Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

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Rate: 4/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers): Lawrence has been hovering on the periphery of my literary radar for years now, ever since Peter V. Brett had included him among a list of authors he’d suggested reading after finishing his Demon Cycle series. Looking for a new series to start, I’m glad that I decided to pick up the Prince of Fools, as Lawrence wove together all of my favorite elements of fantasy into this first installment of The Red Queen’s War. Namely, the world building was chock full of details, with the foundation now established to only continue to evolve and expand this realm with each subsequent novel. Additionally, although we only had one point of view throughout this read, the main character was multidimensional and amusing. Moreover Jalan was supported by a cast of colorful side personalities who varied in depth but added significantly to the entertainment aspect of this read. I do wish Lawrence had included more strong female characters outside of the roles women were relegated to as objects of lust, evil witches, or power hungry suck ups. This complaint aside, my curiosity has been piqued in the Prince of Fools and I’m eagerly anticipating the adventures Lawrence has concocted for young Jalan. Overall, this read was a promising introduction into The Red Queen’s War series, in which the groundwork was meticulously developed for this novel literary world to continue to expand into new realms and mysteries.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • I enjoyed Jalan’s banter regarding considering and fully embracing himself as a coward, despite counteracting this personality trait in every danger filled interaction. As the series continues, I think we will find Jalan undergo an intriguing transformation to the prince he is expected embody.
  • I’m curious as to the time frame of this realm as in passing sever mentions are made to the builders. I’m assuming we are the mysterious builders. If that technology is lost, how does the concept of Stockholm Syndrome survive? Perhaps through the study of ‘old texts’?
  • Where are the undead and the necromancers coming from? What are their goals?
  • Why does Jalan see the Red Queen’s councilor and no one else? Why can Snorri? What did we miss out on hearing when Jalan dozes off during his grandmother’s speech?
  • Does his family really think Jalan died in the Opera fire? What will happen when he comes home?
  • I loved Snorri as a character but it was absolutely brutal and heartbreaking how his family died.
  • Will Snorri and Jalan continue their quest to kill the undead creature that the spell trapping the two originally targeted? How will the story change with the light and dark aspects of the spell switching place in the two characters?
  • How did the circus leader know so much about the world?



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