Sunday, 18 January 2015

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: THE GATES OF ROME by Conn Iggulden

Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden
It has been a bloody long time since I last had a review to do that felt this easy to write. This book was so cut and dry for me. It falls into a class of read that I never fail to find the words to elaborate on.
One of the nicest negative review words a reviewer could draw upon - incompatibility. The sweetest way to say that I thought it was bad, but maybe it isn't the authors fault.

If we were in a relationship, this book and I, I would be saying to it "I want you to know that it isn't you. It is me. I think we are just too different and are far better off apart. I know you will find other fish in the sea that will appreciate you better than I".

Only this is a book, not a relationship. So about this book I will say;

We simply are not compatible. It will be compatible with many thousands, and it has been. The proof of that is there in all the positive ratings on Goodreads and Amazon and in the book deals and bank accounts of the author.
For me, however, I do not like books that dedicate most of their quantity to childhood characters. If I liked to be in the heads of kids for that long I would be reading the Young Adult genre. A genre I do not like to read, because, obviously, I am an adult, who likes to read about adults.
That is not to say there are no adults who like to read about children. Only I am not one of them.
I say give them a chapter or two, maybe a quarter or even a third of the book (okay, a third of a book may be stretching it), but just don't make boys and girls the main feature of a book for adults.
Good for milking an extra book out of a series and making more money, but not always great fun for adult readers.

I also found the writing to be a little simple and raw, which only accentuated the YA aromatics.

The other thing that bugs me and makes us incompatible, is flagrant disregard for historical accuracy just because you don't like the restraints of the historical accuracy mistress. She isn't such a bad bird and can be forgiving if you feel the need as an author to break free and dabble. But this book doesn't dabble or stretch the confines for more freedom, this book gives historical accuracy a wide, albeit arrogant, berth.

And while there are those thousands of readers who don't know the history enough to know that this book is an alternate history, there sure are thousands that do. I don't even know much about this history, and yet I can see it.
Arrogance with historical accuracy is a turn off for me.

I read all this author's Ghengis Khan series. Had a love/hate relationship with it. Liked one or two, really liked one, hated the rest.
I don't like Roman historical fiction much, but I bought this (used) book based on some decent experiences with that Ghengis series.

That is the last time I follow an author into his or her other ventures so blindly.

I finish by pointing out the other advantage of saying a book is incompatible with your tastes. I get to say 'don't take my word for it' to anybody reading this review.
We don't all have the same approach to books. This is one of those books I think you will need to discover for yourself.

- MM 


  1. I enjoyed bits of this series, but other bits just dragged on. The Genghis was better, but still dragged on in areas. This series it seems like way too many areas where he has just filled it in with the most boring crap to reach a certain amount of pages.

    1. I agree. I think there is a lot of over writing going on in this author's books. I think he drags things out so that the book is longer.