Another great dark fantasy book I’ve read recently is The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I’ve had it sitting on my iPad kindle for a while waiting to be read. I was initially interested because of the great cover art and the blurb sounded original. I’m glad I finally got around to it. If you like Game of Thrones, this is set in a similar kind of world except it’s actually more than 1500 years in the earth’s future in the wake of a distant cataclysm which reduced civilization to a medieval state. There is a kind of magic and monsters in this world as well as legacy weapons of the past which crop up to cause much mayhem.
The star of the story is a teen-aged prince who ran away from home to become leader of a bunch of bandits. He dreams of being king by age 15 and will do whatever it takes to get a crown. He is a fearless, driven character who has a vendetta against a count who killed his mother and brother. His father is still alive but has all but disowned him. He’s a kind of kid Scarface, with no moral compass and a cynicism born of the horrors he witnessed as a child. Definitely an anti-hero. But he does grow over the course of the story and there are two more books in this series. The next is King of Thorns.
I highly recommend these books if you like Game of Thrones or Joe Abercrombie. Fantasy noir series are very hot these days. I’d rate this trilogy as one of the better ones that I’ve read so far. It’s not for everyone. If you want something more like Terry Brooks of Raymond Feist you will probably want to stay away. But if you like your fantasy more realistic and stories that don’t play it safe or bury you with cliches, then check it out.