five-stars

I had some reticence about starting a new series set in the same world as The Broken Empire series. I didn’t want to slog through a series narrated by another psychopath like Jorg Ancrath. Luckily, Mark Lawrence demonstrated in the very first paragraph that this would not be the case.

Like the previous series, The Red Queen’s War primarily follows a single protagonist in first person point-of-view narration. This time, the narrator is Jalan Kendeth, a minor prince of Red March and a scoundrel, gambler, cheat, womanizer, and heavy drinker. Jalan’s grandmother is the Red Queen of Red March, an intimidating matriarch who has a clandestine war going on with behind-the-scenes factions who are pulling the strings of power in different kingdoms. Jalan manages to get himself wrapped up in this contest, while also getting magically connected to a large viking warrior named Snorri ver Snagason. Jalan and Snorri pull each other along on an adventure where both are trying to get home, but home is a different place for each of them.

Unlike Jorg Ancrath, Jalan Kendeth is charismatic and endearing to the reader due to the completely vulnerable honesty and self-deprecating humor of his narration. In his narration, he is completely aware of his faults and even tends to exaggerate them. He explains selfless or heroic acts as accidents of his personality faults, rather than admit to himself or the reader that he may be more virtuous than he lets on. As with the Warden from the Low Town series, we like Jalan because he is a better person than he thinks he is.

The story and worldbuilding were also leveled-up from the previous series. We get a lot more background about the Builders, the source of magic, and the consequences of their actions. Even with the madcap feeling of the story, the plot progresses steadily throughout and ties up satisfyingly.

What Makes it Epic Grit:

  • Adventure and Wonder: There’s desperate pursuits, fights, battles, and magic.
  • Believable Characters: Yes.
  • Real Consequences: Oh yeah.
  • Epic in Scope: Preventing the end of the world.
  • Subverts “Good versus Evil” Tropes: Each side has hits merits; each side has its selfish motives.
  • Different Perspectives: Though the narrative was mostly in the first person from Jalan’s perspective, we do get to delve a bit into the other characters and their motivations–especially Snorri.

Verdict: five-stars

This is a great series! There’s madcap adventure, high stakes, and plenty of humor. Mark Lawrence keeps getting better.

Review: The Red Queen’s War Series by Mark LawrencePrince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen's War #1
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Release: 2014
Type: Novel
four-half-stars

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Book | Ebook | Audiobook | Goodreads
Review: The Red Queen’s War Series by Mark LawrenceThe Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen's War #2
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Release: 2015
Type: Novel
five-stars

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Book | Ebook | Audiobook | Goodreads
Review: The Red Queen’s War Series by Mark LawrenceThe Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen's War #3
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Release: 2016
Type: Novel
five-stars

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Book | Ebook | Audiobook | Goodreads