Scott Bakker’s The Prince of Nothing is the first trilogy I read since Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring. I only started reading it because a friend recommended it to me. Well after a few breaks (I think I read like 4 or 5 other books in between), I finally finished The Prince of Nothing.
Truthfully when I first started The Darkness That Comes Before, I had no idea what I was reading. The series is labeled fantasy, but I saw no monsters or the use of magic that I was so accustomed to seeing in fantasy.
This, however, was not the reason I disliked The Darkness That Comes Before. I just wasn’t smart enough to understand what was happening. So book 1 came and went for me with not much to talk about. I had already bought the remaining 2 books of the series, so I figured I might as well finish them.
In book 2, The Warrior-Prophet, the action picked up immensely. I finally started to see why the series was called The Prince of Nothing. Here we have a man, a Dunyan, who started out with literally nothing and became the Warrior Prophet. And he did it by simply making people believe he was more than what he was. And so the central theme of the series finally emerges.
This theme is carried over to Esmenet, the Whore of Sumna, as well. In books 1 and 2 she plays the harlot because she has no other choice because people believe her to be that. That tattoo on her hand doesn’t help. However, in book 3, The Thousandfold Thought, she became so much more. At the end of the book Achamian asks Esmenet, Esmi for short, to go away with him, but she says she can’t. She can’t because she has no choice.
Good series overall. Worth the read, though I doubt I will read it again.
Here is a review of just the final book: Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review