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Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War) av…
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Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War) (utgåvan 2014)

av Mark Lawrence (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,2184415,800 (3.86)30
"Hailed as "epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale, but on speed,"* the Broken Empire trilogy introduced a bold new world of dark fantasy with the story of Jorg Ancrath's devastating rise to power. Now, Mark Lawrence returns to the Broken Empire with the tale of a less ambitious prince... The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister--unseen by most and unspoken of by all. The Red Queen's grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth--drinker, gambler, seducer of women--is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it's all a rumor--nothing that will affect him--but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war--and the Red Queen controls the board. *Fixed on Fantasy"--… (mer)
Medlem:Andrew_Hunt
Titel:Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War)
Författare:Mark Lawrence (Författare)
Info:HarperVoyager (2014), 512 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Prince of Fools av Mark Lawrence

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Visa 1-5 av 43 (nästa | visa alla)
I got this free as part of a LibraryThing giveaway. I'd never read Lawrence before, though I've read Pornokitsch's reviews of his other trilogy in this setting (here, here, and here).
If this were a standalone, I might want to recommend it to some people; as the first in a trilogy, I don't know. Here's the short, sharp version:
A petty prince adventures with an iconic Viking warrior: though he'd rather stay home and drink and sleep around, a magic spell (and some gambling debts) sends our narrator off, where he and we discover that his shittiness actually hides some positive qualities; and ultimately, the adventure leads them to fight a dark lord.
In other words, it starts off amusing and almost counter-traditional: rather than showing us a bully who we're supposed to adore, it gives us a little shit who we're invited to laugh at. There's a touch of Jack Vance there. But the longer it goes on, the more it becomes a more traditional high fantasy, where two guys with magic powers have to fight off a threat to the whole world.
Thankfully, it's only 12 discs long.
  benjamin.blattberg | Jun 1, 2023 |
My first, and so far only encounter with Mark Lawrence’s works was with Prince of Thorns and while I liked the story I did not exactly enjoy it: not so much because of the grimness, with which I’m already familiar thanks to writers like Martin or Abercrombie, but because the main character, Jorg, was so steeped in his search for vengeance that I could not find in him any redeeming quality. Those feelings were so overwhelming that I could not bring myself to move forward with the series - or to read anything else by this author. Until now. Exactly ten years after my not-so-happy encounter with Jorg, and after reading so many positive reviews from fellow bloggers, I decided to try again with a novel from Mark Lawrence and settled on Prince of Fools - and this choice proved quite felicitous…

Prince Jalan, tenth in the line of succession in the realm of Red March, does not care for power: his only interests are wine, women and gambling - the latter putting him more often than not in serious trouble, as does his flitting from one willing female to the next. In the course of his umpteenth mad dash to avoid the enraged relative of one such female, he barely escapes a deadly trap set by the Silent Sister, the crone who sits besides the queen’s throne and that few can see, and in so doing he becomes inextricably and magically entangled with Snorri, a Viking warrior brought to Red March as a prisoner. The two of them set off for a quest across the world looking for the means to undo the spell - a quest that also entails Snorri’s search for the fate of his family. As their journey progresses, they become aware of the impending danger from the Dead King and his army of reanimated corpses, and of the fact that the spell binding the two of them might be more than a “simple” inconvenience…

The tone and mood of Prince of Fools conquered me immediately: where Jorg’s journey represented something of a dark descent into hell, Jalan’s story - even though it is not always sunny and fun - was a more relaxing blend of drama and humor, mostly due to the happy-go-luck attitude of the protagonist. Jalan is quite open about his shortcomings, almost proud of them, a self-centered guy affected by Peter Pan Syndrome who is quite happy about this state of affairs, and hoping for it to go on indefinitely. He is therefore the perfect foil for Norse warrior Snorri, a man firmly set in his honor code and totally filled with a love for adventure and battle that Jalan cannot comprehend. In the young prince’s own words:

With Snorri troubles were always put front and centre and dealt with. My style was more shove them under the rug until the floor got too uneven to navigate, and then to move home.

This difference is further stressed once they are bound by the spell that forces them to stay together (increasing the distance between them causes enormous discomfort and might even lead to death) and that’s expressed with encroaching darkness for Snorri and blinding light for Jalan. Two halves of the same whole, different and yet complementary - and probably destined to some higher purpose. But the journey, either the physical one or the road toward mutual understanding and friendship, is not an easy one and their travels are punctuated by Snorri’s cheerful acceptance of hardships and Jalan’s constant whining about lack of comforts. Or willing women…

More than once I was somehow reminded of that older movie, The Defiant Ones, starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, where two escaped convicts bound by a chain are forced to cooperate to survive. Jalan and Snorri are equally bound to each other and observing their forced companionship turn first into grudging acceptance and then respect and friendship constitutes the main delight of this story. The journey also reveals their true characters behind the outward mask they are both wearing: Snorri’s bluster hides a deep-seated pain mixed with regrets, and under Jalan’s self-absorption there is a good person, capable of kindness and empathy, mostly revealed through his reactions to Snorri’s tale of woe.

Characters always represent what makes or breaks a story for me, and in this respect Prince of Fools is a winner, but in this case the world-building works just as well because I found this imaginary world both intriguing and fun. Looking at an online map for the novel, I discovered that the background is loosely based on the European continent, with Jalan’s Red March taking a space that includes the westernmost part of Northern Italy and the southern coast of France: mentions of Rome and Florence further strengthen the resemblance, as do, for example, the names for the realm of Rhone (which roughly corresponds to central France) or the descriptions of the northern territories from which Snorri comes, that are clearly the area constituted by Sweden and Norway. The constant references to the ancient Builders and the destructive event of the Thousand Suns clearly point to this world as being a post-apocalyptic one in which memory of the past has been all but erased, the few surviving notions twisted and turned into legends that open the road for some tongue-in-cheek humor, like the mention of the train, which has now become some sort of mythical beast or that of a famous Viking ship whose name was “Ikea”…

Even though this novel lost me for a short while, when the start of Jalan and Snorri’s journey felt somewhat erratic and lacking some focus, it still managed to keep me reading on because of the constantly evolving relationship between the two main characters, and once the story reached its climatic peak I was totally onboard and fully invested in it - I might have waited a decade to get back to this author’s works, but now he has my full attention and my eagerness to see where the journey goes. And maybe - who knows? - I might even give Jorg another chance…. ;-) ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | May 25, 2023 |
Decent start to a new trilogy. Jal is a cowardly prince stuck on a mission with Snorri the Viking. They would gladly go their separate ways, but the chess masters of the Broken Empire have other plans like usual. The banter and growth of the protagonists was fun to read, and their journey into the far north was breathtaking. Finally, having a cameo of our detestable Prince Jorg was a delicious cherry on top. ( )
  JumpyDr4gon | Aug 10, 2022 |
Well. Extremely reminiscent of Game of Thrones ('winter is coming theme' where the undead are plotting a world domination). Does this make it bad, no, not really... just derivative. But it was overall entertaining. You don't really have to pay too much attention to what is going on because there are lots of scenes that are just there for decoration and don't advance the plot or the characters... kinda just like GOT, where we have sections intended to show just how evil or how strong or how magical XYZ character is. ( )
  crazybatcow | Jun 28, 2022 |
Fyrsta bókin í nýrri þrenningu Lawrence í fantasíuheiminum sem hann skapaði í The Broken Empire. Í fyrri seríunni var aðalhetjan andhetjan Jorg en hér er það prinsinn Jalan sem leikur aðalhlutverkið. Sukkari, hugleysingi og fjárhættuspilari - og stoltur af því. Hann hugsar um það eitt að komast sem léttast frá hlutunum og bíður þess að ættartengsl og auður tryggi honum enn betra gjálífi. Það syrtir þó á álinn hjá honum þegar okurlánarar, bölvun og her ódauðra tekur að eltast við hann. Ekki síst þar sem hann spyrðist við bardagahetju sem er alger andstæða hans í einu og öllu. Stórskemmtileg og spennandi saga. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
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Chan, JasonOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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I've always found hitting a man from behind to be the best way to go about things.
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"Hailed as "epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale, but on speed,"* the Broken Empire trilogy introduced a bold new world of dark fantasy with the story of Jorg Ancrath's devastating rise to power. Now, Mark Lawrence returns to the Broken Empire with the tale of a less ambitious prince... The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister--unseen by most and unspoken of by all. The Red Queen's grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth--drinker, gambler, seducer of women--is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it's all a rumor--nothing that will affect him--but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war--and the Red Queen controls the board. *Fixed on Fantasy"--

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