Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (George Smiley #1) by John le Carre

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (George Smiley #1) by John le Carre
Release Date: June 1974
Publisher: Random House
Format: eBook
Pages: 400
Rating: 3.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY, 2013 EBC and 2013 GVR

Summary from Amazon:"The first novel in John le Carr√©'s celebrated and New York Times bestselling Karla trilogy featuring George Smiley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a heart-stopping tale of international intrigue.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free deliveryThe man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement-especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor."

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me - some parts I really enjoyed, whilst others I really, really did not. For the first 2/3 or so of the book, I was just really confused - being an espionage novel, there's quite a bit of mystery, which is to be expected, but sometimes it just got way to confusing for me to actually follow the plot. There were so many characters in this novel, that at the beginning I found it hard to a) remember them all and b) discern which were integral to the main story. Ultimately all the characters played some role in the novel, but there were some that I really needed to pay attention too, and at the beginning I found it hard to figure out who these people were. I also found it hard to keep track of what the characters relationships were - at some points, I felt like I needed some sort of diagram showing me how all the characters knew each other.

But, once I started reading the last third of the book, things started to come together. Characters that were really integral to the plot became more obvious, the connections being made were easier to remember, the plot started to make sense, and the book just became more interesting. It took me about 3 weeks to read this book, but the majority of that time was dedicated to that first 2/3 that was confusing - once the book picked up, I flew through it in a couple of days. Overall, I can see that this book would appeal to some people, but it wasn't really for me - a tad too many characters, coupled with a plot that was a tad confusing led to a book that was just a tad interesting.

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