Sunday 8 February 2015

Best book in the Broken Empire trilogy? (revisited)

I ran a poll today, and the same poll 18 months ago, just after the last book in the trilogy had been published. The results are shown below:

Feb 2015

Prince 26%
King 46%
Emperor 28%

August 2013

Prince 22%
King 39%
Emperor 39%

The sample sizes (~200 in each case) mean that the differences are statistically significant, but that there are quite a few % points of error possible here, so the true difference may be a fair bit smaller (or larger) than shown.

"Best" is a harsh and artificial choice but it's interesting to see nonetheless.

Possible reasons for the change?

i) 18 months ago most readers had waited between books and just recently read the last one.
ii) Today many readers may have read all three books in a week/month.
iii) The average time since reading the books is likely to have increased, meaning the judgement may be based more on a collection of stand-out scenes rather than the detailed plot/feel of the books.

 Really the books should be judged by what they're trying to achieve and the context they're in. Prince of Thorns I like for its pace and for capturing that raw, immature, bridge-burning, defiant, hurt, and dangerous younger side of Jorg. King of Thorns I like for the twisty-ness of the timeline, the interdependence of the threads, the passion of the ending, and the growth in our protagonist. And Emperor I like for its sense of focusing down: on a place, on a time, on a person, and for the fact it brought about an ending which I felt held up rather than let down what had come before.


  1. I think, Mark, that the way you relentlessly went for the ending in Emperor, to some of the expense of story does bring it down a notch to the level of King. At least in my book.

  2. They're all brilliant.

  3. I liked the first book best, even though the other two are amazing. Reading about Jorg for the first time, the shock, the "OMG he isn't going to-- no! He just did!" feeling is what stands out most.

  4. My favorite was Prince of Thorns. I liked all three, but Prince of Thorns really grabbed me. I'm not surprised why, having read in another post that Jorg is inspired by Alex from A Clockwork Orange. I read Burgess's book in High School and it grabbed me and never let go - the similarities in Prince of Thorns stood out starkly. I've only read the series through twice, but I went out and bought a loaner copy of Prince of Thorns to share it around, confident that it would pull people in. So that's why it gets my vote - it's not necessarily better than the other two, but it's the reason I wanted to read the other two.