Wednesday, December 31

Book Review: A Song of Stone

Title: A Song of Stone

Author: Iain M. Banks

Pages: 280

Summary: The war is ending, perhaps ended. For the castle and its occupants the troubles are just beginning. Armed gangs roam a lawless land where each farm and house supports a column of dark smoke. Taking to the roads with the other refugees, anonymous in their raggedness, seems safer than remaining in the ancient keep. However, the lieutenant of an outlaw band

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the book, the writing was wonderful, although the style of the writing threw me, it did add something to the book. But, while I enjoyed the book, I didn't exactly love it, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

One of the things that through me was that the castle and setting has this old gothic feel to it, but technologies including cars, trucks and modern guns have a big presence in the book. Even with conflicting pieces of the setting, the author made it work, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

The war torn themes were also well done, as were the characters. The lieutenant was well written, and I think fit the feel to the story. It's a brutal read, which wasn't exactly what I was expecting, although it does fit with the themes of war and desperation. This book was slow paced, and I'm not sure if I liked that aspect or not.

It did take me a while to get used to the writing style. It being written partially in first person and in second person was a very different reading experience, and it took a while for me to get used to that. I'm not sure how I feel about the writing ploy, it worked and didn't work for me all at the same time. Had I liked the characters more, I think it would have helped how I reacted to them, and I definitely think it would have made me feel more part of the story, but it was still an interesting writing ploy.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would. It was a good read, it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

What to read next: More books by the author

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read Scotland Challenge


  1. How wonderful to read your review of A Song of Stone! this is not a well known title of his, and I've had a tough time finding reviews of it in my circle of the blogosphere.

    I have a copy of A Song of Stone, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I've read a lot of Banks' science fiction, and some of his regular fiction. He certainly has a recognizable writing style! If this was your first Banks and you're interested in reading more of his work, I highly recommend The Quarry, and The Business, or his short story collection "The State of the Art", which has a taste of his scifi in it too.

    1. picked this one up (in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy bookstore), because I had another book on my shelf, The Wasp Factory, but because that one was such an intense book and the plot of the book, I wanted to try something else as my first book by the author, so I picked this one, randomly.

      Thanks for the suggestions, I may have to check those out especially for short story collection.