Mark Lawrence is certainly a prolific author. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time and have noticed that his various series are always a little different. He doesn’t serve up the same story twice.
Broken Empire is dark grimdark – a tale that questions if redemption is possible. Very different to his Impossible Times series which is about four D&D playing teenagers and time travel.
Prince of Fools is a different story again, though running concurrently with the timeline of Prince of Thorns and set in the same world.
Jalan Kendeth, however, is no Jorg Ancrath. A much easier protagonist to share some time with, he’s also very funny. He’s a rake, a coward, thinking only of the next lady to seduce and how to avoid various angry brothers seeking to avenge their sister’s honour.
But this is still the Broken Empire. The Dead King is rising and The Red Queen, Jalan’s grandmother, is set against him. Thus starts an amazing adventure with the most reluctant adventurer since Bilbo Baggins met Gandalf the Grey.
For fans of Broken Empire, there is much to admire here that puts this series on a par with its predecessor. Jorg, though very dark, was compelling. It was captivating to see if the redemption he sought was possible. Jalan in contrast, is much lighter and more shallow.
But… perhaps that’s what he wants you to think. Could it be that he’s braver than he wants to admit, more sincere? And of course, Snorri ver Snagason brings the anger and quest for vengence that we’ve come to expect in the lands of the Broken Empire.
For those who found Jorg too dark. Too beyond the pale, you might find Prince of Fools a better introduction into the world and it can be read without having read The Broken Empire trilogy first.
I also really enjoyed how the timelines matched up. We meet several characters from Prince of Thorns in the story. Taproot (watch me), the royal family of Ancrath, and even Jorg himself.
New perspectives are always a delight and we have some new scenes with favourite characters – and a surprise or two added in for good measure.
Yes, in short, this is a fabulous series and I can’t believe I’m only getting around to reading it now. Onwards we go to The Liar’s Key. The adventure continues!