“Tell me, tutor,’ I said. ‘Is revenge a science, or an art?”
This was recommended to me when I was whinging on Tumblr about wanting to read some really dark fantasy, and this one is definitely dark fantasy, and it’s definitely not for everyone. But I loved it.
What it’s about: Um… so if Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton had a baby and that baby, it’s likely he’d end up like the protagonist, Jorg. Jorg joins a group of maundering thugs at the age of like 10, and then when he’s like 14 decides he wants to be the king, and everyone should be very afraid.
What I thought: Okay, this is definitely not a book for everyone, and this is why: Jorg is about as awful as a person can get. He’s a murdering, torturing, raping, pillaging psychopath. He’s impossible to like. But this book isn’t about liking Jorg. It’s about understanding him, and that’s where this book really shines.
Interspersed within the story of Jorg doing his awful things is the story of how Jorg, a young prince and heir to the throne, ended up in a band of thugs. While Jorg isn’t a likeable guy, he’s an abhorrent human being, the story of how he because that abhorrent human being is so interesting and really what this book is about.
Jorg is a horrible, but incredibly interesting, character. He’s a monster, but he’s also a traumatised child, who has seen and experienced monstrous things, and now does monstrous things. If you are someone who needs to like and connect with the protagonist, just move along. This book is not for you. I personally don’t need that. Uncovering the psychology of Jorg was enough for me. There is no trying to trick you into liking him to begin with, then revealing he’s a monster, he’s a monster right from the start.
One thing that surprised me about this book was just how beautiful the writing is. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many passages in a book before. Almost every couple of pages I would highlight something.
This book is such a triumph because it managed to completely ensnare me regardless of this horrible protagonist, and I think that’s quite an accomplishment. When I was originally asking for dark fantasy recommendations, this wasn’t what I had in mind, but I really loved this book. It’s not a particularly enjoyable book, because of the subject matter, but it’s completely compelling.
This book is the first of a three book series, called The Broken Empire, and I will be reading all of them.
I rate it 5/5
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