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.