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A deeply secret organization of highly trained defenders of freedom and goodness. A drug lordess hell bent on world domination. Gratuitous violence, espionage, sexual encounters, boozing, cool weapons, car chases, kidnapped Elton John, killer bionic dogs. Do I have your attention?
The official screenplay novelization of Kingsman: The Golden Circle by Tim Waggoner opens with action, and doesn’t let off the gas, save for a few slower scenes of heavy drinking, sex, or a brief plot explanation. I do mean brief, as the plot cherishes the simple. I half-expected Eggsy, the main character, to turn to the audience during his conversations with other personalities in the book to turn and ask, “Did everybody get that?”
Fight, swear, death scene, drink, verbal exchange in regards to plot development, repeat. The book reads like a classic piece of road literature; episodic action coupled with culturally significant booze and drug selection.
Kingsman is a difficult-to-define genre of movie, almost a blender of spy action mixed with humorous over-the- top action and a side of spoof. Waggoner tries very hard to mimic the farcical and satirical tone of the movies, and I would shake his hand if he walked into my living room. I can’t imagine a more difficult tone to take while writing a novel based on someone else’s screenplay.
However, there are some struggles, most notably with the inner monologue of characters, especially with the supporting cast. The flow of the story when told from anyone but Eggsy’s point of view felt occasionally disconnected, almost as if by unintended narrative interruption. I also love the F-word, but Waggoner uses it so frequently it loses a little flavor. These issues were easy to overlook, as Waggoner, to his benefit, keeps the story moving quickly.
To be honest, if you pick this book up with the goal of exploring plot and character development, you have to set the bar pretty low. It’s just not that kind of a deal. Go read The Grapes of Wrath. If the goal is to enjoy yourself, get lost for a while in the world of The Kingsman and all the ridiculous, excessive, overdone violence and hedonistic pleasures of this earth, than by all means, shoot for the stars.
All things aside, there’s a certain place for books that allow you to relish in an easy reading jaunt through the world where the good fellas take body blows but are always the last guys standing when the bell rings. Much like the movies, Waggoner doesn’t try too hard to make this franchise something it’s not. It’s a good time, and what the hell is wrong with having a good time? Grab a comfy chair and a glass of whiskey and enjoy. Cheers!