I got as far as the first rape and pillage scene and that was quite far enough, and then I was told by a friend, who wanted to save me the trouble of reading, that that scene was only just one scene of its "sort" and that more like it were littered across the series. I couldn't thank this friend enough.
Every year, I stumble over a horrible fantasy book and I'm beginning to believe it's a quota I have to fill. Good thing I got it out of the way early this year.
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I don't read about rapists, especially not from the rapist's POV.
This story begins with violence and then it expects sympathy--or at least empathy--for the main character, a vile rapist who goes on to lead a band of equally vile characters. I just don't buy it. On top of that, the vile rapist is a child, barely a teenager, and readers are supposed to believe that one day he's going to rule the land. May that day never come.
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It was hard to read this book without comparing it to Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, the first installment of a similarly violent fantasy series which really impressed me. It was Abercrombie's sense of humor and strong writing capabilities that held the series together and kept it from becoming another dismal violent fantasy. That is the sense that I did not get from Mark Lawrence's writing, and coupled with what I saw as a writing gimmick--violence for the sake of violence--made this book an unbearable read that I had to abandon (never to return? probably).