BOOK REVIEW – The Game of King (The Lymond Chronicles #1) by Dorothy DunnettThe Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles)
by Dorothy Dunnett
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first book in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Game of Kings takes place in 1547. Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason: Francis Crawford of Lymond.

In order to clarify the situation with regard to said novel, let me first rehash what the two sides of the discussion have been saying :

Side ‘What the fuck is this’ : It’s obscure. Every time Lymond opens his mouth, I want to smack his face and make him eat his weird ancient references.

Side ‘This book is brilliant’ : Well if you were less lazy, now. That’s classics for you, lads. You have to work a little to discover the gem.

Me : *chokes*

Now let’s deconstruct something together, okay? No ‘classic’ needs to be obscure. Many aren’t.

That was fast, wasn’t it? What, not convinced? Alright.

What is the similarity between say, The Red and the Black, The Three Musketeers (by the way, I saw readers comparing The Game of Kings with this one and please, don’t even), Anna Karenina, Stello and Les Misérables?

They’re classics, but they’re utterly readable. One does not need a textbook to understand every fucking page, and you know what? It doesn’t mean they’re average because the ‘masses’ can understand them (I genuinely saw people referring to the ‘masses’ in reviews today : are you guys for real?), no. It means that their authors are master of storytelling, and do not feel the need to drown their readers in ludicrous and useless literary references to get their point across. Is it possible to go beyond their first-glance easiness and extract well-hidden references with the help of some sharp expertise? Hell yes, or my five years in Uni would have been useless, and I can’t have that. Yet first and foremost, they are stories, and the weight of references never becomes a burden the reader has to bear in order to unravel the layers and get to the fucking story.

Hence why I whole-heartedly disagree with any reader who would stamp his contempt upon me and from the great height of his pretension, dismiss me the right to call myself an intelligent reader because no, I have no intention to waste my time on Google when I should be reading, thank you very much. I realized I should stop trying when the ‘French jokes’ made me readjust what exactly people referred as ‘jokes’. Look, I am French. I understand French. I am not quite bad at Latin, and I can decipher Spanish sentences if they are written and aren’t too many. At no moment did it change a thing. It’s not the language I don’t understand, it’s the purpose I abhor. I do not care about so-called winks and I do not believe that needing a textbook to be understood reflects some kind of superiority. The Game of Kings reeks of pretension and everything I despise in Literary circles.

Even if I could ignore my annoyance and follow the story – which I could, it didn’t bode well for my love for the main character, Lymond. I am sorry. Any man who declaims obscure French quotes while fighting annihilates any interest I could have felt for him.The guy’s a Gary Stu of epic proportions – there’s literally nothing he cannot do – who loves nothing more than hearing himself talk, and I’m supposed to swoon? Ugh, nope. And given that he is the heart of the story, excuse me if I’m slowly disengaging from this mess.

Therefore, I shall leave you all on this : by all means, entertain yourselves, but do not come at me and at other readers for being ‘too lazy’ and ‘not clever enough’. Fuck this rhetoric, and ô please give this French proverb a thought : Un point fait à temps en épargne cent.

Dorothy Dunnett, for all her outstanding education, forgot that. I’m sure there is a splendid story hidden somewhere in the clusterfuck that is this book ; however, I do not think it’s worth wasting my time.

And for all the literary warriors out there : Ab imo pectore, fuck off.