Both are winners. If you're in the mood for angst and violence and depression, go with Prince of Thorns. If you're in the mood for adventure and buddy-bonding,
Don't you be dissing James Marsters, now.
Yes, really and truly, the series starts taking off around book 3. I nearly
Zelazny? Lord of Light?
Gene Wolfe? Shadow of the Torturer?
I finished Half a King yesterday. It was enjoyable, but obviously simplified in both prose and plot from Abercrombie's usual, and it rather hammered the