The Broken Empire Audiobook is a trilogy of fantasy novels written by American-British author Mark Lawrence.
I could laud Broken Empire for hours, but there’s a very particular praise that has earned a post-worth of acclamation. Many modern fantasy authors are obsessed with revisiting familiar tropes and subverting them however possible, flipping the norm on its head and asking readers, “Isn’t this cool?” Others still play these tropes straight, giving us more Martin and Tolkien knockoffs to add to the already enormous pile.
Lawrence and Broken Empire do neither. We’re given an intense story that critically examines the same familiar tropes present across the genre, and… That’s all. There are no active attempts at head-flipping or straight-play.
In this way the story possesses a new level of originality: it is never predictable and never boring. Picture a common fantasy trope, such as a doomed wedding or gathering. With today’s authors and market in mind, readers can dully foretell the outcome: either everyone will tragically die, or a band of big-damn-heroes will burst in and save the day (looking at you, Branderson). In Lawrence-land, a band of carnies and an escaped horse might plot the murder of a specific uncle and kill him over a nice glass of wine. No, this is not a real example. If it were, though, I don’t doubt that it would contain the same exuberant boldness as Lawrence’s actual writing.
We’re told an amazing story, true to the genre we know and love, that still asks us questions. But Lawrence doesn’t try to answer the questions for us. He poses them, shows us the avenues, and then leaves the way open. Nothing is forced on the reader. The experience is rich with meaning while remaining non-judgmental, and sacrifices not an ounce of its entertainment value.
You may love to listen to all The Broken Empire Audiobook series on my website: