“You can only win the game when you understand that it is a game. Let a man play chess, ad tell him that every pawn is his friend. Let him think both bishops holy. Let him remember happy days in the shadows of his castles. Let him love his queen. Watch him lose them all.”
Sometimes a five star rating to a book is an insult. Prince of Thorns is that kind of book.
I’ve had many friends tell me to read this book. I’ve put it off for a long time, my suspension of disbelief thrown off by the notion that a thirteen-year-old boy can be a psychopath. But after much deliberation, I jumped head-first into this book, finishing it in four days. That’s uncommon for me. Don’t worry; that’s a good thing.
Lawrence’s writing style is, simply put, astounding, brilliant, magnificent. And it is told from that thirteen-year-old’s perspective, Jorg Ancrath, heir to the throne. Jorg’s charismatic voice only adds to it.
He is out on a mission of revenge, or justice, who can say? The kid is evil, rotten to the core. Flashbacks dot the novel, giving insight to his reasoning in all this bloodshed. And this is where Lawrence succeeds the most.
He makes you connect with the psychopath. This is where I first did:
“People think I hate the Count, but in truth I’m a great advocate of his methods. He has only two failings. Firstly, he goes far, but not far enough. Secondly, he isn’t me.”
Saying this, though, has to have the added benefit that I hate Jorg. I would love to watch him fall, watching him murder, pillage, and rape. But at the same time, I want to see him win. I want to root for him. He is a kid who watched his mother raped, his brother killed, and his mother’s neck slit, all while being helpless and nearly dying in a thorn bush. On top of that, his father does nothing to avenge their deaths. If that isn’t cause for revenge, I don’t know.
I implore you, if you want a book that will make you connect with a killer, this is the book. And if you gather anything from this review, make it this: Prince of Thorns is a poem in prose form. He makes you do the unthinkable. Root for a killer.