I read this as part of a group read for Fantasy Fanatics
. If you've read Prince of Thorns
and like me weren't overly wowed, this book is better than the first and worth a look. King of Thorns
(KoT) continues the story of Jorg, who has successfully captured the Haunt after a bloody battle and become the King of Renar. But across the land more battles take place for the Emperor's Throne, and Jorg has his sights set on it too. But he won't be anyone's puppet and will carve his own way to the Throne, even if he has to go through the beloved hero of the people to do it. But Jorg will get the Throne, because he isn't like other people... he doesn't play fair.
I wasn't a huge fan of Prince of Thorns
(PoT) when I read
it. I hated Jorg for his unexplained sadistic personality and how a 14 year old runs a group of thugs. I also thought the world was jarring and the story was a bit too winding. These problems are still present in KoT but I did find that overall the book was better than its predecessor.
The 'present day' thread of Jorg's story (the Wedding Day) relates Jorg's struggle to defend his kingdom of Renar from the overwhelming forces of Arrow which besiege it. This tale is spread throughout the book and is hugely intersparsed by the '4 years earlier' thread, which picks up very shortly after the events of PoT, and details Jorg's adventures to help Gog gain control of his powers and to find a way to defend Renar before Arrow comes to claim it and to find his way to the Throne. Jorg's two stories are also interspersed with occasional diary entries from Katherine, relating some small but important pieces of information that Jorg can't know about but the reader needs to learn.
The threads were all woven quite well together, and are joined by another thread partway through: which is Jorg recovering his memories at key moments in the book. While all these different threads were well woven together and made the story flow better (it would not have worked written out chronologically), but at the same time it was very confusing at times to keep track of all the different parts of the story and what happened when and stuff.
Jorg was a bit more likeable in this book too. In PoT he was 14 and a sadistic kid, and he was just unrealistic. But in this book he already seems to start off slightly more mature and I think he does become even more mature as the book progresses, and he isn't cruel for the sake of it either (as much anyway). Overall he was more likeable. Although he is now a 14 year old King (in the past storyline anyway) which is believable, but he still runs this group of savage thugs and is able to just skip out on the kingdom for weeks at a time without any obvious repurcussions which doesn't seem believable to me at all.
The overall storyline was grander than in PoT and made sense for the most part, although it was winding, and at times again I wasn't really sure why Jorg was doing what he was doing in the past storyline and didn't see the point. Also, about halfway through the book, there's this whole necromancer sequence similar to the one in the first book which, whilst kinda creepy, doesn't really seem to relate to the rest of the story? Apart from hints that he will have to face this random Dead King in the next book... whatever. I don't think I care... I liked Jorg's revelation towards the end of the book that he had killed his half-brother Degran, and how devastated he was by it, because he didn't really mean to at all. It was just so real - it was a nice touch and it reflected how Jorg has changed.
I've also gotten used to this world as a post-apocalyptic world, and it was more interesting. Although I still can't get used to the idea that after some huge nuclear war or whatever we've reverted to this perfect version of a medieval world that suddenly has magic in it for some reason. Lawrence does attempt to give a reason for it later in the book through Fexlar Brews, the echo but it just doesn't really make sense and it isn't really fully explained.
Overall, I thought KoT was a better book than the first and it does make me intrigued to read the final book in the trilogy, but at the same time I still wasn't wow-ed by or completely sucked in. If you were unsure after reading PoT like I was, I would say it's definately worth a look.