Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Two weeks ago I happened to be talking with a friend abut fantasy books (shocking!) when The Name of the Wind made its way into our conversation. I had read Patrick Rothfuss book two years before and, while I liked it a lot, I believed that people exaggerated a bit about how good it was until now. The next Monday she brought me a copy of The Wise man’s Fear. How much I liked it? Well it took me a week to read a thousand and two hundred pages and it was a busy week.

wf

Strong points: The characters, The setting, the development of the story.

The Wise Man’s fear, written by Patrick Rothfuss, picks up the story right where The Name of the Wind left it. Kvothe, now a broken man living the rest of his days as an innkeeper under the false name of Kote, retells his story to Chronicler, a man who has managed to find him. Kvothe will tell us about his years in the arcane university, his adventures serving under the maer Alveron, his romances, his triumphs and his failures all of which are tragically connected to the wars which are ravaging their world.

The characters are probably the strongest quality of this novel and that’s saying a lot for them. Every single one of them is unique and unforgettable, bringing something of their own to the story and making it richer by their presence and alluring personalities. Kvothe captivates the reader through his point of view of the events and his unique self, which sets him apart from other fantasy characters. As a young man, he is imperfect, full of qualities but also victim of the arrogance that comes from knowing how talented he really is, with a subtle greyness in him, a dark side hinted in some of his actions. As his older self he is pitiful, wise beyond his years but also depressed, full of cynicism and fragile as only a man who has lost everything can be. And between these two opposite poles we are witness to a slow transformation that will enthrall the reader as the character becomes more complex and more difficult to predict.

Denna is also a superb character full of lights and shadows that give her an incredible humanity, her desire to remind free from any bonds but her complete dependence to her abusing patron is just an example of how complex this character really is. Her relationship with Kvothe is difficult to define and is full of hues which add up to keep the reader wanting to know more about this mysterious girl and what relationship does she have with the events to come.

The rest of the characters, from the eccentric master Elodin to the evil Cthaeh, are full of twists and complexities that won’t leave you indifferent to any of them. The way they fit in the story and how they fulfill the roles they are given is simply masterful.

The world where the book takes place is rich and variable, full of cultures carefully built to the utmost detail. Patrick Rothfuss world reminds me to the worlds of masterpieces such as Conan the Barbarian, Hawkwood and the kings, Game of Thrones, Malazan Book of the Fallen and the Discworld. It is so vast, so well-constructed, that will keep you wanting to know more about its wonders and dangers. The game of the rings in the court of the Maer, the Lethani of the Adem and the marvelous world of the Arcane University are just some examples of the wonders a reader is going to find in the pages of this novel.

Finally we can’t forget to talk about the development of the story, which unravels with a sense of timing and elegance which feels incredible. While some parts of The Name of the Wind felt a little bit dense, I didn’t notice any dull moments in The Wise Man’s Fear which only by the size of the book is incredible. The adventures that Kvothe lives, even if out of context would seem as if they had nothing to do with one another, follow a rational path which perfectly connects one chapter after the other until the amazing and heartbreaking ending of this amazing book.

So finally someone got the maximum score in my humble blog. The Wise Man’s Fear is an amazing book which I would recommend to every living soul, even if the Kingkiller Chronicles it their first immersion into the fantasy genre. Mr. Rothfuss, I take off my metaphorical hat and raise a cup of (Spanish) beer to your health and to the third installment of the Kingkiller Chronicles, may it be as good, if not better. (Or I take off my metaphorical cup and raise a hat full of Spanish beer. Once you start drinking you never know…)

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

Ps. Thanks to the wonderful Nuria for putting this book on my hands.

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Three months ago I started Thelordbaelish blog in what you may call a whim. For a long time I had contemplated starting a blog which specialized in Fantasy and Science Fiction books’ reviews and in the last days of 2013 I decided it was the time to do it. Today I happily admit that I just reached the first milestone of this journey, three months of writing reviews. So I want to use this paragraph in which I usually comment things that in my mind seem important and then in paper they look as interesting as Fireblood (still ranting, still ranting) to thank everyone for their reads, their likes, their follows and their support. Next milestone: January one of2015. Let’s go from a non-very ambitious goal to an ambitious one (middle ground? what is that?).

in

Strong Points: The main characters and their development, the writing style.

Weak points: some parts are somehow dense,some elements feel underplayed.

Innocence, written by Dean Koontz, tells us the story of Addison and Gwyneth. He is a young man who suffers from a strange condition by which when people look at his face they feel and uncontrollable need to kill him; she is a young woman whose social phobia has kept her alone and isolated. In a world that despises them they will have to trust each other, but a change is coming, and the signs seem only obvious for these two outcasts.

There are two points that in my mind make Innocence a novel worth reading and one of them is its main characters. We are told the story from the point of view of Addison, an extraordinary and complex character that will captivate the readers from almost the first moment. Addison has been forced to live his whole life away from other people and the author manages to personified all the innocence but also all the maturity that comes by the singular life style of this character. Addison’s vision of the world matches perfectly with the character himself and his circumstances, and his reactions to everything that happens around him are believable, making him humane and a character in which the reader may find him/herself reflected only because Addison´s depth make him feel like a real human being despite his extraordinary circumstances. On the other hand, Gwyneth hasn’t lived as isolated as her male counterpart, her reclusion being her own choice because of her dislike to directly interact with other human beings, and this shows in her vocabulary and her behavior. The author has perfectly represented a young girl who has lost everything and has been forced the mature faster than anyone around her and even if we see her always from Addison point of view she shares his depth and his complexities making her a very difficult character to predict.

Their development is not less perfect and beautiful than the characters themselves. The subtlety by which the author develops Addison and Gwyneth is astonishing to the point that it feels as the small changes that happen to a person we have been seeing every day for months: you don’t notice the changes immediately until the result is different enough but when you notice you recall the change step by step. The same happens in this novel, by the end you realize how much the characters have changed since the first pages. This development doesn’t feel forced and it seems to flow naturally as a sensible response to the events that occur around the characters. This development, so natural and complex at the same time, deepens the effect already created by the characters themselves in which we feel as if we were in the presence of real human beings opening their minds and hearts to us.

The other point that makes this novel a worthy read is the writing style of Dean Koontz. His timing and his grasp of the English language may only be defined as wondrous. Mr. Koontz’s prose is beautiful, completely poetical with a sense of style and a grasp of vocabulary which sets Dean Koontz as an example for any aspiring author at least where the use of prose is concerned. This beautiful writing style goes together amazingly well with the story, pulling the reader inside the story. I can only compare the author with film director Nicolas Winding, in Drive you get drunk with the colors that fill the screen while in Innocence you get drunk with the words that fill the pages.

Sadly, some parts of the novel feel too dense and slow paced to the point that it may lose the interest of the reader, especially at the beginning and at the very end of the book. The lack of action whatsoever in these parts make it feel as if you were reading a philosophy essay rather than a novel, making it difficult to go on when all you are looking for is a story. Once you get through approximately the 40% of the book, the story picks up in pace with astonishing speed and keeps you turning pages to see what happens next.

Finally, some elements of the story feel underplayed and leave you somehow of a sour taste in your mouth because of the unused potential. An example of this is the collection of marionettes, which are introduced with a dark and rather crude backstory which captivated me and left me wanting to see these terrifying toys play an important role in the story. Sadly, they are never fully explained and their exit is both too soon and too anticlimactic for my taste. There is even a mention that there is one more of their kind but then it is completely forgotten and has not weight in the rest of the novel.

Innocence has been a captivating story as soon as it picks its pace up, using it strong points to keep me reading for the first 40% of the book. I would recommend Innocence to those readers without any kind of prejudice to the urban fantasy genre, because Dean Koontz doesn’t follow any kind of established rule in this novel.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

There is a saying you have probably heard before: “never judge a book by its cover”. Well, I have heard it too but I always thought that its meaning was planned to be metaphorical, not literal. When I saw Fireblood’s cover I liked it so much I decided I was going to read that book. Two weeks later I don’t know whether to admire or to hate the cover designer, the only thing I know is that love is definitely not in the mix.

FB

Strong Points: the lore.

Weak Points: Story development, character development and over explanation.

Fireblood, written by Jeff Wheeler, brings us to a continent which is ravaged by a mysterious magical plague once every generation, decimating its population and leaving civilization on the brink of disappearance every time it strikes. The independent city of Kenatos, built by the joint efforts of every kingdom with the aim to create a place where all knowledge can be stored, has become a beacon of hope for all the races and is ruled by the Arch-rike and his rikes and Paracelsus. Now Paracelsus Tyrus, who failed in his quest to end the plague years ago, is trying to get support for a second expedition and his web will trap a group of unlikely heroes who will become the only hope to end the vicious cycle that the mortal races are trapped in. But in the Arch-Rike’s court no everyone is who they seem to be and soon the lives of everyone in the group will be endangered.

This is the basis of the plot of Fireblood and, in my opinion, it could have made for a story full of potential and unforgettable moments. Sadly, by the time you have managed to end the first three chapters the only thing you will be looking forward to are the small paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter which contain the lore of the world that Mr. Wheeler has created. Once you have finished it you will have read the best part of the chapter. The lore that the author has developed around the world he has created is complex, deep and alluring and helps us to understand the whole situation of what is happening from the point of view of an archivist of the city of Kenatos. These paragraphs are full of subtlety and, even when we know for a fact that the archivist is wrong, we can still find small clues about what is really happening.

Then you keep reading the chapter and you think “what the hell happened with the subtlety and the complex and wonderful world the author promises me in every chapter?” Well, your parents promised you a fat, white bearded man was going to bring you presents every Christmas and look how that turned up, this is very much the same case-scenario.

The story becomes a chaotic, badly pasted puzzle full of overused clichés and random events that would have worked in a RPG, but definitely not in a novel. That’s how it feels, that the author just kept throwing dices to decide what was going to happen next and didn’t bother to double-check the result to see if it made sense. There is not a construction towards a climax simply because there is not climatic event in the whole novel making this a slow and dense read. Finally, whenever a conflict appears that the group doesn’t know how to solve suddenly the author brings forward a new rule or just decides that one of the characters has a skill or magical hability which hasn’t been named before and that is perfect for the situation at hand. The story isn’t interesting because you know that the heroes will always overcome the odds without effort; they are too perfect and complement each other too well to keep the reader turning pages for any other reason than to finish the book.

The characters and their development don’t fare any better: Annon, who is introduced to us as a guy with anger issues, can control his anger quite well and is probably the calmest person in the whole group. Paendrin is wise, young, handsome and one of the best warriors of the kingdoms, he is also boring and doesn’t evolve in the whole book. Hettie is an unbearable spoiled brat which is introduced as fiercely independent but, just as Annon is as calm as a Buddhist monk who has reached Nirvana, she is useless and does everything her brother tells her to do. That’s it, these are the characters and that’s the way they stay for the whole book; no change, no evolution whatsoever neither in their relationships nor in their ways of life.

Over explanation is everywhere in this book and, at least for me, it kills the few good moments it may have, such as the twist concerning Hettie’s intentions which then the author proceeds to use a whole chapter to describe; meaning he repeats his explanation over and over again until the reader feels tempted to throw the book out of the window. Everything is explained, you know all the possibilities and, therefore, the book contains no mystery as it makes its way towards a predictable and uninteresting ending.

As you may have guessed, I haven’t enjoyed this book much and I am not ready to recommend it. Of course this is an opinion and I may have become a little pickier after reading The Postmortals, but Fireblood has been a huge let down almost from the first page, tempting me many times to put it down and forget about it. On the other hand, I have heard that it is probably the worst book written by the author so I will probably check more books from Mr. Wheeler in the future.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

Dawn of swords in one of those books that has been following me around since the day it came out. It didn’t matter where I looked, there it was: in the library, in the bookstore, in the blogs I read, in the EBook’s advertisement. Believe me, it was everywhere, I am amazed I didn’t find it in the mirror reflection one morning after washing my face like it happens in those horror movies. Therefore, I decided that, before things got out of hand and psychotic books started murdering people, I should give it a try. As if it was a sign, suddenly I found a discount for said book in the Kindle shop. Truly, this was a terrifying experience.

DoS

Strong points: the setting, the development of the story.

Weak points: over explanation, character concept and development.

Dawn of Swords, written by David Dalglish and Robert J. Duperre, brings us the story of the young world of Dezren, a world where humans have existed for less than a century, having been created by the god brothers Karak and Asthur. Now, after a hundred years of peaceful existence, trouble is breeding in this utopia as the worshippers of both gods come closer and closer to a religious war.

The setting of the story is its strongest point. The authors bring us two completely different young societies which have evolved in completely opposite ways: one of them being an industrial kingdom with an absent god where religion is losing its importance and the other built around an ever present god without knowing poverty or greed. Both nations are masterfully built and evolve reacting to the events of the world that surrounds them. We are taken through crisis and golden ages, showing us a complex construction that will keep the reader turning pages.

The story itself is well developed, filled with climatic events and twits which, even if sometimes they are predictable, kept me reading page after page until the end. The different points of view manage to show us a complete picture of the conflict in both sides. The first families, which are four immortal pairs and their children who have been created by the gods to watch over humanity, are the main characters of most of the storylines and the differences on how they see the world make for a variable and interesting reading. The different events don’t feel forced by the author, who allows the story to unfold in a fluid manner which entraps the reader. The final twist of the story can only be compared to that of King of Thorns; the authors fooled me during the entire novel, making me think it would be predictable to then change everything in the last minute, leaving me unable to put the book down until I finished.

If you have read other reviews I have written you will know how irritating I find over explanation, and that is something you find a lot in this book. The authors seem to have the need of explaining everything instead of letting readers figure things out by themselves. Subtlety is noticeably absent as you read every tiny detail about the character as soon as you meet them. There is not mystery and sometimes that slows down the Reading.

The characters, sadly, are somehow a disappointment. Their concept is original and creates expectations which most of them don’t live up to. Some of these characters lack depth and embody clichés or simple qualities or failures, being unable to step outside their roles and surprise us, while others evolve in weird ways which don’t make sense; one example of this last group is Clotis Crestwell, who most of the book is the personification of being a badass but suddenly in the last pages becomes, with no apparent reason, a cowardly idiot who can’t even hide evil smiles when his plans work (and this without taking into account that it is stated at the beginning that the man has perfect control over his facial muscles). Some characters, such as Soleh, the lord Commander, Jacob or Patrick lived up to the expectations they produced in me at the beginning, but mostly character’s development is a huge letdown.

Despite some faults I enjoyed Dawn of Swords and can’t wait for wrath of lions, which shall be the second instalment of this trilogy, coming out on April. The book is far from perfect, true, but if you are a lover of the fantasy genre and like to spice it up with conspiracy and political fantasy like myself, then I wholeheartedly recommend it.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

In Spain we have a saying: “at the third try you will succeed”. But if the first and the second try have already been huge successes, what do we say? When it comes to applying this saying to Mark Lawrence, author of the delightful Broken Empire trilogy I believe that it should be changed to “at the third try you shall get a result that will blow the readers’ minds”.

eot

Strong points: The characters, the setting, the development of the story

Weak points: it contradicts some small details given in prince of thorns

Emperor of Thorns is the final chapter of the Broken Empire, a trilogy that tells us the story of Jorg Ancrath and his quest for power whatever it may cost. In this third installment Jorg, now a father-in-waiting, must attend Congression, a meeting between the rulers of the Broken Empire that occurs every four years and which objective it’s to try to designate a new emperor. While this happens other powers are preparing their hands for the final stage of the game: the power of the Dead King is growing and his armies are laying waste to the continent; the data ghosts created by the Builders war among themselves, divided before the question of what to do with humanity; The church of the White Christ sends its assassins to carry out their dark deeds, seeking revenge for bishop Murillo’s fate and the Mathmagicians seek the future in their numbers, their influence in Ibn Fayed’s court rising.

From the first book Mark Lawrence has been able to demonstrate time and again his amazing skill when it comes to creating and developing his characters, and Emperor of Thorns is not exception to the rule. From the newly introduced characters to those we already know and (may) love since Prince of Thorns, all of them are masterfully created, showing us a complex and deep behavior that will make the reader feel as if they were reading about real people, with their faults and their qualities. Their actions and their feelings don’t seem imposed by the author; instead it feels as if they really came from within the character. Jorg may not be as evil as he was in Prince of Thorns, but he stills being the charming murderous bastard I know and love and the changes of his conduct are the result of a careful evolution that has been taking place from the first pages of the first book until Emperor of Thorns. Some scenes, such as the one when he is trying to find his cousin among the Gildean Guard, are simply a treat to read, giving us a glimpse of how complex this character has become. Other secondary characters, such as Miana, Makin, Red Kent, Rike or Chella are further developed in this novel, making them surprising and difficult to predict, some of them, such as Rike, bring us really surprising moments that, only by themselves, would have made a book worth reading.

I felt in love with the setting and its subtlety from the first moment I started reading this series. Though it is never completely explained how this society came to be, the book is full with hints that allow the readers to come to the conclusion by themselves. Now, in Emperor of Thorns, this setting is expanded even further than King of Thorns, taking us to the poisoned land of Iberico, the deserts of Liba or the capital city of Vyene, all of them described in their unique ways, managing to create different cultures and architectural styles with such a completion that it will remind readers to Steven Erikson´s own creations. Mark Lawrence has created a complex and complete world and will leave the reader thirsting for more adventures in this amazing society that the author has managed to create.

Finally, the story has followed a constant and well-built development from the beginning of the series to its end; it is amazing how scenes that I didn’t give much importance in the first or second books become important for the plot in the third book, such as Justice’s torture in King of Thorns. The constant evolution of the general plot is fluid and makes sense; as with the characters, this time the events of the book don’t feel forced by the author in an attempt to create drama, which was my main complain about some small happenings in King of Thorns. The building of the climax and the ending twists are truly amazing, forcing the reader to stand on his or her guard, never knowing where the next surprise may come from.

Mark Lawrence continues with the style he already used in the second book of the series, using two timelines and a second person’s point of view to complete the information the reader gets about the story. The point of view of Jorg is divided between the present and five years in the past, picking this last timeline exactly where King of Thorns past’s timeline finished. The second point of view this time is Chella’s, from whose eyes we get to understand the court of the Dead King and its true nature.

I have to say, this book was perfect even if there were small details that contradicted some information given in Prince of Thorns. These details were mostly unimportant, such as the fact that in the first book it was hinted that Makin had helped Jorg to torture Bishop Murillo while in Emperor of Thorns when Jorg recalls the episode it is set before Makin joint the brotherhood.

Broken Empire has been a hell of a ride, I have enjoyed every minute spent reading this books. It saddened me to finish Emperor of Thorns, with so many enjoyable characters such as the Queen of Red who had only been named or appeared briefly and had left you wanting for more. Thankfully I have just learned Mark Lawrence is writing his fourth book: Prince of Fools, which is the first installment of a new trilogy, set in the same world as the Broken Empire series.

And yes, I take my metaphorical hat for the third time, Mr. Lawrence, and I am looking forward to do it again soon

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

I know I promised reviews would come slower now that Christmas break is over. I know that I had planned that with the end of vacations it would take me between one week and a half to two weeks and a half to read a book and write a review about it. I blame Tamora Pierce. Also the book was short. I promise.
AFA

Strong Points: The characters, the setting of the novel, the descriptions

Weak points: very predictable, the ending feels rushed

Alanna: The First Adventure is the first book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, a book series for youngsters written by Tamora Pierce. It tells us the story of young Alanna of Trebond, a young noblewoman whose dream is to become a knight. Dressing up as a boy see travels to court with the hope to train as one, stepping into a world full of adventure and extraordinary characters.

Probably the first thing a reader learns when he picks this book is that Tamora Pierce has a knack for descriptions. The author is able to entrap the reader into this book just by telling you what Alanna is seeing at each moment. Her description of the market when the main characters arrives to court for the same time is a real wonder that shall pull you into the pages as you read on; full of people, colors and sensations, the picture appears vividly in our imagination and making us feel, for a moment, as if we really were among those people. The character’s description is also rich and precise, an art that in my opinion is disappearing now that the authors just seem to stop in the most striking features of its character and then move on quickly to the action.

Alanna: The First Adventure surprises us for the richness of its setting. The author has managed to create an amazing society which will capture the reader’s attention for its simplicity but at the same time for its plausibility. Old hatreds, social classes and different cultures find their way into these pages, coming alive before our eyes. The rules of the knights’ training and how the academy is described can’t help but remind us of Hogwarts, but here is the thing: The book was written in 1983. One thing the reader must take into account is that when Tamora Pierce wrote this novel, it hadn’t been done before. We are seeing the real deal, the original base that may have inspired our beloved Harry Potter and other books of such nature that we may have read as youngsters and believe you me, this original version has little to envy to those who came after.

The strongest point of the novel is, undoubtedly, its characters. Alanna surprises us for her depths and inner conflicts. She is a girl who considers herself inferior to men and who needs to prove herself again and again just to be able to feel good at what she is doing; her inferiority complex also affects the way she relates to her friends and teachers, being unable to accept favors or take the easy road. Other character that surprises is George Cooper, the King of Thieves, probably the shadiest of the lot; it is surprising to find a character that makes crime his business in a book for such a young audience, but he is a breath of fresh air and helps to make the story even more interesting. The rest of the characters are not as deep, some of them being just the embodiment of a role, such as sir Myles, who represents the fatherly figure, Jonathan, the all-too-trustful prince who Alanna must protect, Coram, the loyal manservant, or the duke of Naxen, the stern but goodhearted tutor. But even if this characters usually don’t go beyond that which they embody they still hold a certain allure for the readers.

Sadly, the book is also very predictable. The reader knows what is to happen almost from the beginning. There are no surprises in the narrative, no sudden twists that make us stare at the pages to see if we rad correctly. The villain is known almost from the beginning, giving us the impression that everyone is a total fool except for Alanna and you can tell who is to discover Alanna’s secret as soon as they are introduced. We can’t forget that this is a book for young audience but I feel that a little bit of mystery would have been appreciated.

Tamora Pierce makes a good job building the climax toward the ending. The small pieces of information Jonathan and Alanna receive from the other characters, the description of the Black City and its reflection on the flames whenever Alanna casts a spell. We really want to learn who or what is in the Black City, but sadly it all resolved fast and undetailed in the last few pages, leaving the reader with a certain feeling of disappointment.

Alanna: The first Adventure is an enjoyable book to read that will relax the reader for its simplicity and alluring storyline. You will get fond of the characters very quickly and will be thirsty to know what will happen to them in the next pages, making it a very difficult book to put down. I would also recommend this book for those parents trying to get their children to read, for I think it is an amazing introduction to literature in general and fantasy in particular.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

¡Hasta la Próxima!

If you have read my first post, you may remember I mentioned my distrust for long running series due to some too recent experiences of total disappointments. So from the moment I decided the time had come to continue reading about the adventures of Jorg Ancrath until the moment I turned the last page I was suffering, ready to be disappointed. Now that have put down the book and have given myself some time to think about it, I must say I didn’t like it, I loved it.
KOT

Strong points: The writing style, the setting of the novel, the characters

Weak points: some events feel forced or improvised on the spot by the autor

King of Thorns tells us the already well known story of a broken empire, a heartbroken hero who suffers when he sees the conditions in which the people live, a prophesy, a decision to make the empire whole again and a selfish villain who reigns over one of the states whose ambition won’t let him step down from the throne. There is one difference, however, between King of Thorns and the rest of these stories: We live it from the point of view of the evil king who stands in the hero’s way.

Mark Lawrence brings us an amazing story that contributes with something fresh an original to the already very developed fantasy genre. The author manages to surprise us time and again with a novel full of unexpected twists and with one of the darkest settings you will manage to find nowadays. Some of said twists make for delightful surprises that shall keep you reading until the moment you finish it; during the last seventy pages of the book it is virtually impossible to put it down, as Mark Lawrence manages to entrap the reader by masterfully building a climax which shall capture your attention completely. The final twists of the story will literary leave you gasping for air.

The narrative choice of the author has been carefully studied and designed to give small rations of information to the reader, Mark Lawrence doesn’t fall in the irritating error of many writers who give you all the information you need to know from the very beginning, instead he unravels the story step by step with the precision and timing of a real genius, knowing just which answers give to the reader and in which moments so they are left avid for more. He has chosen to use three timelines to tell this story: The present during the final battle between Jorg and the Prince of Arrow; four year before just three months after the ending of the third book and a third timeline which starts before the ending of Prince of Thorns and is narrated from Katherine´s Point of view in the format of a diary. Each of the three timelines is full with details that unravel the mysteries of the other two.

The characters are one of the strong points of this novel. When we read about them we get the feeling that we are getting to know real human beings, with their imperfections and their qualities. King of Thorns brings us a set of characters much richer than the first book of the saga, that we really get to know and fall in love with as the story advances. Jorg continues being an antihero as dark as they get: cruel, selfish and with a total disregard for the life of others; still he is subjected to an evolution way bigger than that which he experienced on the first book, showing us a rich character full of internal conflicts and with an interesting duality which will be appreciated by the reader. The secondary characters are full of surprises: Katherine and Coddin, both of them much more developed in this second book, are responsible for some of the most touching moments in King of Thorns; Sageous makes for one of the best fantasy villains I have had the pleasure of reading about; though it’s true that he is missing some depth, and the newly introduced characters such as Egan, Orrin, sir Robert or Miala bring new inputs to an already rich story, and will rise in the reader’s esteem as high as the old ones

Sadly, there is also a downside to the narrative in this novel. Some events feel forced and fortuitous, without real need or just not well introduced in the story. Also, some of the solutions Jorg gives to his problems seen improvised on the spot by the author, such as the end of the battle of the Marsh, which is won by a detail that has never been hinted or talked about before or the moment in which Jorg magically produces a false letter that he is supposed to have written months before but which existence we don’t know until the moment that it needs to be used
There are also two characters who are reintroduced in King of Thorns that were hinted death during a Prince of Thorns. Their return seemed to answer more to a necessity of the author to carry on some of the scenes he may have planned than to the real need of the story. We don’t even get to learn how they survived the events of the first book and, in the case of one of them, why would he want to return to Jorg’s side.

Robin Hobb defined this book as “A two-in-the-morning page turner”, well, allow me to add: “Even if next morning you need to wake up at 6”. King of Thorns makes for an intense and interesting reading that shall delight readers who enjoy a good fantasy story. This book has been a real treat from beginning to end keeping me awake until two of the morning for five days I have been reading it and allowing me to enjoy each of the events that built the road to the final and impeccable climax. Mr Lawrence, I take my metaphorical hat off for the second time.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

Ps: since vacations are at an end, from now on new reviews will take a little longer to be uploaded, but you can be sure they will keep coming this way.