Grady McCallie's Reviews > Conqueror

Conqueror by Conn Iggulden
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Apr 03, 2012

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It's a telenovela! for men! with Mongols! And, to be fair, it doesn't have many exclamation points, just a lot of brutal men living by a code of honor in a brutal era. Will Kublai, grandson of Genghis and second son of Tolui, outlive his gay cousin? his brutal older brother? his self-indulgent younger brother? Will he have more success in China than his other brother has against Bagdad and the Assassins? How many ways are there to depict weak men dying pathetically, crushed by fate? Overall, it's a fine historical adventure, but (1) it seems surprisingly long for having so little actually happen in the plot; (2) Kublai Khan, who we're told is very smart, doesn't seem as sharp or brave as his top commanders -- he comes across as a bit of a whiner, really; and (3) perhaps to make the brutality more palatable to a soft modern audience, the losers are always meaner or more debauched than the winners, as though what happens to them is a kind of rough justice. But then, it's supposed to be satisfying fiction, so why not. And the cover certainly has a lot of Mongols on it.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Terri (last edited Oct 08, 2012 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri Grady! We are strangers...but how did you read my mind!! This is exactly how I feel about this book. I am not finished yet, but 'telenovela for men' is the perfect description.
Not much going on, just lots of mean guys laughing at others misfortune. Glowing amid memories of killing or torturing people. Lots of Mongols huffing about and giving each other the cold face. And corny, gratuitous miserable, bloody death. He could have cut that out and had a decent story in a 370 page book instead of a bloated one in over 500 pages.


message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret OMG. I LOVE that review. :D


Terri It's good isn't it. lol! A little gem hiding in the 5 star forest.


message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret It's fantastic. So many reviewers take themselves so seriously. It's great to see someone with a sense of humor.


Grady McCallie It's an accident! I don't actually have a sense of humor. If you read them, you'll see that most of my other reviews are dry as dust. I think it's 'cause most books don't have enough Mongols. But, I'm glad you liked this one.


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