Author: Mark Lawrence –
Publisher: Harper Audio –
Genre: Dark Fantasy –
Overall rating: 4/5 –
Writing: 4/5 –
Narrator: Sean Ohlendorf –
Narrator/performance: 5/5 –
Impressions: 4/5 –
Performance errors: 1/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 4/5 –
This audiobook series consists of three books by Mark Lawrence. These are: Prince of Fools (published June 2014), The Liar’s Key (published June 2015) and The Wheel of Osheim (published June 2016).
While listening to this audiobook, I wondered – why is there no Death Fantasy genre for books using the tropes of necromancy, creatures raising from the dead, visits in Hell etc. We have Death Metal after all. It would be most appropriate to categorize this Mark Lawrence trilogy as Death Fantasy – and Adult Fantasy. However, the third part of the trilogy introduced some elements of science-fiction, such as AI, transhumanism and post-apocalyptic relics, making the serious more difficult to categorize.
I usually avoid books using dark tropes but this trilogy I liked very much. The main character – Prince Jalan – is a deeply flawed good-natured person. His internal struggle makes the story unpredictable and interesting. As a bonus, the main character actually develops over time. War scenes are a bit long but the narrator performance makes up for it. Although the story is about moving precious objects across the world and through Hell, the characters do not seem overly attached to them which I found particularly appealing. The story is rather complex and sprinkled (though just a little bit) with jokes and puns. The second main character – Snorri the Viking – strangely reminded me of Aslan from the Narnia classics. This was my first series by Mark Lawrence.
I was not thrilled by the satirical female impressions but they did not ruin the performance. Overall great production.
I did enjoy the covers as well. It is bizarre, however, that the third cover is so different in style. May be related to the fact that the first two books are fantasy and the third one is also science-fiction? It is confusing when choosing the next audiobook for listening. Why the color-coding of the first two books is different is anyone’s guess.
Cover Photo by Miguel Gonzalez on Unsplash