I have enjoyed two very large fantasy books this week: Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools and The Liar’s Key (books #01 and #02 from his The Red Queen’s War series). Currently, I am reading the final part of the trilogy: The Wheel of Osheim.
I actually read Prince of Fools back in 2016, but decided to read it again as I had found the rest of the series on our Library’s catalogue and had put in requests. In the end, I am glad that I did this as I couldn’t really remember the details of the story, just the basic outline. Also, it’s a great book, so well worth enjoying for a second time! Anyway, this is the blurb:
I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play or bravery.
The Red Queen is dreaded by the kings of the Broken Empire as they dread no other.
Her grandson Jalan Kendeth – womaniser, gambler and all-out cad – is tenth in line to the throne. While his grandmother shapes the destiny of millions, Prince Jalan pursues his debauched pleasures.
Until, that is, he gets entangled with Snorri ver Snagason, a huge Norse axeman and dragged against his will to the icy north…
Back in 2016 I gave the book four stars, but didn’t write a review on Goodreads. This time I increased the star rating to five and wrote the following:
I loved this book. Such a great mix of blood thirsty adventure, gruelling quest, larger than life characters, magic and black humour. Jalan is such a well-written character. Although I am sure that I wouldn’t like a real-life version, he is such fun to read. I really like the way that the author gets inside his head and shows the reader Jalan’s thoughts, unpleasant and cowardly though they may be. He is such a contrast to Jorg, in the previous series, and also to the usual brave and knightly fantasy heroes in most books of this genre. How he gets into and out of scrapes is such fun!
The other characters in the book are well drawn also, with plenty of variety and development. The plot is exciting and full of adventure. I do hope that the rest of the series lives up to this cracking beginning!
This book and this author are highly recommended.
As soon as I finished the first book, I grabbed the second one, The Liar’s Key, straight away and immersed myself in it. Here is the blurb:
The Red Queen has set her players on the board…
Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.
As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld — so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.
This time, I gave the book four stars and wrote this review:
I enjoyed this book, but was a little disappointed to find out that it wasn’t quite as good as Prince of Fools. I was also surprised because this book has won awards! However, it is still really worth reading and I did award it four stars. Perhaps Mark Lawrence raises the game so much with his writing that, when he creates a book a little less brilliant than before, the resulting offering jars?
Anyway, my issues were quite small, really. The journey in the first half of the book becomes a bit tedious, although Lawrence uses various devices to help the reader along. Jalan’s homecoming is very amusing and the second half has a change of pace. It all just seemed a bit too long! The humour wasn’t quite so good either and it was so clever in book one.
A little bird has told me that the final book, The Wheel of Osheim, is totally amazing, however, so I will pick that up right now…
The third book, The Wheel of Osheim, was waiting in my book pile as I completed the second and I have now read the first few chapters. Great so far! I will tell you about it next time. If you are a fantasy fan, I really recommend Mark Lawrence.
Happy Reading to you all!