Geoffrey West's Reviews > Party Games

Party Games by E.J. Greenway
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's review
Dec 05, 2014

it was amazing

Gripping, informative, lively page turner

In most books that have more than three or four main characters you often find yourself wondering, who is Bill? Who is Alice? Which one is Henry? And looking back to check. Not so with Ms Greenway’s Party Games. The characterisation is so good that the people leap from the page, you know exactly who’s talking, even the inflexions in their voices, you are almost talking to them in the same room. This writer has a very rare talent for creating characters that are instantly memorable. Some you like very much, some you hate, some you find frustrating, but they are all there, right in front of you, with all their human fancies and foibles.

I don’t normally like books about politics, in fact I thought House of Cards was a bit clichéd and dull, but Party Games is in a class of its own. The action is set completely within a fictitious shadow Tory cabinet, and the characters are personalities within it, and their families: the charismatic leader Rodney Richmond, the nice guy Tristan, who isn’t quite vicious enough to be a belligerent chief whip who can bang heads together, Anthea Culverhouse, the sexy and talented shadow minister who is clearly on the edge of great things, and is an immensely loyal to friend Rodney – there’s also the tentative hanging question, will Anthea and Rodney end up as more than just friends?

Unlike the majority of real politicians, a good many of EJ Greenway’s high-flying politicians are extremely personally attractive, some sexy, some also free of emotional commitment, thereby setting the stage for various romances. But the main driving force of this book is the primitive desire for power and prestige. There’s lots of scandal, intrigue, rows and blackmail and dirty tricks galore. All the power brokers are there: high flying (shadow) ministers, newspaper moguls, ruthlessly ambitious scandal-mongering reporters who are inclined towards treachery, traitors, liars and cheats, the list goes on and on.

If you like books with lots of cracking, realistic dialogue, (politicians can actually be quite foul mouthed, which I didn’t realise), dirty tricks, the ins and outs of the details of ruthless ambition and the pleasure in the general feeling that decency and rightness will ultimately prevail, you’ll love this book. If you’re interested in how parliament works, you’ll enjoy it as well – I learnt a great deal about the daily lives of politics: ‘tea room’ politics, the ‘estate’ of parliament, the pubs and places politicians frequent, all these secret things that most people know nothing about, are described in intricate and lively detail that brings the whole atmosphere of the Houses of Parliament alive, and you feel as if you are actually inside the place.

Frankly, I enjoyed this book so much, I ditched the rest of my reading list to go on to the second book in the series Power Play, and I’m enjoying that just as much as the first.

Like all the best books you go on reading because you like many characters and hate others. But crucially you absolutely have to go on reading because you passionately want to know what happens. Start reading it, and you won’t want to put it down. I didn’t much like House of Cards, because I didn’t like the characters. But I loved Party Games for the exact opposite reason.

Read it – I promise you’ll enjoy it. Once you’re into it, you won’t want to get out.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 30, 2014 – Finished Reading
December 5, 2014 – Shelved

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