Literary Depression

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always been fond of the Fantasy genre. There was something about the magic, mystery, and strange worlds that sucked me into the story. I would get lost in a good story, be it a movie or book, and the worries and stresses of everyday life simply melted away.

One odd thing about my interest is that I’m never quite satisfied. I could finish reading the last page of an amazing book and want more. I’ve read books with the perfect ending, anything more would tarnish the story, and still I want more.

Often times I get so wrapped up in a story or set of characters that I have trouble letting go. Coming to the end of a story often leaves me feeling a bit depressed, like I’m saying goodbye to a dear friend. In the past week and a half, I’ve had to say goodbye not once, but twice.

On a recommendation from Sam over on Stogie Review, I purchased Price of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. The story follows a young prince that witnesses his Mother and Brother being murdered. He swears an oath to take vengeance on their killer and becomes a very dark and gritty character in his young age.

Despite having enjoyed the book, I almost didn’t make the purchase. At just over 300 pages it seemed a bit short for my taste. Amazon reviews were mixed with some people claiming the protagonist was too cruel and quickly became unlikeable. Personally, I didn’t find that to be the case. Perhaps I just have a taste for morally grey / dark characters.

Rather than leap from Prince of Thorns into King of Thorns, the next book in the series, I opted to change course. Some of the most memorable books I’ve read in the past couple of years have been written by Joe Abercrombie.

When I learned that Abercrombie was slated to release a Young Adult series, I was torn. Could it possibly stack up to The First Law Trilogy, The Heros, or Red Country? Characters in those stories had so much depth, how could a novel geared towards a young audience possibly compete?

After reading Half a King, the first book in the Shattered Sea Series, it cemented Joe Abercrombie as my favorite author in the fantasy genre (which is difficult to say because I’m a big fan of Patrick Rothfuss).

The characters in Half a King had depth and plenty of moral grey areas. The story was dark but not nearly as bleak as the novels geared towards adults. I finished the book in short order and had to wait for the second in the series to be released.

I was long overdue for jumping back into Yarvi’s world but did so earlier this week. I devoured the novel in a few days and was left saddened when it was time to say goodbye. Half a War is due to be released in July of this year and I never thought I’d be so excited for the release of a YA novel.

So here we are, in a lull between books. Do I rejoin the young King Jorg in his quest to reunite the empire or do I find a new friend in another world? It is a difficult decision to make, perhaps you can help in the comments section below…

4 comments On Literary Depression

  • King of Thorns! It’s fatter and more brilliant than its predecessor.

    • Bryn,
      I purchased King of Thorns via Kindle and started reading it over the weekend. It is a little confusing so far but I had someone warn me that it may take a few chapters before I get settled and find the groove of the story.

  • Walt,
    Thought I’d respond here.
    The second book is a little confusing, but hold out and your patience will be rewarded. It probably is even better than the first book.
    I look forward to the Joe Abercrombie! Right now I have one book ahead, Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (incredible), which I’m rereading–something I almost never do, but that’s how good Wolf Hall is.
    I also tend to switch genres between books. Having just finished the final book in the Magicians trilogy, I chose Wolf Hall because it is historical fiction. Also a trilogy, though only the first two books are out.
    Tell me how you like Serial, if you start it. I promise to read Joe Abercrombie and let you know.

    • Sam,
      I put Serial on and started listening to the first episode on my way to work this morning. I got to work before the episode was finished and I did not want to turn it off and go inside. Very entertaining.

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