Review #24: Savages by Don Winslow

11 Apr

Savages is part prose, part poetry and a smorgasbord of drugs, blood, guns, sex, youth, race, money and power.  It’s a quick, bloody Game of Thrones style power struggle and, much like in Game of Thrones, there are no guarantees main characters won’t be slaughtered along the way.  Basically, the Walmart of cartels tries to take over Ben & Chon’s wildly successful mom & pop hydroponic pot growing business and when they’re rebuked, the cartel kidnaps Ben & Chon’s shared lover Ophelia.  Chaos and savagery ensue as Ben & Chon mount an elaborate multiphase plan to recover their lover.

The book holds your interest, if only because the players are trainwrecks you can’t tear your eyes from.  You never know who the smartest guy in the room is, and every player makes both brilliant moves and excruciating miscalculations during the course of the story.  Certain characters capture your attention more than others.Like Ben, the Berkley pihlanthropist/businessman/botanist who prides himself on his peaceful business and superior intelligence analysis who sinks into violence over the course of the novel. Or Ophelia, the bored little rich girl who half-heartedly wants to escape her shallow, bohemian existance for the sake of notoriety.  And La Reina, Queen of the cartel, seems more focused on proving her power than wielding it.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this book: the Baja Cartel, it’s competitors, local gangs in LA, computer hackers, Ben, Chono, Ophelia, La Reina’s henchmen and the women controlling the henchmen’s lives. It can be overwhelming to keep it straight at times.

Of note, Oliver Stone‘s movie adaptation will be released this summer. The cast is eclectic but makes total sense after reading the book.  The movie features Aaron Johnson as Ben, Taylor Kitsch) as Chon, Salma Hayek as Elena, the Queen, John Travolta as Dennis, Blake Lively as O and Uma Thurman as O’s real housewife style mom.

You can check out the trailer here, or see below. It looks…good? Hyper violent, maybe like a decent alternative summer movie.  And LaineyGossip reports that Blake Lively is apparently crazy, shockingly awesome in it and totally throws down against Salma Hayek in a pivotal scene. So it’s probably worth checking out just to see if that’s true.


One Response to “Review #24: Savages by Don Winslow”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #24: Savages by Don Winslow « Cannonball Read IV - April 11, 2012

    […] More, including the movie trailer and casting breakdown… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in 3 stars – a good book and tagged aaron johnson, blake lively, book reviews, books, CBR4, Crime, don winslow, hellokatieo, oliver stone, reviews, savages, taylor kitsch, thrillers […]

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