Another late night reading; another brilliant book as my admiration for Mark Lawrence’s writing continues unabated. Book Two in the Broken Empire series brings more of everything that was so good about the first novel. More Makin, Rike and the other band of brothers, more monsters from the deep, more insight into the race of Builders, more mayhem and battle and more of Jorg and his quick witted, innate intelligence.
Told in three looping narratives by Jorg, all circling around the same inevitable conclusion, we are treated to a number of views about the boy-warrior turned King. Reaching back to where Prince of Thorns ended, four years previous, these flash backs flesh out all that is needed to tell the tale of Jorg’s current situation; a battle with Orrin, Prince of Arrow and the prophesied Emperor who will reunite the Empire. Interlaced with these is the story of a box. A box into which a Mage has trapped Jorg’s memories.
As the story builds and Jorg rediscovers what he has sealed away, the author shows us just how much that violent, psychotic boy has changed but also what he has lost. The interplay between his present and the looming battle with the past and all his travels is a wonderful insight into the character and the world he inhabits. Lawrence uncovers more of the Builders with subtle touches as the mystery of the setting unfolds.
The novel is a brilliantly crafted piece of writing. All the pieces fall into place as Jorg shows his cunning and determination, once again beating the odds whilst simultaneously finding that old fierce and destructive power that earned him his reputation as a boy. The conclusion is explosive, rending a hole through the fantastical and shedding a new light on to the world of the Broken Empire.
In the end it is Jorg’s pride, his iron clad will, that makes him such a forceful power. As a boy he killed a king; as a young man he destroyed a prophecy. What Lawrence has planned in the last book of the trilogy I cannot wait to discover.
Published by Harper Voyager