Title: Prince of Fools
Author: Mark Lawrence
Published: Ace Hardcover
Prince Jalan has always had good luck with the ladies. The fact that he has bedded almost all the beautiful women in the Red Queen's kingdom has left him constantly on the run from the women's angry family members. As if that weren't enough to run from, Jalan is also in heavy debt from gambling so thugs are out for him as well. Nothing like running from a beating to keep you on your toes Jalan gets summoned by his Grandmother the Red Queen herself to attended a family and council meeting. During that meeting which consisted of things that didn't really interest Jalan at the time a person catches his eye. His name is Snorri ver Snagason and he is a Viking from the North and with him he brings news of necromancers and undead soldiers. All of the talk goes in one of Jal's ears and out the other because he is to busy starring at the creepy Silent sister behind the throne who no one else but his Grandmother seems to be able to see. The Silent sister has always creeped out Jalan ever since he first saw her when he was younger and she is even more creepy now because Jalan keeps catching her putting spell writing on homes and buildings causing them to burn down with everyone still in them. Jalan starts to become consumed by visions of the Silent sister scrolling enchanted writing on the sides of builds which would cause death to any who is inside. Snorri walks into the room and his mass of a body catches Jalan attention pulling him out of his own head. Snorri would be an amazing fighter in the fighting ring that takes place. With such a large guy like Snorri taking out people left and right Jalan hopes to make back all the money that he owes in bets.
After tricking Snorri into thinking that he was being kept a prisoner Jalan has him taken to the ring were he will fight to the death with others for money. A couple of rounds in the ring go great until Snorri escapes and runs off into the darkness of the night. Jalan counts his losses and just continues on with his normal activities. His attendance at an opera is asked for so even though Jalan hates opera he goes and everything is going fine until he runs into an angry family members of a women he had sex with. A chase ensues causing Jalan to run into a room that only has a window that he can escape from. In Jalan attempt to escape from the beating that is chasing him he notices the Silent sister writing in her spell across the walls of the Opera house. Knowing the death that the spell causes Jalan breaks free from the building and falls from the window down into the streets below. In breaking free form the building Jalan tears an opening in the spell that the Silent sister has woven around the opera house. It isn't until Jalan is down in the streets below that he realizes that part of the spell has attached it's self to him. Jalan tries to shake off the spell but when the flames of death start on the opera house a glowing crack shoots down into the street straight towards Jalan.
Jalan begins to run from the glowing crack and notices as the crack hits people in town they explode on contact with the spell. Running as fast as he can while consumed with fear of the crack catching up to him Jalan doesn't notice Snorri until he runs head first right into him! The sudden pause of the impact is the little time the spell needed to catch up to Jalan and it runs through his body and Snorri's.
The spell attaches it's self to them and forms a bond, light (Jalan) and dark (Snorri). The bond also makes it difficult for the two to be apart and it also makes their skin zing with static like feelings whenever they touch. With the light and dark of the spell being split comes abilities, Jalan can heal and Snorri is turns into even more of a killing machine but they can't be apart so Snorri forces Jalan to come with him on his journey to find his wife and son that were kidnapped by undead soldiers. Enemies must learn to trust one another because their survival depends upon it. They never expected to become friends along the way....and they never expected the dead king, the necromancer, or the giant unborn demons that are out to get them.
Thoughts: Even though I liked this book a lot I found the main character a bit annoying for most of the book. Jalan is very cowardly and runs from most of his problems instead of doing anything about the situation. He is a HUGE change from Jorg who is the main character from the Broken Empire series. I thought I would hate this book since for a while it was difficult to like Jalan at times but Snorri made up for that with his funny Viking humor. I will continue with this series because I like Mark Lawrence's writing and his world building is Awesome! the main characters in The Red Queen's War series and the Broken Empire series are like the spell in this book as far as how different they are....One light The Red Queen's War and one dark the Broken Empire. Each worth a read.
" By the time a man reaches the bitter ice he will have seen nothing but a world in shades of white for a day upon day. He will have walked upon ice sheets and seen no tree or blade of grass, no rock or stone, heard no sound but that of his own loneliness and the mocker of the wind. He will believe there is in all the world no place more cruel, no place less suited to the business of living, and then he will see the bitter ice."