Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Funeral Games: The Combat of Alexander's Heirs

Funeral Games by Mary Renault
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's review
Nov 17, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, buddy-reads
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Iset
Read from October 06 to November 15, 2014 — I own a copy

Bullet Review:

I REALLY REALLY liked the first half and that would have been 5 stars. But then we started doing the time warp and I felt I was really an anthology of various people who knew Alexander instead of a cohesive novel. Still some good characters, but huge leaps in time skipping numerous events. But the end was worst; large jump in time, summarizing events.

Full Review:

Alexander the Great is dead (this is not a spoiler), and the various men and even women who knew him (or of him) desperately claw to get on top of the pile and to rule over the massive Empire Alexander carved.

At it's most basic, that's exactly what this story is, though there is far more going on that this one sentence cannot get into.

I'm sitting here, thinking, and I don't even know how I would begin to do what Renault did. What happened after Alexander died, the chaos, the power-seeking - there's a LOT of STUFF that happens, many people clawing to get to the top. So many people, all with different motivations and hopes for the kingdom, whether it be unification or just a small place to call his or her own.

I loved the first half. LOVED. Slowly, I'd been "getting" Renault and her craft as I've read through her Alexander the Great trilogy, and it was the first half of this book that everything clicked. I loved the characters, the way the story flowed - everything.

The problem happened as soon as we did the year jump. In previous books, time does pass, but it's nothing quite as jarring as seeing the big block letters "320 B.C." on the top of the page. I think, in order to show as much chaos and all the different peoples' intricate plans, Renault felt she had to do the Time Warp. And I don't know if it quite succeeded. When you jump a year, there are things that happen - such a Ptolemy moving to Egypt and taking over governorship there. This is something that is a given; the audience never sees it. And it feels weird that I should just accept it happened, when normally, this would be one more piece in the puzzle. (In fact, I think Ptolemy in general gets the shaft because we hardly see him at all in the book.)

We have quite the build-up to talking about Antipatros' reign - and then fast forward to the end and boom, yet time for another power struggle! What about the politics in that year of his reign? You cannot tell me that life was hunky-dory while he was ruling, that Eurydike and Roxane and Kassandros had just thrown their hands up and accepted his rule.

These are just a couple of the instances where I felt that I was only getting a small, small snippet of the most "exciting" portions of post-Alexander life. In many ways, it felt more like an anthology, a collection of short stories than a full-length cohesive novel.

And really, the disconnectedness is what makes me rate this lower. There's still a mighty good story - I loved Eurydike, even if she was incredibly stupid at times - but it feels like excerpts of a story instead of a full blown one.

Coming to the end of this book, I felt kinda sad. I've been Buddy Reading this trilogy with my friend for over a year now, and it's sad to leave the fascinating and exotic world of Alexander behind. I have really grown to appreciate Renault and her way with words and history. To people who think all history is boring, lemme just say: If you find it boring, you are reading the wrong author! Because history is absolutely FASCINATING in the hands of a competent author.

NOTE: Thank you to the amazing, Iset for a fabulous Buddy Read! This was an enjoyable run; let's do this again!
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Reading Progress

10/06/2014 marked as: currently-reading
10/08/2014 page 6
1.0% "Priests talk about Alexander's upcoming demise. I believe these are the shady priests, who took Alexander's money to life fat." 3 comments
10/08/2014 page 16
4.0% "Eumenes and Ptloemaois talk about Alexander's impending death. I'm really digging the writing this time around, even if we are switching from first person to third person omniscient."
10/12/2014 page 25
7.0% "Roxane hears of Alexander's impending death."
10/13/2014 page 30
8.0% "Roxane meets up with Badia, a concubine from King Ochos' time."
10/15/2014 page 40
11.0% "The world is in chaos, with Alexander gone. No one is sure who is in charge."
10/15/2014 page 45
13.0% "And we just learn that Stateira is with child - none of the soldiers are too keen, though, on a "half-breed" ruler."
10/17/2014 page 56
16.0% "Arridaios is pulled forth as new King. Rather impressed with his POV; it could have turned out awful in the hands of a lesser author."
10/17/2014 page 69
20.0% "Alexander's body is headed for embalming."
10/20/2014 page 78
23.0% "Meleager tries to have Perdikkas killed."
10/21/2014 page 98
29.0% "Perdikkas and Ptolemy work in concert to break Meleager's power block."
10/28/2014 page 101
30.0% "VERY pleased to be reading this again!!!"
10/29/2014 page 118
35.0% "Kleopatra and Olympias hear of Alexander's death."
10/30/2014 page 121
36.0% "If I ever had a child, I would love to name her Eurydike. What a pretty name!" 13 comments
10/30/2014 page 133
39.0% "322 BC. Ptolemaios and Bagoas are working together to get Alexander's body to Alexandria; Roxane gives birth to her son."
10/31/2014 page 137
40.0% "Perdikkas gets a letter from Kleopatra/Olympias."
11/03/2014 page 149
44.0% "Oh wow. A significant amount of time passed between the two sections. And yeah, it's been a year, but ITS BEEN A YEAR. I feel like a lot of significant events happened that I missed."
11/04/2014 page 155
46.0% "Kleopatra and Perdikkas court each other. I feel bad for poor Nikaia."
11/04/2014 page 160
47.0% "Kynna and Eurydike head to meet Perdikkas and Philip."
11/05/2014 page 174
51.0% "Getting ready for Eurydike and Philip's wedding, while Eumenes and Perdikkas gear up for war against Ptolemy."
11/06/2014 page 198
59.0% "Another time hop; Perdikkas is in Egypt, attacking Ptolemy and failing miserably. Can't say I'm that upset for him!"
11/07/2014 page 200
59.0% "I really feel bad for poor Eurydike - losing her mom, getting married to Philip, not being able to suit up. No love lost for Perdikkas though. Or Roxane."
11/12/2014 page 216
64.0% "Perdikkas: Dead. Krateros: Dead. Ptolemaois doesn't want the Regency, so it's going to Peithon and Arybbas. And poor Eurydike and Kleopatra's plans are in ruins."
11/12/2014 page 226
67.0% "Eurydike's plan fails miserably. Cannot help but feel this woman's pain - she tried SO HARD to get the throne and rule :("
11/13/2014 page 231
68.0% "More uprisings and discontent."
11/13/2014 page 238
71.0% "Eurydike starts her period at the most inopportune time - and Roxane is certainly happy."
11/13/2014 page 243
72.0% "I feel like in looking at a photo album of a story, instead of a moving picture. Just snippets from key scenes then skip to the next one."
11/13/2014 page 256
76.0% "Another year in time has passed. Antipatros is dead and once again, battle for the Regency." 5 comments
11/14/2014 page 274
81.0% "VERY bad feelings about what Kassandros has in stow for Eurydike."
11/14/2014 page 284
84.0% "I'm sad about Eurydike's fate, but then, she played her cards too fast and too early. Instead of really cultivating a following and using Olympias and Roxane and Polyperchon, aligning herself properly with Kassandros, she just threw everything into a battle that she failed miserably at."
11/14/2014 page 306
91.0% "SO CLOSE to being done!"
11/15/2014 page 316
94.0% "And it's 315BC. Olympias and Eurydike are dead."
11/15/2014 page 319
95.0% "Whoa!!! That was...weird. 3 pages in 315 then jump to 310!!"
11/15/2014 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Iset Yes, what a buddy read it has been!

Crystal Starr Light I know I've been incredibly slow, but I've really enjoyed it!

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