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

Funeral Games by Mary Renault
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's review
Jul 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, buddy-reads, gift
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Iset

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

July 1, 2012 – Shelved
July 1, 2012 – Shelved as: historical
October 6, 2014 – Started Reading
October 8, 2014 –
page 6
1.79% "Priests talk about Alexander's upcoming demise. I believe these are the shady priests, who took Alexander's money to life fat."
October 8, 2014 –
page 16
4.78% "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."
October 12, 2014 –
page 25
7.46% "Roxane hears of Alexander's impending death."
October 13, 2014 –
page 30
8.96% "Roxane meets up with Badia, a concubine from King Ochos' time."
October 15, 2014 –
page 40
11.94% "The world is in chaos, with Alexander gone. No one is sure who is in charge."
October 15, 2014 –
page 45
13.43% "And we just learn that Stateira is with child - none of the soldiers are too keen, though, on a "half-breed" ruler."
October 17, 2014 –
page 56
16.72% "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."
October 17, 2014 –
page 62
October 17, 2014 –
page 69
20.6% "Alexander's body is headed for embalming."
October 20, 2014 –
page 78
23.28% "Meleager tries to have Perdikkas killed."
October 21, 2014 –
page 98
29.25% "Perdikkas and Ptolemy work in concert to break Meleager's power block."
October 28, 2014 –
page 101
30.15% "VERY pleased to be reading this again!!!"
October 29, 2014 –
page 105
October 29, 2014 –
page 118
35.22% "Kleopatra and Olympias hear of Alexander's death."
October 30, 2014 –
page 121
36.12% "If I ever had a child, I would love to name her Eurydike. What a pretty name!"
October 30, 2014 – Shelved as: buddy-reads
October 30, 2014 –
page 133
39.7% "322 BC. Ptolemaios and Bagoas are working together to get Alexander's body to Alexandria; Roxane gives birth to her son."
October 31, 2014 –
page 137
40.9% "Perdikkas gets a letter from Kleopatra/Olympias."
November 3, 2014 –
page 149
44.48% "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."
November 4, 2014 –
page 155
46.27% "Kleopatra and Perdikkas court each other. I feel bad for poor Nikaia."
November 4, 2014 –
page 160
47.76% "Kynna and Eurydike head to meet Perdikkas and Philip."
November 5, 2014 –
page 174
51.94% "Getting ready for Eurydike and Philip's wedding, while Eumenes and Perdikkas gear up for war against Ptolemy."
November 6, 2014 –
page 198
59.1% "Another time hop; Perdikkas is in Egypt, attacking Ptolemy and failing miserably. Can't say I'm that upset for him!"
November 7, 2014 –
page 200
59.7% "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."
November 12, 2014 –
page 216
64.48% "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."
November 12, 2014 –
page 226
67.46% "Eurydike's plan fails miserably. Cannot help but feel this woman's pain - she tried SO HARD to get the throne and rule :("
November 13, 2014 –
page 231
68.96% "More uprisings and discontent."
November 13, 2014 –
page 238
71.04% "Eurydike starts her period at the most inopportune time - and Roxane is certainly happy."
November 13, 2014 –
page 243
72.54% "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."
November 13, 2014 –
page 256
76.42% "Another year in time has passed. Antipatros is dead and once again, battle for the Regency."
November 14, 2014 –
page 274
81.79% "VERY bad feelings about what Kassandros has in stow for Eurydike."
November 14, 2014 –
page 284
84.78% "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."
November 14, 2014 –
page 306
91.34% "SO CLOSE to being done!"
November 15, 2014 –
page 316
94.33% "And it's 315BC. Olympias and Eurydike are dead."
November 15, 2014 –
page 319
95.22% "Whoa!!! That was...weird. 3 pages in 315 then jump to 310!!"
November 15, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 6, 2018 – Shelved as: gift

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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