Kris (sambethe) wrote,

I got through Renault's Fire from Heaven last week. Perhaps the fact that I'm using the words 'got through' belies too much of my feeling about the book?

I was really excited to read this one. It is funny to me that I've never before thought to go digging up historical fiction from this period. I find Alexander himself interesting. Not always likeable, but interesting. The histories of Illyria, Thrace and Scythia fascinate me in the ways I can't explain. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that there is so much more we don't know and may never know. This would have seemed like something natural to search out.

So, yeah, The Persian Boy was just so lovely. The prose was beautiful and the 1st person narration pulls you in so tightly. I know a lot of people wince at 1st person, but I think that is because it is difficult to do right. However, when it is done well you can't help but be pulled in by it. Bagoas might be flawed and strange and always feels a little foreign (those latter two feel purposeful to me), but he also draws you in and makes you like him anyway. He's a courtesan. It's what he knows.

I knew going in that Fire from Heaven wasn't going to be as good. Everyone's comments I had read had prepared me for the fact that the writing wasn't as strong as TPB. However, it just felt all flat to me. Maybe it was because Alexander felt flat to me. I'm not even sure how that is possible, but he was. And without him as a driving force, I just couldn't be brought to care and spent most of the book just wanting to get to the end.

And don't get me wrong. This has nothing to do with this focusing on life before Persia or Alexander/Hephaistion versus Alexander/Bagoas. I like Hephaistion when he's done 'right', which is pretty much open to your own interpretation. Hephaistion is a sort of an original 'little black dress' of pairings. History's given us next to nothing about him or his personality.*

So, *sigh*.

I feel let down. I'm wavering about whether or not to read Funeral Games. I'll probably leave it sitting on my shelf for a bit and then go back to it.

*Though, frankly, he always struck me as a little more on the side of evil henchman. In what sources we have, he seems to do a lot of lurking and bidding. And one of the things that kept me from reading Alexander/Hephaistion fic before this point was the fact that the little I stumbled upon always painted him too soft or meek for my liking.
Tags: renault
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