mind killing a dozen people at once but there is something about him that made me like him in some way. Even after all the things he did (mainly killing people) I still pitied him when I read about his childhood and what he endured. That his past isn’t an excuse for his present behavior but his way of coping, sure made him one of the most interesting characters I read about.
These three novels cover many years of Jorg’s life. It was exciting to see him grow up, to see how he changes from a little boy to a man and what an impact past and present events have on the kind of man he becomes. I loved reading about his inner struggling of being a better man. He knows he is bad and what he does isn’t right but he still continues doing it because he is convinced that he is bad through and through and can’t change that.
Mark Lawrence did a great job in telling pretty much the whole life of a man in only three books. He covers many years with his story without it every getting boring. In each book there are always two timelines, now and a few years ago, which is the perfect way to get to know Jorg. On the one hand you read about what he is currently doing and on the other hand you read about past events that have some connection to the current one.
When it comes to violence and deaths these books have GRRM scale. Some characters die in really brutal ways and you get to read about it in detail. Other characters are real creative when it comes to torturing other people. Three books with each one about 600 pages and there are always new ways for a character to die. It never gets boring that’s for sure.
What surprised me is that these books, as dark and violent as they are, made me laugh out loud a lot. Jorg kills a bunch of people and makes an ironic comment right after that cracks me up. As vicious as this group of outlaws is, they can be darn funny.
I enjoyed this world of the Broken Empire a lot. It’s not one of those heavy reads that need lots of explaining but comes with these little gems that I haven’t read a lot about before, like Necromancers.
There many different aspects about this world which surprised me when they were mentioned for the first time and which I eagerly awaited to be mentioned again from then on. There were things I didn’t expect to read about in a fantasy novel and loved for that exact reason.
For such a dark story told from a character like Jorg, I didn’t expect to come across so many sentences that I wanted to highlight. Mark Lawrence has a great writing style and I used quite a lot of post-its to tag quotes.
Even though the titles of these books describe where the series is going, I was still clueless how it would all end. Even if I had pondered on it for a while I would never have thought it to end like it did. This ending surprised me A LOT and I loved it. Jorg’s story ends in a way that satisfies his character and who he is, but also surprises with an unselfish act on his part.
This series is everything but your typical Epic Fantasy read and if you are into darker but unique and interesting characters, you should read it. Many gory details make this series a thrilling read and its great worldbuilding makes me glad that there is a follow-up series set in the same world.