Review – The Iron King

Cover of The Iron King by Maurice DruonThe Iron King, Maurice Druon

G.R.R. Martin refers to this as the original Game of Thrones, and you can see why. The same types of characters populate it, to a large degree — except I’m not sure I found any of Druon’s portrayals to have many redeeming features, whereas I’ve liked a couple of characters in what I’ve read so far of Martin’s epic. This is, of course, not a work of fantasy, but based on real history; how closely, I’m not sure, as my knowledge of the period is mostly based on British politics, and this largely takes place in France. It offers a convincing world, anyway: just the way you would want the period to be, with torture and curses, weak princes and calculating counsellors.

I have seen quite a few fairly negative reviews of this, which I think might come from people expecting something more fantastical based on Martin’s comment, and possibly also from people who can’t stand the translation (it’s very workmanlike and functional, I think). But I quite enjoyed it: I don’t know if I’ll pick up the rest of the series, simply because there are so many books and so little time, but I enjoy reading it. If there’s anything lacking, for me it’s more sympathetic characters, or at least more of an inner life beyond who they want to sleep with.

Rating: 3/5

Stacking the Shelves

Hi everyone! It’s time for Stacking the Shelves again. I thought I wouldn’t have a big haul this week, but I did spend my Kobo voucher in the end, and picked up some books at the convention I went to. Oops!

Dead tree books

Cover of Six Against the Yard by The Detective Club Cover of The Sorceress and the Cygnet by Patricia McKillip Cover of The Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia McKillip

Cover of Mistress of Mistresses by E.R. Edison Cover of A Fish Dinner in Memison  by E.R. Edison Cover of The Mezentian Gate by E.R. Edison

Cover of Moon-flash by Patricia McKillip Cover of Nova by Samuel R Delany

Patricia McKillip! No one is surprised! Got a compliment at FACTs about my taste in books, hee. Been meaning to read more Eddison for a while, I think I’ve mentioned, and Nova is one that Jo Walton’s spoken highly of. I’ve already read Six Against the Yard, and the review should be up tomorrow.


 Cover of Dreamsongs by G.R.R. Martin Cover of Dreamsongs by G.R.R. Martin Cover of Wild Cards ed. G.R.R. Martin

Cover of Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson

Wild Cards sounds fun, and I’ve been meaning to read more G.R.R. Martin, so, voila. Infinity Blade: Awakening is based on a game, apparently, but reviews say you don’t need to know the game. And maybe I’ll decide I want to play the game, too!

Aaaand my one review copy, which I think I requested because someone I know gave it a good review:

Cover of The Hawley Book of the Dead

So what’s everyone else been getting? Comment, link, etc — I always visit your blog in return if you visit me!

What are you reading Wednesday

What have you recently finished reading?
Georgette Heyer’s Beauvallet, which I still need to review. Fun, but definitely not my favourite of Heyer’s so far, and I don’t like Beauvallet and his grabby hands half as much as I think I’m meant to. Different times, different sensibilities, I know, but still. Before that, Peas & Queues by Sandi Toksvig, review upcoming — generally pretty fun.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, too much. There’s A Game of Thrones, of course, and various other things I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, plus Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is about mindfulness meditation and is helpful so far, though I don’t know if I’d give it to a beginner, and I obviously don’t agree with everything/find everything useful.

What are you going to read next?
Nary the faintest idea, really. I’m actually feeling tempted to read the Harry Potter books and actually finish the series — I only ever got up to The Goblet of Fire — but I’m not sure if it’s been long enough since a) everyone wanted to force it on me and b) I studied it at college and university several years in a row. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to see the pure genius that other people see, but it would be good if I could just enjoy the books for what they are.

I’m also contemplating closing my eyes and pointing, and reading whatever book is in line with my pointy finger. Just for the sheer unpredictability of it.