Read The Liar's Key by MarkLawrence Online

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The Red Queen has set her players on the board...Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He hasThe Red Queen has set her players on the board...Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld -- so that his dead subjects can rise and rule....

Title : The Liar's Key
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22852698
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Liar's Key Reviews

  • Mark Lawrence
    2019-02-23 08:40

    STOP PRESS: The Liar's Key has won the Gemmell Legend Award! And Jason Chan's UK art won the Gemmell Ravenheart Award for best cover art!Very many thanks to everyone who voted! (also, in celebration the UK publishers have lowered the kindle price to £1.99)http://www.gemmellawards.com/legend-a...*****I'm a big fan. That Lawrence guy writes just like I would if I could be bothered.This is my longest book to date, just over twice the word-count of Prince of Thorns, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I've continued to aim at a dark fantasy tale with heart to it, leavened by the humour our point-of-view character introduces.A tiny snippet:While the others prepared themselves I watched the sea with my usual silent loathing. The moon broke from behind a cloudbank, lighting the ocean swell with glimmers and making white bands of the breaking waves. Tuttugu appeared to share some of my reservations but at least like a walrus he had his bulk to keep him warm and to add buoyancy. My swimming might accurately be described as drowning sideways. “I’m not good in the water.” “You’re not good on land,” Snorri retorted.Other Jalan quotes:"If there’s one thing I like less than boats it’s being brutally murdered by an outraged father." "Always kick a man when he's down, I say. It's the best chance you'll get.""They say the truth will set you free, but I find it normally hems me into a corner." "I've always thought I'd make a great uncle. Terrible. But great." The third and final book, The Wheel of Osheim, is out!

  • Petrik
    2019-02-27 10:48

    2.5/5 StarsIt pained me to say this but The Liar’s Key is sadly, an unworthy sequel to 'Prince of Fools' for me.I am clearly in the minority here with my rating and opinion. I gave Prince of Fools a 4.5 out of 5 stars, it’s in my opinion, Mark’s best work up to date. The Liar’s Key is almost the exact opposite of that situation.The plot of the book started 6 months after the end of 'Prince of Fools' and it revolves around Loki’s Key or in other name, The Liar’s Key, a key that’s capable of opening any doors and sought by only the most powerful people in the Broken Empire such as the Dead King and the Red Queen. Picture: Liar’s Key (French cover edition)There is one thing specifically that didn’t work out for me in the book, the direction of the plot. To say the least, it’s extremely boring and repetitive.Here’s how it goes most of the time. The first half consists of Jalan and the gang seafaring and travelling (again), arrive at shore, Jalan get captured, break free, repeat until the end of first half. When the characters finally finished their travel, the plot actually didn’t get better but surprisingly, it became even more boring.The main strength of Prince of Fools for me lies within Jalan and Snorri’s interaction and friendship. I love how contrast their friendship are and how Snorri’s ‘good’ behavior affected Jalan’s ‘bad’ attitudes, basically this duo is the number 1 factor on why I love Prince of Fools. Now, my qualm with the 2nd half of the book is, Jalan and Snorri weren’t together from the halfway mark until the last part of the book. The time Jalan spent alone without Snorri may be one of the most boring sections I ever read in any fantasy book, especially his time in Florence.Vague world-building and the fact that the Broken Empire took place on Earth aside, the entire section in Florence surrounding Jalan’s talk about gambling, Poker, and banking made me feel like I was reading a contemporary novel, it’s not even a fantasy book anymore during this part for me. The pacing was also so dragging that I need to put the book down after each chapter almost every time. I actually had to push myself to finish this book because I kept on hoping to love this book more after what I get in the first book.It’s not all bad of course, there are some great parts in The Liar’s Key, which made my feeling about this book even more conflicted.The best part of this book is definitely Jalan’s and Alica Kendeth’s (The Red Queen) past. Although I don’t like the fact that they were again, being told in almost the same direction with Broken Empire, through dreams, both of their background revelations this time were written greatly. All the sections revolving around these two character background gave so much depth to their characters and compelling to read. It’s a marvelous addition to finally see how Jalan and the Red Queen behave as a kid, before both of them became the way they are now.“Still, children hope in ways adults find hard to imagine. They carry their dreams before them, fragile, in both arms, waiting for the world to trip them.”The new side characters that appeared here, Kara and Hennant turns out to be more interesting than I thought they would be. Finally, the last 10% of the book were fantastic. Not only it ended on a cliffhanger, the cliffhanger somehow ended up being both funny and compelling as well, there’s no way I can stop reading this series after that.My experience reading this book can be said as equally divided. The amount of parts I love and dislike is almost the same. However, I can definitely say that it’s not a worthy sequel to the fantastic Prince of Fools. I’m starting to think that Mark Lawrence’s books just don’t work for me despite how much I wanted them too. Up until now, I’ve read 6 books written by him, only 2 of them managed to reach a 4 stars rating, the rest is sadly around 2-3.5 stars. I do however will read Wheel of Osheim, the last book in the trilogy first before I confirm my theory on the matter.You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  • James LafayetteTivendale
    2019-03-07 10:55

    This review contains minor spoilers. The Liar's Key is the second book in Lawrence's The Red Queen's War trilogy. I adored Prince of Fools which followed Jalan's escapades across The Broken Empire and therefore picked up this book as soon as I could. The survivors from the quest to the Black Fort are Jalan, Snorri and their fat honorable Viking friend, Tuttugu. They have within their possession a magical key, known as Loki's Key and this can open any door, yet there is a lot more to this artifact than just that point. Snorri, the honourable Norse warrior, is a man on a mission and will do anything to find information about where Death's Door can be found. His only aim is to rescue his dead family from beyond the grave and if he follows through with that ambition, he is setting himself up for a war against the armies of the deceased to achieve this. The Dead King and his minions are already tracking the group and the key. Jalan, however; wants to get himself back to the comforts, whores, drink and debauchery of Red March.At the time of publication, this was the longest book that Lawrence had written. Unfortunately, because of this, slow traveling across the land segments drag on sometimes. These parts made this story not as "unputdownable" as the first. However, when a high octane action sequence comes into play, it often has been built up well and then the events blow the metaphorical doors of the hinges story wise. So in hindsight, the pacing "issues" lead to the last fifteen percent being breathtakingly well executed and a pleasure to read. The narrative is set up perfectly for the next book and it ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. While the characters traverse the thousand or so miles of the world again, some new cool additions are introduced who play crucial parts. Examples being a young, intelligent beyond his years orphan, called Hennan, who the cast meet whilst flirting dangerously close to the Wheel of Osheim - and Kara, an attractive young witch who they cross paths with when they are trying to find details about their destinies. Ah, yes. Jalan fancies her. A diverse fantasy fellowship of sorts is created.We still follow Prince Jalan of Red March's monologue and it is a pleasure to be in his mind. In times of pressure or struggle his enthusiastic initiatives are great to follow. It is comically written to perfection as he is still the same wealthy coward, liar, and a scumbag. To heighten the depth of the history and the politics of the world, we are presented magically influenced flashback sections in which Jalan is able to open his locked and hidden away memories of his youth. A number of these scenes are tragic but highly insightful. Yet, some of the current day scenes also contain a fair amount of violence including descriptions of torture which I know is a faux pas in some readers eyes, but necessary to the narrative. Furthermore, following these dreamlike visions, he is slowly changing as a person with perhaps slightly different priorities now. These visions lead to him realising who his ultimate arch enemy is. (Do people still have arch enemies these days?) In this already information brimming book, we also find out about the early days of the Red Queen, Silent Sister and Blue Lady which relates to the start of The Red Queen's War and gives insight to who is on which side of this Chess Game of potential destruction, what each master of the pieces hopes to obtain and also where the players currently find themselves. I thought this story was great, the ending, the character building and the set up for The Wheel of Osheim are expertly composed. I do rank this slightly lower than the first because Prince of Fools was full of nonstop often comical action and it was a new approach for writing fantasy and how to present a hero. This seems deeper and I think the final tale will benefit from the direction Mark is taking. Highly recommended. Check out >> www.youandibooks.wordpress.com

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-02-18 16:56

    5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/06/05/b...It’s official; The Liar’s Key is probably my favorite work by Mark Lawrence to date, surpassing even my love for the entire Broken Empire trilogy. It’s also stronger than its predecessor Prince of Fools, which I rated highly as well, but I was never able to shake the feeling that the first book of Prince Jalan’s adventures was still missing a little something – it didn’t read as fluidly as it could have, perhaps. However, The Liar’s Key charges out the gate at full speed and never once does it falter. Chalk it up to the story finding its stride in the second book, but I found this one went a lot more smoothly.The story picks up again in the port town of Trond, where Jalan and the two Vikings Snorri and Tuttugu have spent the winter after their harrowing journey to the Black Fort. But as the ice retreats, Snorri grows restless to be on the move again, driven by his personal mission to bring his slain wife and children back to the world of the living. He holds Loki’s Key, a magical key said to have the power to open any lock – even the one on death’s door.But such a powerful item attracts its fair share of attention. Others seek Loki’s Key, including the Dead King, agent of the Lady Blue who has sent her assassins, necromancers and armies of undead to dog Jalan and his companions every step of the way in her war against the Red Queen, Jalan’s indomitable grandmother. In this field full of power players, Jalan and Snorri suspect that the two of them are merely lowly pawns on a game board, yet they do what they must, even if it means heading knowingly into danger.Consequently, I watched as the story barreled forth with both the inevitability and heart-stopping rush of a runaway tank. I could not peel my eyes away. As our adventurers travel south towards their goal, they pick up two more companions – a witch named Kara and an orphan boy named Hennan – to complete their party and join the quest. Their motivations range from ambition to loyalty, with the exception of Jalan, who was unwillingly bound to Snorri’s fate since the very beginning (even as he keeps telling himself he’s only along for the ride to escape massive gambling debts and the legions of angry brothers, fathers, and husbands of the women he’s bedded back home).Many reviewers have contrasted Jalan to Jorg Ancrath, the protagonist of Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy, stating that the two of them are completely different. That’s because they really are, but in this book, I began to see some similarities, not least of all is that fact they are actually both quite disgusting and despicable human beings, just in different ways. That didn’t stop me from enjoying Jalan’s character though, embracing him in a way that I never managed with Jorg. Prince of Fools was an aptly named first novel because Jal is a fool indeed, albeit a very charming, lovable one. He’s the best kind of protagonist; for all his unsportsmanlike behaviors, Jalan’s internal dialogue provides an endless amount of entertainment. This series maintains its much lighter, more humorous tone because of it.At first, I was convinced that Jal wasn’t going to change, that he would remain the kind of rakish, dandy self-serving cad who would throw a woman into the path of an angry horde or use a child as a human shield (both of which he considered doing in the course of this story. Seriously, I never want to find myself in a position where I’d have to depend on someone like him to have my back). But Lawrence is a master of characterization. We do get to see growth in Jalan, a gradual and thoughtful journey that sees him maturing and growing more courageous (well, to a point, of course – this is Jal we’re talking about). We witness a change in Snorri at the same time as well, though he’s lost a bit of his fire in his case, burdened by what happened to his family and the knowledge of what he must do. I found a great irony in this, since the Viking is the light-sworn one where Jalan is the dark, and yet we see the prince become enlightened while the Viking retreats into his gloom. Regardless of how I took to these changes, I was amazed to see how incredibly well these two characters evolved, and yet they still continue to play off each other very well. Bringing Tuttugu, Kara and Hennan into the fold did nothing to throw off the momentum, and instead added a boatload of new and exciting dynamics.The Liar’s Key is the kind of sequel every reader dreams about. The story is riveting and superbly well-constructed, just one reason why Mark Lawrence’s writing is such a force to be reckoned with. A pure blend of dark magic and adventure, this book launches Jalan’s saga to a whole new level. It unlocks a whole slew of secrets from his past, raising the stakes for everyone involved. Perhaps my only quibble is the ending and how fast we blew through it, but that’s not even really a true quibble because even now I suspect I only felt this way because I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t want it to be over. I have to say I felt that cruel cliffhanger like a punch in the gut, but now I simply cannot wait until the third book comes out.

  • Petros Triantafyllou
    2019-02-21 15:58

    Mark Lawrence never fails to surprise me. Five books in the same universe, at the same chronical period, and yet you never get bored of it. He keeps creating plot after plot, layer after layer of political machinations, all eventually combined or intertwined, and proceeds to blow your mind.“Still, children hope in ways adults find hard to imagine. They carry their dreams before them, fragile, in both arms, waiting for the world to trip them.” The general plot arc of The Liar's Key was exactly what i was expecting. A path followed by the protagonists, giving both to them & to the readers a solid foundation to carry on into their ultimate goal. Throughout the book there is a feeling of impending disaster, while there're enough new elements to keep your interest, but not so many that you get overwhelmed or confused. This, together with the propulsive narrative and imagery that is constantly turning stark, morbid, nostalgic & subtly threatening, comes together to create an epos. Less than 15 days till the release of The Wheel of Osheim. If you haven't picked up this trilogy already, now is the time!You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/

  • Aristea
    2019-03-11 11:01

    This book was worth every second I spent on it. It is an impressive continuation of Prince of Fools.What I liked the most about it was the addition of the flashback. I could not wait to know more about the Red Queen and I was so thirsty for that knowledge. The book really works on the balance between Jalal and Snorri with a couple of new additions (view spoiler)[ and Tuttugu, until his death, a very difficult moment for me really(hide spoiler)].Hennan is an amazing, clever, scarred and funny little boy and I am looking forward to understand what will happen to him in the third book. Kara was the female strong addition - besides the Red Queen - and I thought it was an extremely successful character. Not only it helped in highlighting Jal's flaws (and very short comings) but she was an amazing addition to the party. Let me also point out that the witches in this book area amazing and scary at the same time. There is one more highlight. It is an impressive book especially if you consider how Mark Lawrence managed to intertwine the Christian aspects of this book and the significant presence of Norse mythology. I thought it is a decision executed superbly and the results pay off. So all in all, I cannot wait to read The Wheel of Osheim!

  • Conor
    2019-02-22 16:41

    This was an enjoyable read with great world-building, exciting adventures and intriguing stuff going on behind the scenes that was somewhat frustrated by my issues with the protagonist. The world-building really took off in this one after some promising signs in the first book. I really liked how the current state of the world is set against the back-drop of the fallout from a nuclear war (the "day of a thousand suns") and how civilization is shown to have been slowly and painfully re-built. I also liked how the central conflict between the Lady Blue and the Red Queen was further developed and we got more information about the 2 sides and what they want. It was also cool that some of the mysteries from the previous books were answered (such as Jalan's mother's death, which was shown as part of a really cool flashback sequence) while some more were left to be answered in the next book (who the hell is Taproot, the mysterious circus owner). I kind of wish that the central conflict and dynastic struggles had received more screen time in favour of all of the journeying and adventures. While the adventures were mostly entertaining they were nowhere near as compelling as the plotting and scheming that is supposed to determine the fate of the world. My main problem with this book, and my only major complaints, was with the protagonist Jalan. At first I thought it was really cool that the main character was such a knobhead as I'm a big fan of anti-heroes and I was looking forward to seeing what kind of interesting dynamics such an unusual main character would open up. But after 2 books I've gradually gotten sick of the sole POV character being a 2-D caricature of selfishness, cowardice and general dickishness without any meaningful character development. He's gone from having great potential as a unique character, to interesting, to amusing, to tolerable to advance the story to making continuing the book a struggle. I normally love reading about anti-heroes (and probably sympathize with them more than I should) but Jal always annoyed me. It reminds me of a debate I saw one time about whether you'd rather have prime Randy Moss or Terrell Owens on your team. I went with TO instinctively because I never liked Moss's taking plays off attitude but one of the lads in the debate pointed out that while Moss might sometimes be lazy and that could effect morale to some extent he was never the huge disruptive force in a locker room TO was (not quite sure how to tie this analogy in right now, but I get the feeling it's important somehow...). A lot of anti-heroes might be objectively "worse" than Jal but I'll always instinctively prefer a guy who does terrible things for at least somewhat good reasons (revenge, as the only way to stop worse people ) to Jal who has just been a petty dickwad for 2 books now . For example in "The Searchers" (which I just watched over the Chistmas) John Wayne's character is a bitter, abrasive racist who seems more concerned with killing Indians than rescuing his niece...but he's also brave, capable and determined and he's motivated by a genuine (if twisted) love for his family and sense of honour so despite all of his failings I still felt sympathy and admiration for him. In comparison Jal is a painfully shallow character and the only emotions I've felt towards him after about 800 pages are annoyance and distaste. Back on the bright side the cast of secondary characters was much stronger than in the previous book. Tuttugu the cowardly but loyal Viking was a really entertaining and sympathetic character, ((view spoiler)[ and his death was both shocking and horrific(hide spoiler)]) Kara the Northern witch was a strong, interesting character who was well written and her mysterious goals added a sense of tension to the journey and the Red Queen was really well developed through a series of awesome flashbacks (which were probably the highlight of the book) which showed the events that forged her into who she has become and showed her motivation for fighting (and her ruthless commitment to winning) her war. On the downside Princess Serah and Jal's love interest Lisa DeVeer who were both built up a lot in the previous book to seemingly become important characters in this series were abruptly dropped, also Snorri remained a Viking Gary Stu who was boringly perfect throughout the book.Overall this was an enjoyable read with great world-building, an awesome (if under-used) main plot and a cast of interesting characters that has done a good job of expanding this series and setting up the conclusion to this trilogy. I'm really psyched to see what happens in book 3.

  • TS Chan
    2019-03-13 13:46

    July 2016: Buddy (re)read with my fantasy-loving friends at BB&B! Home-there's a magic word. I hadn't fully appreciated it on my first return but this time I would be going home the rich and conquering hero and I'd damn well enjoy it. After all, did I not say: I'm a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play or bravery.Consistency! That's the finest virtue a man can possess. Somebody famous said that. Famous and wise. And if they didn't then they damned well should have. Jalan Kendeth is definitely one of my favourite first person POVs. -------------------------------------------Sept 2015:**An audiobook review**That was probably the first ever cliffhanger ending that had me laughing out loud, in part of course due to Tim Gerard Reynold's on point narrative delivery. The Liar's Key is pretty much all about Prince Jalan, way much more than in the Prince of Fools where Snorri's back story and character development also formed a decent part of the book. Just as we had a glimmer of Jalan's hidden complexities in the first book, this instalment took our loveable scoundrel's character development even further. Brave. Cowardly. Generous. Selfish. It's almost as if he were two people..Mark Lawrence did not turn the cowardly yet serendipitously 'almost heroic' (sometimes) Prince Jalan into an honourable warrior all of sudden. And thank goodness for that, for that will be quite a turn-off.. and boring! Jal continues to delight with his hilarious, self-deprecating, honest-to-goodness internal monologue. Very often times in fact, trying to justify his nobler actions by highlighting the beneficial effects of such an action. The lilting prose in which Mark Lawrence delivers such a monologue coupled with Tim Gerard Reynold's superb voice acting resulted in many, many hours of pure entertainment. There're just too many quotable gems to share in my status updates or here in my review. Throw away too much of your past and you abandon the person who walked those days. When you pare away at yourself you can reinvent, that's true enough, but such whittling always seems to reveal a lesser man, and promises to leave you with nothing at the end.A pretty significant part of Jalan's past (and that of the Red Queen's) was fleshed out in this sequel; including the event that probably precipitated his tendencies for blanking out unpleasantness. These 'flashbacks' provided context to the extent of the Red Queen's War, Jalan's true lineage, and also finally introducing us to the enigmatic Lady Blue. The two new prominent characters travelling with Jalan and Snorri, i.e. Kara and Hennan, were also memorable in their own right. Although at times I felt that they seemed to serve as fodder to Jalan's character development more than anything else within the plot, particularly Hennan. In spite of the humour, however, this is by no means light-hearted fantasy. There were a few truly heart-wrenching scenes, disturbing displays of necromancy and a pervasive sense of darkness surrounding the Broken Empire. And of course, plenty of references to Jorg Ancrath here too. The Liar's Key is a much longer book than Prince of Fools, and the pacing was still uneven with a lot of travelling involved even though it has a good dose of action throughout. We do finally get to witness the strange power of Loki's Key in various situations. However, the worldbuilding started to feel weird especially when Jalan ventured into Florence and the whole financial system really jars with the medieval-like setting. It is still a worthy sequel in my opinion, and regrettably now I have to wait till June next year for the finale. Lies smell sweet - the truth often stinks.

  • Mia
    2019-03-05 14:44

    The one-word review: AMAZEBALLS!The full-length review: SUPER AMAZEBALLS!I was lucky enough to win an ARC of THE LIAR’S KEY. (Oh, who am I kidding? I engaged in uncontrollable, trance-like begging, in the manner of a pathetic, grovelling type of berserker. I threatened Mark Lawrence that I would write Viking-inspired songs about him and sing them in the amalgamated style of Taylor Swift, Fifty Cent and Placido Domingo. That did it. Never underestimate the lengths a reader would go to for a beloved series.)This is the second book in the Red Queen trilogy. This review may contain unintentional spoilers for the first book. By happenstance --or perhaps someone's complex machinations-- Jal and Snorri now possess Loki's key, one said to open any and all doors. Many desire this key and would stop at nothing to get it. Some want it to rule the world, some to destroy it, others for some yet unknown purpose. Snorri intends to use the key to open Death's door and get his family back. Jal wants nothing to do with the key and its inherent dangers, wanting nothing but the resumption to his largely hedonistic lifestyle. This is problematic insofar as Jal and Snorri are still supernaturally linked and Snorri's resolve is strong as iron. The quest for Death's door leads our heroes to witches and trolls, caves and other hidden places, into doors that magically appear and disappear, even prison. But though Jal and Snorri embark on this quest of their own accord --albeit Jal less enthusiastically-- it is entirely possible that they are actually being manipulated by unseen forces. Even more dangerous is the likelihood that the door they will find opens the way to other than what they seek but rather leads to even greater peril and even destruction or, at the very least, unintended consequences. It also bears noting that the key was fashioned by Loki, trickster extraordinaire, who might be misleading everyone about its function for no reason other than his own amusement.Jal and Snorri continue to have excellent rapport-- they complement and challenge one another, continue to be the other's foil. Their new companions, Tuttugu and Kara especially, complement the pair even further. They bring out the best –and worst—in each other. All of the characters become more self-aware because of their interaction, particularly their disagreements and differences. More importantly, THE LIAR'S KEY reveals many events in Jal's past he has no recollection of, had forgotten or deliberately obfuscated. Jal gains new understanding of old events or knowledge where he previously had none. They will provide Jal with his own motivations to pursue the quest though he remains largely hesitant. Circumstances may yet make a hero of the lovable rascal. Or not, if leopards indeed can't change their spots. Only time will tell. You cannot possibly ask more of a middle book in a series. In fact, I believe THE LIAR'S KEY is a tremendous book in and of itself and better in many respects than its already laudable predecessor. The humor is sharper than Snorri's axe, more beguiling than Jal's syrupy charms, more subtle and finessed than the Silent Sister's schemes. The bit of tongue in cheek with the names of people, places and things also continues to amuse. The story proceeds swiftly yet still remains largely veiled and mysterious and the same air of mystery surrounds many characters—you can never be certain about their true intent. Finally, of course, we continue to be regaled by Mark Lawrence's lyrical prose and touching insights:On the prevalence of lies: “What if at the core, if you dug deep enough, uncovered every truth...what if at the heart of it all. .. there was a lie, like a worm at the centre of the apple, coiled like Oroborus, just as the secret of men hides coiled at the centre of each piece of you, no matter how fine you slice? Wouldn't that be a fine joke now?”“A lie can run deeper than strength or wisdom.”On the nature of man: “The world is shaped by mankind's desires and fears. A war of hope against dread, waged upon a substrate that man himself made malleable though he has long forgotten how. All men and all men's works stand on feet of clay, waiting to be formed and reformed, forged by fear into monsters from the dark core of each soul, waiting to rend the world asunder.”“A man casts a million shadows, and yet you trap him within such a singular opinion. xxx The wise come into their majority out in the world, amid the muck and pain of living.”“Throw away too much of your past and you abandon the person who walked those days. When you pare away at yourself you can reinvent, that's true enough, but such whittling always seems to reveal a lesser man, and promises to leave you nothing at the end.”On the passage of time: “Time still heals all wounds, for now. And the scars left behind are our legacy of remembrance. But pick at it and it will fester and consume you.”“The breaking of day changes all things, Snorri. Nothing endures beyond the game of the sun. Pile a sufficient weight of mornings upon a thing and it will change. Even the rocks themselves will not outlast the morning.”On the pain of loss: “Sixty beats of a heart would be enough. If I could hold them. Let them know I came for them no matter what stood in my way. It would be enough. Sixty beats of a heart past that door would outweigh sixty years in this world without them.”“Anything I had to say seemed shallow beside the depth of his grief. Words are awkward tools at best, too blunt for delicate tasks.”I was two-thirds of the way into the book on a Sunday evening. I was bug-eyed and tired yet I pressed on beyond a reasonable hour. I finished reading THE LIAR'S KEY past two o'clock in the morning. I might have mourned the lack of sleep but I would have regretted putting the book down even more. Indeed, I might have lost sleep anyway surmising its conclusion had I stopped. This book calls out to you in those moments you are constrained to put it down. Its lines haunt you long after you have noted them. It strains your patience when you reach the final page and become only too aware that a year must pass before the last book. It is THAT good. And that is no lie.

  • Emma
    2019-03-01 15:52

    I'm glad I re read this and The Prince of Fools again before starting The Wheel of Osheim. I remembered some of the story only dimly although my impressions of the main characters remained.This isn't so much a review as a few rambling thoughts before I finish the trilogy.It's interesting to compare Jorg of Ancrath with Prince Jalan. No doubt Jorg is the darkest of men, but he never pretended to be anything else. Prince Jalan is a vain fool. On this re read I found Jalan a lot more annoying. Lawrence teases us the reader glimpses of this Jalan leopard changing his spots; there is no doubt that Snorri's integrity has had an effect on Jalan, but how much? The story shows that as much as Jalan is swayed from his selfish existence by his friendship with Snorri, his path towards Improvement also seems to come by chance... But IS it chance? Or the machinations of the Red Queen and the Lady Blue?I do feel more sympathy for Jalan as more is revealed about his family history, the story of his blood, and we learn more about his mother's death. I am interested to see how the rest of the story pans out in terms of the shaping of his character through the adventure to come.On first impressions, it seems that Jorg is the more complex character, but as the story progresses, I realise Jalan is just as complex. Thus far in his life he has chosen to, and been forced to, hide his potential and depth. How much potential does he in fact have to do the right thing, to be the right person, to be the better person? Lawrence handles all this with a light touch and it is a very humorous read.

  • Bookwraiths
    2019-03-02 09:45

    Solid 3.5 stars from me.I still love Jalan, but the wandering around was a bit tiresome to me. Great conclusion though.Full review to come!

  • Gavin
    2019-02-27 10:42

    This did not quite match the first book in the Red Queen's War series in terms of quality or excitement, but it was still a very enjoyable read. Snorri has Loki's Key and is determined to use it to go through Death's Door and find his family. Jalan decides to tag along for the journey since Snorri's quest will take him past Red March. Not that the pair have escaped the war between the Red Queen and the Lady Blue. Agents of both sides seek the key for their own purposes. Like the first book this had a good mix of action and humour. Jalan was as fun as ever in this instalment, but I thought Snorri did not fare quite as well as he did in the first book. We did get a few interesting new secondary characters, the return of some familiar old faces, and a some cool glimpses into the history of the Red Queen. All in all this was a decent read that hopefully set up an exciting final instalment!Rating: 4 stars.Audio Note: Tim Gerrard Reynolds is a perfect fit for Jalan. His narration of this series is fantastic.

  • Esmerelda Weatherwax
    2019-02-16 13:54

    Oh, my. I love this book <3 The world is expanding, and new characters are introduced. I do love me some trolls :) The blood magic and flash backs that Jalan is having are fascinating, and I love Karra, Cara? (Sorry I did the audiobook so I'm not sure on spelling), is a great character. I'm coming to love Snorri more and more, although that's not particularly surprising, he was my favorite in the first book as well. I was telling myself I was going to wait a few weeks to finish this book because I was taking a few weeks break from fantasy to read some non fiction books, but I just couldn't leave this book alone. I don't even know how to describe Mark Lawrences writing style. It's "modern" but set in an "ancient" feeling world which I just adore. I can't wait to start Wheel of Oshiem! The plot is really picking up pace and I sort of have to know how this ends, like right now.

  • Liam Degnan
    2019-03-06 13:51

    Put this one down for good, I think. Honestly, I'm just really tired of Mark Lawrence's writing. I enjoyed the Broken Empire Trilogy, but even with those, the more I think about them now that I've had time, the less I like them. Mark Lawrence has basically said that he never knows what's gonna happen in his books, he just kind of writes and what happens, happens. And it really comes through in his writing, because it seems kind of careless and meandering at times - and then he just throws in a bunch of dark stuff to keep people's attention.Also I'm tired of hearing about young male character sex drives. Like, realllllyyyy freaking tired. I'm a 20 year old guy and I still feel like it's just silly and unrealistic and annoying.

  • Kyle
    2019-02-28 16:46

    If you read the first book the second is more of the same. After the advertures of the first book, Prince Jalan Kendeth and the Viking Snorri ver Snagason find themselves in the possession of Loki's key. A magic key that will open any door, and I mean any door. Jalan just wants to go home and return to his old life. Snorri wants to open the door to Hel and go find his family.Same as with the first book Jalan is not my favorite character. When the "hero's" first thought in a fight is to run I really have to wonder what the point is. In the first book, I alt least enjoyed it because Snorri provided some kick ass action but he's very much in the back ground in this installment.The overall writing is great. It's clever, funny, dramatic and suspenful when it needs to be. The only reason I don't give it five stars is the dislike I have for the main character. Guess we'll see what happens in the third book.

  • Mitriel
    2019-02-18 08:33

    Time still heals all wounds, for now. But the world grows thin around this tome as the letters light up on the pages, their magic burning bright, casting long shadows toward the black void of Osheim.As the sun is setting on the Broken Empire, shading dreams into reality, there is still a little time left for laughs, there’s still a margin for a handful of clever tricks and foolish hopes, there’s still a crack to let the last rays of joy in before it slowly closes around each step leading down to hell.The Liar’s Key swallows you in a big wave, locks you into its tale, snatching the world away. It follows the journey of Prince Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason from the village of Trond, pursued by foes, lured by enemies, with a score of deceits dancing to the beat of the key all about them, yet still finding aid in unexpected places and allies in unforeseen situations as they advance across the grand chessboard of their times and beyond.While in Prince of Fools we learned of Snorri’s family from tales which and when he decided to share with us, Jalan’s memories weave around The Liar’s Key like the hook-briar, manifesting in ways that are both unpredictable, unsafe, and wild – like magic itself. Through this twofold journey, one leading him on a perilous path south across the Empire, the other pulling him deeper into the history of the Kendeths, he learns more about his family than in all his life spent at home and we in turn learn more about him, piercing through the layers of self-deception he carefully built around his past hurts. Through this we might finally understand that despite appearances he’s not so different from Jorg Ancrath in some respect. They are both conflicted characters, growing through or around wounds painful enough to corrupt the mind, trying to keep ahead as claws of their past are catching at their ankles, dreading their own imaginations, their true nature pouring out of them only at times when fear or bitterness cannot longer stay their hearts.Mark Lawrence has a wonderful imagination which he serves on ravishing prose, expertly spiced with devilish laugh-out-loud humour. He continues to hone his skills as a writer, hooking us clean off with the prologue, weaving the storylines around us tight enough to steal reality, leaving us begging for more.***I might not be mistaken when I claim to be the only one who The Liar’s Key was handed to as a ‘required reading’ last year, when I was asked if I would read and critique the first draft of The Wheel of Osheim.Without any spoilers offered I would only say: when a book lights a fire in you, you burn its mark into the world. And as it happened, on a cold December day, I sat down at the computer and started building a whole site dedicated solely to Mark Lawrence and his works.For a name I decided on the one George R. R. Martin gave him when last summer he referred to Mark in our conversation, hence www.ThatThornGuy.com was born. But as they have it in certain far-away villages under those mysterious northern lights, this is a story to be told around the fire for another night.

  • Emma
    2019-02-25 16:59

    I'm going to have to go and say that I didn't enjoy this as much as the first. It's a long book and it felt that way right through. The journeying that was an experience I relished before now seemed unnecessarily repetitive. It took flashbacks into the past to add any genuinely new information about the characters. However, those were excellent as they focussed on Jalan, his mother, and the rise of his grandmother, the Red Queen. They were so good, in fact, that they actually overshadowed the modern plot, I'd rather have spent my time there. Sadly, these dream flashbacks on top of Jalan continually being knocked unconscious means we have less of his comedy, the spirit that made him shine so bright in the previous instalment. Even his internal conversations about personal cowardice were halfhearted and routine. That's not to say that I lost all my love for the character, the ending sequence was an aggressive return to form, Jalan's words and actions worthy of Loki himself, and brought a smile right back to my face. Even if he lost me a bit in the beginning, and the middle, I trust Mark Lawrence to never let me get to the end without an overwhelming desire to read the next book immediately. On I go...

  • Milo (BOK)
    2019-02-21 08:43

    The Review: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c....The Red Queen has set her players on the board...Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld -- so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.The Red Queen’s War Trilogy is quickly shaping up to be just as strong as the previous Broken Empire novels by Mark Lawrence as The Liar’s Key is a fantastic second entry in the trilogy, which will not disappoint fans of the previous novel as Lawrence continues the adventures of Jalan Kendeth and warrior companion Snorri ver Snagason. Two books in and it’s reminding me very much of the Gotrek & Felix Warhammer Fantasy series, but in a very good way indeed because both are fantastic. We are reintroduced to our characters in the aftermath of their journey to the Black Fort, and Snorri is restless. He wants to get back into the game to search for his wife and children to bring them back to the world of the living, and he now has a means to an end, Loki’s Key. Now all he needs to do is find the door to the afterlife, which is going to be more difficult in practice than on paper.The quest continues in The Liar’s Key with the addition of two new interesting companions who help shake up the main cast dynamic and keep it fresh. Joining Jalan and Snorri are Kara and Hennan, latecomers who are a witch and an orphan boy respectively. It makes for a nice lineup especially with the fact that the four characters all have their own reasons for being there, and the interactions between the cast is handled well as Lawrence gives them plenty to do.I mentioned earlier the comparison to Gotrek & Felix, and both share a similar approach that makes both series feel very much like old school fantasy novels with quests as their backdrop (although obviously the motivations for each character are different, Gotrek wants to die a warrior’s death as a Slayer, whilst Snorri wants to find his family in the afterlife), and both are quite fun to read, and I couldn’t put them down while reading them. The Liar’s Key is its own unique beast though, offering an interesting, compelling approach that’s fresh and exciting. Lawrence knows how to keep the reader engaged and this book feels more confident and engrossing than the previous book, and with a fascinating backdrop, we just can’t help but read on.The characters continue to be so rich and compelling, and easy to get behind and support. Both Jalan and Snorri are flawed and make for well-rounded characters that have some excellent interactions throughout the book and Jalan’s narration is just as good as in the previous novel. The Liar’s Key itself has a grimdark feel despite the old school focus on a quest, but those who aren’t necessarily a fan of the darker approach shouldn’t be put off by the contents within this book. There’s enough there to satisfy everyone, and fans of the previous novel should certainly welcome a second outing.VERDICT: 9.5/10

  • samantha(books-are-my-life20)
    2019-02-20 08:46

    Mark Lawrence does an amazing job creating a likeable antiheroes who have few redeeming characteristics, especially in comparison to the "knights in shining armor" who populate so much of epic fantasy. Great read!

  • Ivan
    2019-03-02 11:46

    Hello, my name is Nightflier and I'm an addict.The sad truth is that I don't feel happy if I do not read. I am not productive, I can barely work and my hands start to shake. Fortunately or not, my job is to read - and after that to translate what I read. The trouble is that even when I become lost in translation for hours at a time, I still must greet the next day by reading a book. Over the past decade or so I've read thousands of novels, so I've become jaded and rare is the book that can tickle me and draw me in its world, making me loose my sleep or even work hours.Yeah, well, The Liar's Key is one of those books, Gods damn you to Nine Hells, Mark Lawrence! Give me back my 4 nights without any sleep! (Just kidding. Give me the third book, like, right now! :) )So, anyway, The Liar's Key marks significant improvement in both storytelling and writing skills of it's author. I might've mentioned this, but Lawrence reminds me of Jim Butcher in this way. His first novels were a bit shaky, but extremely interesting story-wise, although the world was depicted in broad strokes only, and characters were a bit simply built. As the story progressed, Lawrence became bolder, his writing more defined and his language more lyrical, defining his prose and differentiating it from the style of Joe Abercrombie or Richard Morgan.At the beginning of his second trilogy those skills seem to have matured and Lawrence has grown into a writer with a sharply-defined style and his world grew with him. We see a lot more of the Broken Empire and in greater detail. His characters are more nuanced and although they seemingly have simple motivations, they are fully developed personalities with a lot of shades of light and dark in them. In fact, for his two main characters, quite literally.The Liar's Key is not as big of a jump in quality when compared to the Prince of Fools as in comparison with the first trilogy. It's more like an evolution, which is another thing that tells us that Lawrence has matured as an author. The Key is less clunky in the parts which were clunky in the first novel, and more smooth in the parts that were smooth before, so I mark that as an improvement, but in a way it was an expected improvement. The last third of the book has some issues, though. To be honest, it's almost like the book ends at one point and then simply goes on. That last part seems to be artificially welded to the first part of the novel and although the ending manages to tie a lot of loose ends, it seems a bit forced and strained. But that very well may be a consequence of me reading way beyond my bed time and deciding to finish the book and read to 4 am instead of going to sleep at midnight. So, as a passionate reader, I have very much enjoyed reading this one, and I would love to translate it someday. The Liar's Key is a novel that I sincerely recommend to you.

  • Mayim De Vries
    2019-02-22 10:41

    Welcome to May-nority corner of unpopular opinion. I know that Red Queen's War is loved and rates highly, but I have issues with this book… No actually, I have issues with Jalan. Fool of a prince who in the first part of the series brought me as close to polyandry as I will ever get and in the present installment morphed into a sort of an ugly princeling of worst sorts. Jalan was never meant to be Mr. Perfect, to the contrary all his charm depended on being a cowardly, selfish and opportunist scion of a mighty family. But he was swept away by the forces of destiny and hauled across the continent pursuing things much greater than his hunger for wealth and sloth and licentious behavior. He was paired with somebody whose integrity could outshine a supernova. He experienced before-and-after life changing moments and you want to convince me Mr. Lawrence that he remained unscathed, just as he was and if he changed then only becoming more of what he’d been before? Not credible! No. I am not buying it. In the Liar’s Key Jalan changes from amusing to intolerable to plain stupid. And stupid in my vocabulary is synonymous with annoying. It means that I was angry when reading, and an angry reading affects the rating. The only episode concerning Jalan I liked was the caricature of Hero’s Return Home. That was superbly done. And the ‘always-take-the-money’ moment, equally brilliant. Generally, Liar’s Key is built of small bits of genius woven together with fine writing. Aside from Jal, the book is everything it should be, the adventures, the flashbacks, the understories, the mysteries of secondary characters who turn out to be of primary importance, the world-building, the signs of doom and the hopes for escaping it – you will find in Liar’s Key this and a lot more. I wish it had a strong female figure I could associate myself with (other than the Red Queen that is), but perhaps for that I shall have to wait for The Wheel of Osheim.2,5Other books in the series: Prince of FoolsThe Wheel of Osheim

  • Molly
    2019-02-28 10:52

    Lawrence did it again! I love this book."BANG. BANG. BANG.This whole nightmare had started with Astrid pounding on my door, dragging me from a good dream. Every part of my return had been about the opening of one door or another. It had been a mistake to open that first door too. I should have stayed in bed.And yet . . . "In book two we find Jal where we left him with Snorri and Tuttugu; at the Three Axes in Trond ... trying to make the best of the situation at hand ... with Astrid, Edda, Hedwig and a number of other (wed and unwed) local ladies. Tsk, tsk, Jal. Broken Ice or not, Vermillion or Trond, you're still the same.When the ladies in question find about each other, hell breaks loose, and Jal reluctantly accompanies Snorri (already departing south with Loki's key) and Tuttugu on another adventure .... but, hey, maybe everything will be great ... he will arrive home and find the lovely Lisa DeVeer (and her fiery sisters), and live off the stories of his heroic adventures and voyages... yes, yes, great plan. What could go wrong? Right?I always compare Jal with Jorg from the Broken Empire series (Do I even have to write from which series?). Jorg is my favorite fictional character for more than a year now ( Yeah, I know how he is ... I don't care), so Jal is somehow always on the losing end when comparing the two. They are totally different on almost every front except on one ... they don't change too much in character through the books .... and I like it.In The Liar's Key we see that Jal is still doesn't throw the anchor in just one port....Some vague recollection of high-pitched screaming and shouting . . . a memory of being kicked whilst on the floor . . . a glimpse through slitted eyes of two women leaving arm in arm, one petite, pale, young, the other tall, golden, maybe thirty. Neither looked back.... serves you right.... he still prefers to abandon ship“Right then!” I gave the smallest of bows. “Honor is served. Let’s go kill some Slavs!” And I led off in the opposite direction to the one in which I’d heard the clash of swordplay."... he sets a bad example to the young ones“Always take the money, kid. Bankable advice, that."... he constantly nags about ...♠ transportation..“So, where’s our boat?” Snorri looked confused. “You’re in it.” “I mean the proper-sized one that’s taking us south.” Scanning the waves I could see no sign of the larger vessel I presumed we must be aiming to rendezvous with. Snorri’s mouth took on a stiff-jawed look as if I’d insulted his mother. “You’re in it.” “Oh come on . . .” I faltered beneath the weight of his stare. “We’re not seriously crossing the sea to Maladon in this rowboat are we?♠ weatherThe night can last twenty hours and even when the day finally breaks it never gets above a level of cold I call “fuck that”—as in you open the door, your face freezes instantly to the point where it hurts to speak, but manfully you manage to say “fuck that,” before turning round, and going back to bed.(or both)We moved more slowly, struggling to extract any use from each lungful of scalding, over-moist air, and sweating water faster than a man could piss it away.♠ clothing or facial hair fashion... clan Olaaf grew the most impressive facial hair I’d yet seen. Many favoured the bushy explosions that look like regular beards subjected to sudden and very shocking news.♠ villages and towns (no matter what country)Olaafheim stank of fresh fish, sweat, stale fish, sewers, rotting fish, and uncured hides."♠ witches and such“Every fortune teller I ever met was a faker. First thing you should do to a soothsayer is poke them in the eye and say, ‘didn’t see that coming did you?”♠ he knows no shame (or very little)I’m only a little ashamed to say I outsprinted the boy. Old habits die hard. It’s good to be faster than what’s chasing you, but really the important thing in running away is to be faster than the slowest of those being pursued. Rule number one: be ahead of the next man. Or child..... and still, I like him that way because...In the end when push comes to shove he (even if reluctantly) delivers“The boy started to throw stones out into the water, as boys do…A few moments later I picked up a loose stone and lobbed it over Hannan’s head, out across the lake. The question was never if I would throw a stone, just when.”... and make us forget about his usually unmanly ways...so little to make us happy (we poor saps).Anyway, I'd find it annoying if he was one of those righteous, re-born through adversity characters. They get boring pretty soon.In book two we finally get some strong female characters, that know how to navigate (and rule) in a world where men are dominant and not just the pretty, lustful noble or pheasant girls that Jalan gets to "wrestle" around.One of them is Kara, Skilfar's apprentice ... a young witch with a sharp knife and an even sharper tongue ...“In the north we call that a little prick,” Kara replied, not looking over from her place at the tiller. (still snickering) She seems to have plans of her own, and I'm sure we will see more of her in the future. The other one is the Red Queen, Jalan's grandmother which we get to know in a series of flashbacks as a young no-nonsense princess “She stands scarlet head to toe, blood arcing from her blade, flying from her hair as she turns. Blood paints her trail through the camp. Even now she must seem a blur, moving with inhuman speed and leaving dead men toppling in her wake." ... together with the young Silent Sister and uncle Garyus.As in Prince of Fools there were a bunch of delicious Broken Empire cameos, Some repeated like Sageous, Taproot (his younger self) and Hakon (Oh, how I laughed when he crossed paths with Jalan again), some new like Ekatri, Gorgoth, Marco the Florentine banker, and Yusuf Malendra.And the ending ... loved it!By the last line I was.... AND THEN I REALIZED THAT THE NEXT ONE IS OUT.... WAAAAIT FOR IT... JUNE 2016. AAAARGH!!so my happy smile changed to this..Now I need to chill, or I'll go...“Come with me, brother!” Snorri started to stride down the hall like a man with purpose. “We’ll open death’s door and carry Hell to them. The sagas will tell of it. The dead rose up against the living and two men chased them back across the river of swords. Beside our legend Beowulf’s saga will be a tale for children!"Heh.

  • Bob Milne
    2019-03-05 08:41

    Wow, talk about a lot of pressure going into a book. Due to delays with Canada Customs and Canada Post, I was late (really late) getting my copy of The Liar's Key. By the time I cracked the spine I was already aware of a slew of 5-star reviews, and even if I tried to avoid reading them beforehand, I still knew many readers who were calling this Mark Lawrence's best work to date.Yeah, as if my own expectations weren't already high enough!The thing is, early on, I will admit to a few shadows of doubt. It's a bigger book than the first, in terms of both scope and page count, and I felt like the first half of it dragged on a bit too long. I still enjoyed it, but I found it slowly losing that can't-put-down, must-read impetus I remembered from his other novels. By the time I hit the halfway mark a week later, with Jal and Snorri going their separate ways, I actually put it down for a few days.Of course, this is Mark Lawrence, and I knew that my pause wouldn't be an extended one. Call it an intermission (if you will) or a palate cleanser (if you must), but a few days later I picked it back up . . . and blew through the second half in 2 days. Yes, even if I have to stop shy of calling it his best - Prince of Fools will hold onto that coveted spot for at least a little while longer - it was still a fantastic read that turned out to be just as good as anything in the Broken Empire trilogy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the final 100 pages rival anything he's written before, with a climax that may not be quite as frenzied or action-packed as in the previous books, but which is infinitely more dramatic, and entirely satisfying on so many levels.Oddly enough, for a book that I expected to be very much about Snorri and his quest to bring his family back from Hell, this is entirely Jal's story. In fact, Snorri is almost relegated to a background character here, overshadowed by the likes of Tuttugu, Kara, and Hennan. While they're all great characters, each with their own legitimate roles to play in the overall drama, they're most effective in illuminating some of the more noble (and inconvenient) aspects of Jal's character. As much as he likes to style himself "a liar and a cheat and a coward," we see him slowly evolve through those relationships, fighting against his better side every step of the way.At the same time, his blood-fueled magical flashbacks both expose his heart and scar his spirit, revealing the truth about his mother, the Red Queen, the Silent Sister, Edris Dean, and more. Whereas Lawrence has always used flashbacks to enhance the story, here he tells a significant chunk of it through those dreams. They don't always make sense in the moment, and it's hard to see exactly where they're going, but when the pieces all fall into place, it's magnificent. The moment when Jal realizes the truth of his family legacy, and just how it plays into the Dead King's schemes, is definitely one of the strongest, most impactful scenes Lawrence has ever written.Of course, Jal's growth does nothing to absolve him of his more selfish thoughts, and those deeper revelations do nothing to interrupt his sarcastic, self-serving, narrative voice. Simply put, he's a fun guy to listen to, especially when he's whining and complaining about his fate. Even in the first half of the book, where I felt the pacing dragged, Jal's voice was sufficient to keep me coming back. As for the climax, it's that voice, and his own internal monologue, that drive so much of the final scenes. It's powerful stuff, and really serves to strip him bare and reveal the truth of his character, even as it brings the key plotlines of this volume to a close.One final word on The Liar's Key - that final paragraph, those last 27 words, may very well be the greatest cliffhanger I've ever read. I gasped, I laughed, and I threw my first in the air, ready for the promise of The Wheel of Osheim to come.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Tammy
    2019-03-18 15:32

    4.5 Stars. Another amazing book by Mark Lawrence.I loved Jalan as a character in this book, he is truly fun to read and his development was a joy to see. Jalan is a liar, a cheat, a gambler, a womanizer and a self proclaimed professional coward. As a result the man has boundless talents for running away from danger, he'll do anything to stay alive, sacrifice anyone as long as he escapes harm. The fact that he is not restricted by 'rules' such as loyalty, heroism or morality makes his job even easier. It was fun to see him slowly change and at the same time not recognize that change and therefore resist it. Over and over again. We also get a better view of the bigger players in the game such as Skilfar, Kelem, The Blue Lady, The Silent Sister, Garyrus and Sageous. Also Loki, Aslaug and Baraquel. Then we have Jalans companions; Snorri, a pleasure to read as usual, Tuttugu of the Undoreth. Kara, a volva and Hennan, a young peasant from the north. Jalan's visions of the past was well handled and I think necessary as it gave us a few important revelations, answering some questions in the process. This book was noticeably darker than its predecessor and yet filled with comedy. I loved it and will be reading Wheel of Oshiem soon.

  •  Charlie - A Reading Machine
    2019-02-22 14:51

    You know when you spend a silly amount of time setting the mood for someone that is special to you. You experiment with the lighting to make sure it is just perfect, maybe light a candle so the room fills with the luscious scents of vanilla and coconut and then you put some music on and pour a drink and settle into your favourite chair. Sound familiar?I did all that before sitting down to read The Liar’s Key. I know it’s a bit bonkers but that’s what you do when you’ve been anticipating something special for a long time and I wanted to do the equivalent of taking this book out for a nice meal so it got its due appreciation.So I’m in my chair and I’ve got a mylar backing on the cover so my filthy human hands wont desecrate the wondrous pages before me and I open up my book.Firstly, Mark has taken the wonderful, if unusual, step of including a few bullet points at the start to bring us up to speed. All the important bits and pieces are covered so that those that have read 20+ fantasy books involving men on a mission since Prince of Fools came out needn’t worry about mixing up any facts. High five.How I missed Jalan and Snorri. There was an immediate sense of comfort stepping back into Jalan’s hilarious, self-deprecating, internal monologue. He rarely takes things too seriously or too personally, even when caught in a four-way love mess, and when he is inevitably beaned with a stool, he still traipses around with an ‘I probably should have seen that coming’ attitude. This light hearted approach is so endearing and also allows him to get away with saying and doing some incredibly dodgy stuff because the reader knows he approaches both sides of the coin in the same manner and prides himself on his ability to see the grey in all situations.“I’m not one for murder. But if a whole bunch of my cousins fell off a cliff I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.”This is not say he is this casual with the prospect of death all the time, especially his own. He flirts with unknown feelings of concern for someone weaker than himself then prides himself on his ability to outrun that person in a dangerous situation. You never know what you’re going to get with Jalan but I feel like I know what we’ll get in the end.“The boy started to throw stones out into the water, as boys do…A few moments later I picked up a loose stone and lobbed it over Hannan’s head, out across the lake. The question was never if I would throw a stone, just when.”Jalan is just a boy and sees himself as such, even when it becomes clear that he may have incredible potential whether earned or ordained. Yes he sees himself as a Prince too and believes he is entitled to almost anything he wants but he has no grand designs on taking over the world and would be quite happy with a big pile of money and women and drink to spend it on. One might say that having fairly base desires allows him to see the lighter side of life and it’s something that Snorri, having experienced so much of the darker side, needs; to keep him human.“The breaking of day changes all things, Snorri. Nothing endures beyond the count of the sun. Pile a sufficient weight of mornings upon a thing and it will change. Even the rocks themselves will not outlast the morning.”Mark has also given Jalan a natural affinity with horses. It’s not a necessary gift but one that bestows upon him something special. Horses are the most noble of animals and if, as a race, they seem to trust Jalan, and he them, it says an extraordinary amount about his inner character, something perhaps a beast can sense better than most men can see.The magical link the binds Jalan and Snorri has weakened somewhat with the passing of time but not enough to allow them to completely separate and as the Viking heads out on his quest to find Death’s door and free his family from its cold embrace, Jalan is compelled to follow. Jalan is also now dealing with the machinations of Aslaug as the dark side of the force looks to corrupt him, his trust with Snorri and the objectives of their mission.“Don’t trust the light Prince Jalan. The stars are pretty but the space between them is infinite and black with promise.”Jalan is so vivid and completely realised I often found myself wondering how he would fair in other books and series. Whilst he’d be expelled and wind up a career money lender in the world of Rothfuss, I don’t think he could last long in the world of Abercrombie, some named man would chop his head off after about 20 seconds before he had time to go beserker. He could easily exist in the Game of Thrones and would be an interesting alternative to pretty much every other blonde in the series. The thought of Jalan, Tyrion and Bronn going on a quest of some sort would be an R rated example I think we’d all love to see, particularly because it seems they get all the best lines.“Every fortune teller I ever met was a faker. First thing you should do to a soothsayer is poke them in the eye and say, ‘didn’t see that coming did you?”Snorri is a bit like a slow moving freight train. There is no huge character development because Snorri has done all that. He knows who and what he is and like a force of nature moves through the world in a different way than most men. We are also introduced to Kara, witch in training and Hennen, future decent human being, who join the group on the quest to find Hell’s door. They are fun and interesting and provide Jalan with some different things to bounce off which is handy considering the brick wall of focus that Snorri is.In terms of dialogue and exposition Lawrence has a masterful turn of phrase turning the mundane into the majestic with every paragraph littered with quotable tidbits.“I couldn’t find it in myself to be sorry for the plight of the persecuted troll. Maybe if they were more fluffy.”The hardest part about reading this book is that you will feel compelled to spend much of your time rereading passages simply to let the words wash over you again and again. You will laugh constantly at Jalan’s internal musings, cheekiness and irrepressible attempts at charm just as often as you will nod quietly in agreement upon hearing Snorri’s wisdom or find yourself smile softly at yet another of Tuttugu’s display of friendship and loyalty.Flush with rich and memorable characters it is fantastic to finally see some of the guts of The Red Queen as being one of them. It’s her war after all and I don’t remember much of her in The Prince of Fools at all so seeing some of her origins and how she forged her reputation really adds a great deal of context. We also get more of Lady Blue, Jalan’s family and see a great deal of the Broken Empire itself. Perhaps it’s the difference in overall tone but I feel I absorb and take in more of the world seeing it through Jalan’s eyes as opposed to Jorg’s. It’s not quite as dark and heavy and where it approaches those limits we are invariably treated to Lawrence’s wry and wicked sharp sense of humour to keep the shadows at bay, a little more so than in the Thorns series.Lawrence has done it again, providing his fans with a dark and inescapably fun ride. Prepare to lurch from laugh out loud hilarity to gut wrenching sadness, from casual disregard for fellow human beings to witnessing sacrifices that will break your heart as Mark gives us a perfect second book that, just like Jalan, is far more faceted that most. I’m already looking forward to starting it again.

  • Lee
    2019-03-18 12:59

    Whilst I am really looking forward to book three and seeing how this story plays out, I was a little disappointed with The Liar's Key. Overall my expectations are 'not quite' being met. But you have to put that into context on what I expect from Lawrence, which is much higher than other authors. The characters are once again a great read, I loved how the light and dark influences effect Jalen's thoughts and the relationship with Snorry, whilst not as detailed as book one, is still a fine read. So where was it not so great for me? The story told seemed a bit, drawn out, very much a travel to town, get drunk, bonk a local lass, sprint to the docks, hop in a boat and sail to the next town. Where it all happened again. The whole story is about getting the key to the door and to me, it felt like I was playing Skyrim, you know where you walk between towns, and find a cave, go in, fight, come out, find another cave etc etcHowever, I do believe that is now set up for a HUGE book three! Fingers crossed.

  • Twerking To Beethoven
    2019-03-16 16:33

    It's kind of late, alright. What was I to say? Oh yes, the ending is one bastard of a cliffhanger, nevertheless "The Liar's Key" is a five-shining-star book. Aye, five stars indeed. Not only is the story amazing as usual... also, let's be honest, Mark Lawrence gets the job done and hasn't yet pulled a Rothfuss/Martin schtick on us.So, anyway, I might be back in the next days in order to write a proper review. In case I don't (which is very likely), know I enjoyed this novel heaps. Otherwise I wouldn't have rated it five stars, would I? Oh boy, do I suck as a reviewer, hey.Quote: "There’s a thing about being stuck between fear and pride, even though you know fear will win in the end it seems impossible to let go of the pride. So I stood there frozen, my face a rictus grin, the key trembling in my fist as if eager."

  • Jesper
    2019-02-19 12:49

    Funny as hell one-liners, a creepy key, lots of walking, a little tougher prince but still chicken = good shit!! On to The Wheel of Osheim

  • Chris Berko
    2019-02-21 09:57

    Amazing story. I love the parts with the Red Queen, at any age she is a compelling character but her as a teenager during the siege was mindblowing.

  • Holden Johnson
    2019-02-21 12:35

    Fantastic book. I'm pretty biased, because I love all of Mark Lawrence's books, however this one was just great. Better than Prince of Fools, and I absolutely loved that one as well...If there's one thing that I love about Mark Lawrences writing, it's actually two things;His characters never sway from who they truly are. They are true to themselves, always.He is a master of metaphors. Seriously, some of the stuff he compares, I never would have though up in a million years.Thank you for another great tale Mark. Onto the Wheel of Osheim!