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DNF: Karen Miller – The Falcon Throne

May 13, 2015

LibraryThing Early ReviewersDNF. The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller (2014)
The Tarnished Crown, Book 1

Length: 676 pages (I gave up on page 211, which I feel like was a fair shake)

Genre: Fantasy

Started: 15 December 2014
Finished: Nope! (gave up on 24 January 2015)

Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Why do I have it? I generally like fatty-fat fantasy novels.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 September 2014.

If you think Game of
Thrones didn’t have enough of
Joffrey, here you go!

Summary: Harald, Duke of Clemen is corrupt and is is running his Duchy into ruin. Neighboring lands scheme about how to claim a piece of Clemen for their own, while Harald’s bastard-born brother, Roric, and a group of his political advisors, plot to overthrow the Duke and place Roric in his stead. Roric has the qualities that are needed to run the Duchy, but he is haunted by the deeds he had to commit in order to ascend the throne in the first place – including the murder of Harald’s infant son. Little does he know, however, that the boy survived, and will grow up to one day attempt to reclaim his father’s place. (Presumably, anyways. I quit when the baby was still a baby.)

Review: I feel like I should have liked this more than I did. I like fatty-fat pseudo-medieval fantasy novels; I love Game of Thrones, and this book has a lot of similarities: opposing factions, lots of ambition, a struggle over power, people doing bad things in furtherance of their own aims, etc. But I couldn’t ever get into this book, because it was really, really hard to find anyone to root for. Maybe, like in Game of Thrones, initially despicable characters get more nuanced over time, but if so, I didn’t stick around long enough for that to happen. As one of my friends to whom I was describing the book said, “So it’s like Game of Thrones except all of the characters are Joffrey,” which is it exactly. Even Roric, who seems like basically a decent guy, was getting to be pretty annoying by the time I quit. This book was also slooooow going; I feel like 200+ pages is a decent length of time to devote to a book, but in that time, relatively little actually happened, and none of it really managed to catch my attention or interest, so combined with the unlikeable characters, I felt pretty justified putting this one on the DNF pile. 2 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I think the “if you like Game of Thrones, you’ll like this book” comparison actually is pretty apt, although maybe it would work better in the other direction (“if you like this book you probably also like Game of Thrones“.) It didn’t grab me, but if medieval fantasy political scheming is your cup of tea, then it’s probably worth a try.

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First Line: Trapped by the weight of a single cotton sheet, Salimbene listened to the bedchamber’s sickness-tainted air rattle in and out of his chest.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 184: “Serve the jackanapes rogue bague right. Shit in his eyes and perhaps a broken nose for good measure would teach him not to fartle with the Eaglerock’s Bakers’ beadle, with his heavy stick and dour opinion of those who’d flout the baking laws.” – a parish officer who performs various duties, as keeping order during the service. (Urban Dictionary defines “fartle” as “When you fart in your sleep so abrubtly it startles you awake.”, but I suspect that’s not what Miller meant in this context.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 24, 2015 3:27 pm

    This is on my eTBR list! I do like fantasy political schemings but not when EVERYONE is terrible. Oh dear.

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