Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review - Emperor of Thorns

This book triumphantly completes the story of Jorg Ancrath. Continuing the pattern of telling parallel stories set in two times that meet at the climax, we continue to follow Jorg at the same two ages as King of Thorns. The young Jorg, of five years ago, continues on from where we left him in King of Thorns, as he takes a journey, not to find himself, but to learn of the world in hopes of one day becoming Emperor. The elder Jorg makes his way to the seat of the Empire, a journey fraught with perils that Jorg handles in his unique way.

The two Jorgs are worlds apart. The younger is learning what his goals are, he still burns with fire, is touched by death, and carries a box on his belt. He is led on his journey by the mysterious builder ghost, Fixler. The elder is married with a child on the way, and is journeying to try to convince the Hundred to vote for him as emperor. But nipping at his heals is the Dead King, who has chosen this moment to strike. Jorg continues to surprise us. At time he seems reasoned and the elder Jorg has new motives for his actions, but they are still the bloody, brutal actions we have known of him since page one.

Both stories converge on the Imperial throne room, but with much different results. The tale is beautifully woven and even has a surprise third point of view, that enhances rather than detracts from the tale. Secrets abound, only a few are easy to guess, and hold the reader tight.

Definitely a fitting conclusion to the story. Jorg grows and changes, yet is shaped by the violence that lies at his core. In many ways it seemed in the previous stories, that much of Jorg was thrust on him by interfering magicians, but here he reveals a bit of truth, that it was always within him, thanks to his father, and it took very little to bring it out. While at time Jorg seems tempered, his methods have not changed since page one of Prince of Thorns. It has been a seamless journey and I look forward, sometime down the road, to taking the journey again.

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