There is satisfaction in endings. The ending of a series, of a book, and of the ending. Not all authors are able to finish on a high note, to give their reader the feeling of closing a book, leaning back in their seat, and filling the lungs with sweet completion. Mark Lawrence does just that.
It is the year of Congression, an assembly of the Hundred to vote for the next emperor. Petty politics have prevented the Hundred from coming to a majority vote in the past, and much of the same is expected this time around.
But an army of dead threatens the mainland, and at its head is the Dead King.
Jorg has carved out a significant slice of the fractured kingdoms while piecing together the mystery of a people known as the Builders. On a whim to answer the challenge of the Prince of Arrow, he travels the lands of the broken empire to better understand the throne he so desperately wants. During his travels, he unravels the laws of magic and realizes how to defeat the Dead King.
Now Jorg needs to become emperor.
The Broken Empire series has received polarized comments. Some say Jorg is too violent, the story is too dark, or the message is too bleak. I would suggest those commenters read past the first book and discover the growth of the character they so readily discard. Jorg is violent, and he is tender. He is hard, only to cover the vulnerability all of us share. He is a killer, but he is also a savior. He seethes with vengeance to protect the people he loves.
Most importantly, he is aware of who he is and what he must do.
Not all of us can claim as much. In this, he is braver and wiser than most. Surely shining attributes, something any fan of fantasy can appreciate. As golden a hero as any.
Then, the ending. I will refrain from commenting further on it. Besides, I'm too busy leaning back in my chair and musing. Fantasy is an echo of our world; the heroes commentaries of our ideals. A fragment of Jorg resides in us all. Are we brave enough to embrace him?