‘The Accursed Kings’, a review of the series

As to get some inspiration for my book, I thought it best to read some books which orientates around medieval warfare and politics, so one day, I picked up Maurice Druons ‘The Iron King’.

This book was fantastic, thrilling, fast paced, and captivating, containing descriptive politics, murder, betrayal, trajectory, love, and very long winded ways of describing things which don’t really make sense. The first two books I read, which I couldn’t put down (The Iron King and The Strangled Queen) were very good, making you want to really want to read the next page, then chapter, then the rest of the book. The third book however…lets talk about the content first.

So it’s based in 14th Century Europe, and follows the family of Philip the Fair, and his sons and successors. A well articulated plot, with meticulous story-lines and characters. It talks of the fall of the Templars (don’t worry, that’s not ruining anything if you read it) and the King’s reign. It’s, moderately executed, being translated from French to English, George R.R. Martin states that it is ‘the original¬†Game of Thrones‘, which I am about to start reading.

My main issues. Yes the first two books of the series are very well done, drawing me in further and further, but, after getting the third book as a present from my editor, I see myself drawing away from the book. I did read ‘The Matarese Circle’ between the second and third book, which may have been a mistake, since I was on a slight high from reading what I thought was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The characters in the series present so much promise, but never have I found myself (maybe bar one) wishing for something to happen to them, good or bad. The author has presented a brilliant opportunity to create some gutsy and solid characters, but as I read on, I don’t really give a sh*t about any of them, if I’m honest. This is supported by the next issue, the pacing. There is fast, slow, slow burning, or this, the trailing fire of the DeLorean from Back to the Future! It goes so quickly that I have no idea what’s going on! It’s a skeleton without tissue or organs, it is its bare story which is hard to follow from all the expansive old words that I don’t fully understand. Along with that, and the issue with not expanding the characters to their full potential, means when something happens, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Because of the extensive list of characters and their actions, the pacing makes it impossible to follow, first someone is doing this, then bounces over here, then rebounds to this part, just too much happening in such a small amount of time, which makes it not enjoyable to read, which is a shame, because the first two were good, but the third ‘The Poisoned Crown’, was a different story. I believe, when reading a book, for it to be good, you need substance of characters, descriptions of surroundings and feelings, you don’t get that with this series, and a great shame it is. The next thing is, and I cannot stand this and I am to make sure I do none of it in my book, with my editor backing me on it, is sentences at the end of paragraphs that basically give away the story and what’s about to happen, the books are full of them and it’s not speculation, it’s ruining the book, because now I know what will happen without any thinking effort, again, a real shame.

So the main issues, characters and whether I’m supposed to like them or not, the pacing (way, way too fast), badly written foreshadowing (I know what’s going to happen before I’ve finished the first part), and the lack of substance to the plot. What are the character’s motivations? Why am I reading a book that feels like a historical report of certain events? Why does the speech feel like it’s being read to me, rather than me reading it? Who do I like and hate and why? I think it’s clear that if I’m having to ask this many questions about a book, it’s unlikely to be my favourite, and unlikely to win a few people over, which is a true shame.

2.5/5

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‘The Matarese Circle’ – this book will blow your mind if you love thrillers!

So today, I decided to finish reading, what is now one of my favourite books, ‘The Matarese Circle’ by Robert Ludlum. Now before I go any further, I need to specify that I have read his stuff before (the Bourne Trilogy) and that was fantastic. But this, this was on a new level! A completely new playing field, taking thrillers up to a new level.

His classic writing style is how I write, in a way, but not explicitly. The way he describes things, activities, scenes, thoughts and feelings, the way it flows is captivating. I found the Bourne books a struggle to get into, but once things started rolling, they really rolled. Well, for this book, things start rolling from about 75 pages in, and it draws you in further and further every time you start reading it.

The book is about an undercover, terrorist organisation, called the ‘Matarese’, formed long before the setting of the book. Two agents team up to try and take down this organisation before it becomes too powerful and influential in the global world of politics and global conglomerates.

That’s all I’m saying about the story.

It’s a must read for the thriller for those who like this kind of writing. The meticulous nature of the story makes your mind think for hours after, trying to piece together the puzzle, however, the story you put together is never going to be the real one. While you think something will happen, Ludlum draws you in further and further, catching your mind, making you think something, where actually, his writing deceives you, and you’re left there looking like an idiot. Yeah, it’s that kind of a book!

I loved the story, the characters, and the way it was articulated. As with all his books I’ve read, the story is pretty much airtight, although there are some bits where you think, hang on, how does that work. But that might be me not reading it properly. But due to its intricate and detailed intertwining nature, you can’t expect anything less from Ludlum. At the end of the book, you still have some thought about whether so and so has forgiven this other person (I don’t want to spoil it), and that’s what I love. The character buildup is fantastic, and you feel like you really know what’s going through their minds during certain events.

Yes, there are cliches, I guessed something midway through the book, that turned out to be correct, but again, I think that’s because I’ve read Ludlum’s books before. Being an old book, there are words that will stump you, and some phrases that aren’t supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, but since our views on certain issues in this world at this current point in time differ from those that existed 20-30 years ago, you can’t expect anything different.

Overall impression: one of the best books I’ve ever read! I real captivating jaw dropper that will have you pinned down in your seat until your eyes hurt! A must read for the thriller lovers!

4.5/5!

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A genuinely lovely book…the loveliest! As read by the author.

 

wp_ss_20170225_0001You know when a book is good when you read it in a week…especially when that book is based in one of your favourite places in the world. In this instance, Naples, Italy. The city is mad, absolutely mad. Myself and my girlfriend went for a weeks holiday there, back in the summer, and stayed in an awesome hotel in Sorrento (to the south of Naples). I was mesmerised, captivated, and completely spellbound by it…I have never visited a city with so much glamour, pride, individuality, without care, and caring. It was a lovely, genuine lovely place (not considering the corruption and mafia), to visit. As a tourist, you have a completely different perspective on the livelihoods of people, than the actual inhabitants of said city.

Because I fell in love with the place, and strengthened my love for Italy, my parents bought me, for my birthday after I couldn’t stop talking about the place, a book about Naples, by a writer called, Katherine Wilson. The book’s title, ‘Only in Naples’, is a semi-autobiography about her life and experience with a family in the city. It is filled with mannerisms only found in Naples, attitudes only found in Italian families, and it was a fantastic read…and you know it when you can’t put it down.

I’m not one for reading autobiographies, although interesting and eye-opening, the lack of one or two primary narratives doesn’t completely encapsulate me, but this book is a complete exception! It is the loveliest, heartfelt, happy, humorous, and emotional book I have ever read! Upon reading it, it immediately reminded me of my trip to Naples, made my ambition to own a place in Naples (or in its vicinity), firmer.

I’ve never read laughed out loud at a book before, but this one had me in many fits of laughter, one on the train home (which was kind of embarrassing, but I didn’t care). It’s filled with multiple experiences of Katherine, her opinions of Naples, and her reactions to the Italian way of life, and just makes you realise how culturally diverse they are! It is filled with sincere (truly sincere, there were a couple of times where I wanted to have a little weep) encounters, and many, meticulous descriptions of the delicious Italian food, making your mouth water, considerably. It’s not like your typical love story, where there are two characters that have a bit of a hubbub and then eventually get back together, no, it is a true, love-story, that can happen to anyone! And that’s what makes this book a wonderful, enchanting, and adventurous series of events!

A real page turner! Fantastic!

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