Karla's Reviews > Troy: Fall of Kings

Troy by David Gemmell
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Even though this trilogy failed to interest from the first book, I kept reading in hopes that it would improve. Sadly, it didn't, and I detected no decline or difference in quality when Gemmell's writing ended and his wife's began. The characterization continued to be shallow, the plot points far-fetched and for their own sake. I'm specifically thinking of the entire subplot of Gershom, which had nothing to do with the main story and had the feel of being a kitchen sink approach to bring in all the legends of the era. It felt tacked on, if not tacky. What was the point of it? Darned if I know. I finally settled on "pointless and pretentious." Likewise was the final scene of Andromache in the outpost of Ancient Rome. After nearly 3 books of such cheap tricks, it was an expected reveal that held no surprise. The device had, by that point, achieved glib triteness and the well had long since gone dry.

Most every character remained one-dimensional (in rare flashes two), and they were kept to the page. They didn't come into my head to play and act out the story, a situation probably due to the fact that apart from occasional mentions of hair color, build shape, and whether eyes flashed cold or angry, there wasn't much physical description. When there was, it was generic and not very evocative. Psychologically, the majority of the cast were ciphers.

Again, constant deviations into past perfect flashbacks during scenes to reveal pertinent details to make a scene work were irritating and had a slapdash tone that pervaded the book. The entire invasion of Ithaka by pirates and the captivity of Penelope would have been a great sequence both in action and drama, yet it was merely summarized by Penelope's inner voice as she sits tied to her throne. If this had been the only instance, fine, but it wasn't. Too much was revealed as memories, not as present action. There were too few scenes that dragged me right into the action, the only exception I can name being the breaching of King's Joy fortress. However, that scene was destroyed soon after by the risible dispatching of Paris & Helen. (I am not a fan of Paris & Helen in mythology, but their inept and gross handling by Gemmell had me clamoring to be their advocate.)

Odysseus remained a full-bodied and engaging character, the only one to do so throughout all three books. The love between he and Penelope was touched upon in some tender asides, but it was much too little. They were the only couple I became attached to throughout the trilogy, and good as their scenes were, it can't even begin to elevate my opinion of the series as a whole.

Final summary: Generic fantasy elements with the banal standards of the genre. The names are familiar, but they've been manipulated and twisted to suit the imported fantasy tropes to such a degree that they might as well have been named something else and correctly marketed as "Fantasy."
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Reading Progress

10/28 page 42
9.4% "Already detecting a difference between this & the previous two. Liking it more...maybe it's SG's influence??"
10/28 page 42
9.4% "Still not caring much for the characterization. :-\"
10/30 page 146
32.66% "Good grief, this book is total crap."
03/29 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Willow (new)

Willow Whoa, this series just sort of sucked all the way around, didn't it?


message 2: by Karla (last edited Mar 19, 2015 02:51PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Yeah, definitely not my thing. The arbitrary iconoclasm with Paris & Helen really pissed me off. It had no point.

I just came across another historical fantasy, with the Roman Empire surviving and trying to take over pre-Columbian America. That sounds cool, so I'll give that one a try. Guess the Trojan War is too near my fangirl heart to see it dicked around with so much. >:(


message 3: by Willow (new)

Willow Oooh so you're a big fan. :D By any chance have you read The Song of Troy. I just ordered it.

What is the series called that has the Romans invading the Americas?


message 4: by Karla (last edited Mar 19, 2015 04:46PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla I didn't mind the Troy movie on the first viewing as much as I did this trilogy. -__- Never read Song of Troy, though I've had it for years. Since it's McCullough, I'm letting the anticipation build via procrastination. :P

The other series is Clash of Eagles. I'll probably start reading it soon-ish since it sounds so awesome.


message 5: by Willow (new)

Willow Oh yes, Clash of Eagles does look awesome. I'm adding it to my list. :D


message 6: by Mike (new)

Mike Done! I am officially not reading the rest of this series after reading this. Book one was exactly as you described it - one dimensional characters. Just that first chapter hooked me. Song of Troy - great book, although I read it 15 years ago, it was at the height of my Greek mythology interest and I loved it.


message 7: by Karla (last edited Jun 18, 2016 02:54AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla I found the whole trilogy so disappointing and it started out so well initially, like you said- the first chapter.

There's a couple series out there based on Odysseus, but I'm kinda scared that they'll suck too. Lol


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