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Saturday, November 9, 2013

King of Thorns

I know that a lot of fans are going to think I’m batshit crazy for not enjoying King of Thorns, especially considering the fact that I love the whole “grimdark” scene. This is the subgenre that I’ve grown up with, and I adore it and I hope that it never goes away. I’ve braced myself for the hate coming my way, so come on fanboys/girls hit me with your best shot! 

The strange thing about this series is the marketing behind it. Everything about it really screams “Game of Thrones/Medieval Fantasy” at least it did to me. Having finished King of Thorns I can’t help but look back and feel slightly deceived. Now sure it has swords, castles, adventure, hooded bad asses, and all of the other things you might expect in a fantasy novel, but it also takes place in a “post apocalyptic” setting, which isn’t ever mentioned in any synopsis. I can appreciate what Mark was trying to do here, take fantasy into a territory that some of us might not have encountered before. I’m aware that Mark isn’t the first author to feature modern technology in a quasi-medieval fantasy setting, but this was one of the first books within the genre where I’ve encountered this theme, and I gotta say… I couldn’t stand it… 

Jorg wearing a wristwatch, wielding a colt pistol, “ancient secrets” given to him by a computer program, references to DNA, (cleverly called ‘dena’, this being a fantasy book and all) and the icing on the cake… A scene in which a bard is playing a song on a harp called “Merican Pie”. With book 1 I tried to ignore these references but this second time around I just wanted to scream, especially at that damn “Merican Pie” part. Dialogue bounces from a wonderfully written medieval style to quotes like, “The world eats good men for breakfast” which made me want to roll my eyes. Once again there are scenes where Jorg is just plain cheesy, there’s no other word for it. It gets so bad that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Jorg flick a cigarette into a trail of gasoline and then walk away in slow motion as it explodes behind him, which might just happen in book 3 for all I know. I have no intention of reading book 3, perhaps I’m resistant to change but I’m not digging this genre blend. Gandalf had a staff, not a shotgun! IS NOTHING SACRED?!?!!?


  1. I love all things post-apocalyptic and so this book was a total winner for me. I was a total fan of the genre blend and thought it made it fresh and original.

    If I were you though I would steer well clear of book three, the references only get heavier and more entwined in the plot.

  2. I found it odd at first as well, but once I started looking at it in the same light as The Dark Tower saga, with Jorg's time a medieval-like future, as opposed to a medieval past, I quickly settled in.

    After the second book I was really uncomfortable with his use of contemporary artifacts to fuel the climax, but I think the third book made it all work.