A Song Of Stone by Iain Banks

A Song of StoneA Song of Stone by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Song of Stone is brutally dark. The writing is beautiful and poetic. The subject matter is horrific. The story takes place during a no name war in a no name country and is told from the view of Abel as a first person narrative.

Abel and his lover Morgan are nobles. They attempt to abandon their castle and flee to safety disguised as refugees when they are captured and taken back to their castle by a lieutenant and her band of soldiers. This is where the cat and mouse game begins. The story contains graphic violence, sex, incest, rape and human cruelty at it’s worse.

The further I got into the story the more it seemed to have a hold on me. The closer I got to the end the more I felt a need to finish it. By the time I got to the last chapter I wanted it to not end I no longer wanted to know, but still I had a need to know.

When I finished reading A Song of Stone it felt as if my psyche was savagely beaten and bruised, it may take weeks for my mental health and well being to recover, if ever.

When I closed the book I immediately wanted to read something else but I’m not sure if it’s to dilute the feeling A Song of Stone left me with or if it’s because the writing was so good (and deep) that it ignited something in me that makes me want to read and read and read.

I would recommend to ADULTS ONLY that have read the reviews and are still interested. Not recommended as a first Iain (M.) Banks read.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Probably his most underrated work, far closer in tone and texture to “M” than his mainstream fiction. But yeah…engrossing.

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    • My first introduction to his books was just a couple of years ago with “Use Of Weapons”. Since then Iain (M) Banks has become my favorite writer. With “A Song Of Stone” I loved his use of language (flowery, beautiful and poetic) to counter/balance the ugliness of the subject, and to show the different facets of man, simply genius.

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      • Aye, you’re spot on. His prose is so warm, even when the action is darker than dark. A stunning writer, and a nice chap to boot – if you ever have the chance to attend a book reading of his, take it.

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  2. Posted by Sarah Schafer on March 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

    I can’t lie and say I enjoyed the book. It was my first Iain Banks novel, so I think I’ll give something else a try, but I am not entirely sold on the author. I disliked egotistical Abel, and pathetic, submissive Morgan so intensely that by the end all I felt was a kind of hollow vindication. Although his writing (and vocabulary!) skill is great, I got the feeling that many pages were wasted with verbosity.

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    • After I read A Song of Stone (and wrote my review) I went to a couple sites to read other reviews (both negative and positive). I was surprised that I could agree with most of the of reviews from both ends of the spectrum. I’ve read over a dozen of his books (most with the M, Iain M. Banks), A Song of Stone (so far) had the most “flowery” language.

      If you are into sci-fi I would suggest Use of Weapons or Player of games (my 2 favorites (M) books). Iain Banks most acclaimed book would have to be A Wasp Factory (Dark, Twisted and unpredictable). My personal favorite is probably Walking on Glass. I’m probably not the best person to give recommendations (for Banks), since I really enjoy all of his books.

      If you do read more of his books please let me know which one(s) and what you thought (good or bad).

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