My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Review: Persians: The Age of the Great Kings

Persians: The Age of the Great Kings Persians: The Age of the Great Kings by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Western understanding of Persian/Iranian history has been greatly influenced by what was reported by outsiders (namely the Greeks who largely sought to demonize the empire with whom they fought several wars). This text tries to balance the account … purportedly using Persian sources. It is not a textbook though … the history is told in a narrative style that brings together a number of differing sources to build a “presumed’ context in the absence of specific details … such as describing how an individual might be dressed for the occasion … these rather intimate vignettes are fairly interesting, at least until the author’s bias hits you right between the eyes with pejorative descriptors (such as pedestrian, et al.) applied to the Greeks that serve no academic function and detracts from the expected rational exposition of “a history.” This obvious bias undermines the over all scholarship that actually does present significant details about how the Persian court/government operates that now come across more as an apology that a recounting of facts. The author even justified Darius fleeing for his life in several engagements against Alexander as motivated by his desire to “save” his legacy and not because he was a coward abandoning his armies. Frankly the brutality of the Persian court was appalling to western/modern sensibilities and I had to wonder about the author’s defense against the Greek perception of moral decadence with references imperial power and force of armies as if the two were mutually exclusive. Over all, it seems we get a history almost as equally flawed as what we get from Herodotus … who was the author’s favorite target.

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Persians #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.