Wednesday, 11 January 2012

If you hated Prince of Thorns you'll hate these...

Every man and his dog's website these days is busy trying to extrapolate your tastes in whatever they happen to sell and propose you buy extra stuff off them in the same vein. Bought a chainsaw? Perhaps you'd like a Friday 13th mask. Bought Justin Bieber's new album? Perhaps you'd like this loop tape of an adenoidal howler monkey we kicked in the nuts. Etc etc. They do it with books on Amazon - if you liked this, you'll love these.


I looked at a random sampling of the people who awarded Prince of Thorns one gleaming star on Goodreads and looked at how prone to 1*ing books they were and who else got the love off them.

And here are the results (15 voters examined). I noted any 1*s they awarded to famous classics that have stood the test of time, or acclaimed SFF.

If you hated Prince of Thorns... you'll hate these! Star runners in the 'also hate' league are Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, Gormenghast, and To Kill a Mockingbird.... Frankly that's company I can live with!

1) 51 1* ratings from 1250  including
Of Mice and Men, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mocking Bird, Lord of the Flies, Scar Night, Ship of Magic, Good Omens, Fellowship of the Ring

2)  4  1* ratings from 57 including:
Of Mice and Men

3) 2 from 132:
Catcher in the Rye

4) 12 from 556:
Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, Gormenghast

5) 24 from 892:
Gormenghast, Night Circus, The Blade Itself, Legend, Infinite Jest, Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Darkness That Comes Before, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Xenocide

6) 2 from 64:
Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War

7) 2 from 65:
A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about International Business

8) 48 from 449:
Assassin's Aprentice, Catch 22, Shadow and Betrayal

9) 3 from 359: 
Lord Fouls Bane, The Passage

10) 30 from 1631  
Kushiel's Dart, Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, A Clockwork Orange, Cold Mountain, The Time Traveler's Wife

11) 1 from 144
12) 1 from 60
13) 2 from 78 (both of them Prince of Thorns!)
14) 4 from 87

15) 200 from 342
Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Gormenghast, Neverwhere, Gardens of the Moon, The Blade Itself, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Lord Fouls Bane, The Warded Man, Magican, The Name of the Wind, Tigana, The Once and Future King, Game of Thrones, The Shining, The Dark Tower, IT, Narnia, The Hunger Games, American Gods, Redwall, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Enders Game, The Hobbit, Silence of the Lambs, Lord of the Flies.


  1. from this we learn, or should I say prove what I already suspected, those that hated Prince of thorns have, very, very bad taste.

  2. I believe No. 15 should probably avoid any fantasy books in future reads. Just a suggestion. Sheesh.

    1. I think #15 should just avoid reading any fiction or maybe just stop reading.

  3. A demonstration, Mark, of how some people find it easier to decide what they hate rather than what they like. Prince of Thorns was bloody brilliant btw.

  4. @Neal - did you see the first one also 1*ed Scar Night? That at least shows a trend as you mentioned Scar Night in the same breath as Prince of Thorns, but in order to praise both.

  5. Both are excellent books. I'm baffled that there are people who can't see that. Ah well, nowt so strange as folk.

  6. How can you possibly give LOTR 1 star?! That proves it. People that dislike this book just have bad taste. Period.

  7. Hahahahhaha this made me smile thank you!!

  8. Just finished your book and I liked the writing but not the overall story. I suspect that some of the people like me who aren't into your kind of storytelling have fallen into the same trap of looking the dust jacket (UK) and choosing it on the some of the words written there.

    It has a sticker comparing it to GRRM and quotes back and front by Robin Hobb. Neither of these authors are as consistently dark as your writing. I foolishly ignored your own text which says "we are as evil as you please" and went on the dust jacket words of a "charming, immoral boy" and "exceptional boy" which dilute the nature of Jorg.

    I've just seen that the GRRM comparison is now on the front of your second book. Any book that has "the new Tolkien" on it is usually poor and a GRRM comparison is the modern version of that. Your writing is good and worthy of not having tacky quotes like that on it.

    Good Luck with your writing career, I suspect it will be a long one.

    1. Having an author quoted on the cover saying they liked your book doesn't mean or imply that your book is similar to theirs. My praise will appear on the covers of a couple of books next year - these books are not like mine, the authors do not write like me.

      Nowhere on any of my work does anyone say that it is like GRRM's. Conn Iggulden appears to believe 'on a par with' means something different than you do!

      And yes - ignoring my words, or indeed the first couple of pages which give ample feel for the text - is probably a bad idea if you're the sort to complain about such things later :)

      The new GRRM is as you say the new version of the new Tolkien. As far as I know that claim is not made. If it were made however it would be inevitable ad speak & since the author has zero in put to or control over such things I would simply consider it a fact of the business. I myself am repeatedly on record stating the obvious fact that my writing is the polar opposite to GRRM's. The only possible comparison is the one Iggulden makes (that I would disgree with since I hold GRRM to be the genre's leading light) by saying both reach similar levels of excellence.

  9. I know it's tough when people don't like your books for dumb reasons, but that's what happens when you put your work out there in the wide world. And person A may find your book distasteful for the same reasons person B loved it.

    For example, I loved it because it was dark and character driven. Most of the "dark" fantasy out there is more plot driven. I like becoming attached to a narrator, preferably a single narrator. I like my heroes, even if they're anti. And while I'm not particularly into grittiness for its own sake, I love aberrant psychology. Which, ultimately, is what's really dark about Jorg. Sure, the beginning of PoT was pretty "whoa", but as you point out some of the worst stuff is really just one or two sentences. It's not gore porn.

    OTOH I'm hating the bits of "technically advanced lost civilization" stuff. That doesn't make it a bad book, I just personally hate that trope.

    Sure, I don't think your book merits a 1-star. It's got too many good points for that. But you ought to know that without needing to belittle others to prove it. Even as a joke.

  10. While this made me smile I also had to realise that I'm starting to trust these type of recommendations less and less. While I absolutely loved Prince of Thorns, I absolutely hated Clockwork Orange a good ten years ago. In fact I couldn't watch it out of disgust and anger and had to abandon the room after the first 20 minutes or so. And yet it inspired Jorg's character which I love now. Piece of teaching for me there how the world works in many wonderful and disturbing ways.

    1. A Clockwork Orange does evoke strong reactions - but the film is not the book. See what you think of Burgess' work rather than Kubrick's - it's still visceral but there are different undertones.

      & very glad you liked Prince of Thorns :D

    2. Interesting, will check out the book later, thanks. (Maybe it's a bit like the shock of finding out that Darth Vader was Luke's father but in the very end even Darth Vader does not seem so bad anymore :)

  11. Well, I thought it was like Gene Wolfe crossed with Robert E Howard. I just bought it because it was the only new fantasy in Waterstones I liked the look of and It had a cool cover. Glad I did though.

  12. That's a dedicated research! I've just discovered that the series conclusion is due this year, so can finally pick up Prince of Thorns.
    I'm going to test your theory, as I'm not a fan of classics or most of the books mentioned above. Let's see if it works the other way round :P