Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “george r r martin”

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #24: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings (1999) by George R.R. Martin is the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m usually not a huge reader of epic fantasy tomes, but these books have received so much popular attention and acclaim that I was starting to feel left out. I enjoyed A Game of Thrones and was looking forward to the second novel. However, A Clash of Kings was more on the disappointing and frustrating side than the enjoyable side. I felt like I pushed through hundreds and hundreds of pages, and was rewarded with nothing. With the Stark family split up, the family dynamic that interested me most was gone.

Read the rest of my review here.

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llp’s #CBR IV Review 20: The Game of Thrones, Vol. 1 by George R. R. Martin, Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson

I think the graphic novel version of this series is… unnecessary, really.

llp’s #CBR Review 17: Fever Dream by George R. R. Martin

This book was one of my few impulse book purchases, drawn in my Martin’s name. It is an ok book, really, but vampire novels are not really up my alley. I am sure it would seem better if my mind wasn’t tainted by Twilight osmosis.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #16: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I was a little slow to jump on the bandwagon and read A Game of Thrones (1999) by George R.R. Martin. I’m not a big reader of epic fantasy novels, and even after I heard good things about it, I was wary of devoting so much time to such a long series.

But I got into the characters and story almost as soon as I started reading. I am now halfway through the first season on HBO, and I have the second book waiting on my kindle. Once I get a little more free time, I’ll definitely work my way through the rest of the series.

Martin has created a very intricate and complex world filled with power-hungry leaders and feuding lords somewhat reminiscent of European history. But there are also small glimmers of dragons, magic, and zombie-like creatures scattered throughout that, surprisingly, do not affect the reality of the characters’ lives.

Read the rest of the review here.

Shaman’s Cannonball read #CBR04 review #20: A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Major spoilers, obviously.

 

I was a latecomer to the Game of Thrones party. It wasn’t until after I had watched the first episode of the TV series in mixed horror and fascination, that I knew who George Martin was. As an avid Tolkien fan (you know Tolkien: Fairies, elves, hobbits, heroes and maidens), this particular brand of fantasy, with all its sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, sellswords and whores, flux and greyscale was completely new to me.

 

As a latecomer, I skipped the long wait others had to suffer between books and dived right in. Bought the first four. Loved some, loathed some. And then it was time for A Dance With Dragons. I bought this book a year ago, as soon as it came out, but put off reading it maybe because just looking at it made me collapse under its weight. This year I couldn’t put it off any longer. I started reading it almost two months ago, and made slow progress. A few pages every day were about all I could fit into my life, at a time where work and other worries occupied my mind.

 

I was bored. I had trouble keeping up with who was who and who was doing what to whom. Whose side was Bolton on? Who conspired against Daenerys? And how did all of those minor characters fit into the story? My eyes glazed over the lengthy meal descriptions that seem to be a Martin trademark. I had favourites, of course. Arya. Theon. Tyrion. I still looked forward to reading their chapters. Martin finally bringing back my favourite characters was probably what kept me reading.

 

The rest of my review can be found on my blog.

Amurph11’s #CBR4 Review #21, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

“If I look back I am lost.”  – A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

I’m officially on the bandwagon, y’all.

I will make no pretense of book-snobbery here: I started reading the books because I started watching the show one rainy afternoon, proceeded to rip through both seasons in less than two weeks, and was too impatient to wait for the release of the third. The Song of Ice and Fire series was the inaugural purchase of my birthday Kindle, which I got on the condition that it would only be used for a) books whose authors don’t need the extra money for a hardback, and b) traveling. As you can imagine, that latter condition has flown entirely out the window. I have spent most of the past two weeks with my nose buried in an e-reader, because these books are awesome.

If you’ve seen the show, I don’t have to summarize the book for you because the 1st season hews very closely to the plot of the first book (the second season is another story). If you haven’t seen the show, than all you need to know about it is this: it’s an ensemble fantasy that revolves around the political machinations of a medieval-type society with engaging characters and a propensity towards the graphic. If you like that sort of thing, it’s unlikely that you will be able to put this series down.

As it turns out, I like this sort of thing. I fell in love with the TV show the moment Arya ditched sewing lessons to pick up a bow and arrow and show up her younger brother – enough to keep up with the occasionally confusing plotlines and gratuitous objectification of women. Reading the books have been helpful on both fronts, managing to fill in a lot of those plot holes while employing at least 80% fewer prostitute fisting scenes (there’s a hole joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to be the one to make it). In fact, this is one of those rare series that is probably best read in tandem with the television show it inspired; having a familiar face to connect with a character helps to keep track of all the names and their extraneous consonants (it also helps that the casting is so spot on – I wish Peter Dinklage were the star of all of my books).

Like many books of the genre, the strength of Martin’s writing lies not in prose, but plot (and seriously, the prose could use some work: apparently in Westeros water is only capable of “sluicing,” and the only sound a horse can make is to “whicker nervously.”). Interestingly, for a series with such a profusion of major characters, A Song of Ice and Fire follows the hero’s journey structure almost to the letter. The whole of the 1st book of Martin’s series serves as one big inciting incident, the best example of this being the Stark family. The Starks begin the novel entrenched in their lives at Winterfell, but over the course of the book, every single member of the family is irreparably changed, an upheaval that in turn affects every other character in the book. By the end of the novel we find ourselves in a very different world than the one we began – and that’s just the first act.

Luckily, despite being a fan of the hero’s journey as a plot structure, Martin is no fan of heroes in general. We enter his world as it teeters on the brink of chaos. The rules are ever-changing, and the only way to live in such a world is to keep up. The heroes, therefore, are not the honorable characters, but the nimble. Martin’s refusal to play by the rules in this regard forces us as readers to be nimble as well, which is what makes his books such a genuine pleasure to read.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’m already halfway through the second book.

Recommended for: The strong of stomach. And on a related note, the likely small population of people who love strong female characters but won’t be turned off by the period-appropriate-but-still-harrowing treatment of rape.

Read When: You’re at the beach. The overuse of the phrase “Winter is coming” will make you appreciate the weather all the more.

Listen with: The theme song of the show, obviously. That or bawdy drinking tunes about wenches.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #9: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I feel like I might be the last person on Earth to read these books. I hadn’t even heard of the series prior to the television series being developed (I know, bad nerd!). After that, I resisted getting into it because it didn’t seem like my cup of tea and I didn’t want to be the one person who did not get the appeal of the hugely popular book and TV trend (::cough:: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ::cough::). Thankfully, I found this book very satisfying and am excited to get into the rest of the books.

Now, I’ll admit that I cheated a bit here and watched the TV show first. Normally I don’t do that, but I was aware that that were approximately 800 characters in play and I do a lot better remembering names when I can put a face to them. So I read this book after watching the first season of the show, and I was impressed at how faithful the show was to the source material. In fact, that might be my only complaint here – the show was so detailed, it made it hard to get through the book because not much was left out. That’s my own fault, of course, and a very small complaint.

For those who are not familiar with this series, it is set in the fictional land of Westeros. Several years prior to the first book, there had been an uprising againt the “Mad King” and Robert Baratheon, with the aid of Ned Stark and many others, took over as King. There is much discontent throughout the land and many individuals and families conspire to further their own agendas, some even plotting to take the crown. I know that’s a very general description, but this book is dense and packed with characters and plots that would take pages just to describe.

What I love most about this book is the characterization. Fantasy is not always my genre, but this is a very grounded fantasy story and the characters shine more than anything. Martin develops clear and distinct voices for each of his characters, alternating voices each chapter, and really when you think about how many characters there are, that is quite a remarkable thing. He’s also good at getting to the core of human behavior – greed, lust, ambition, honor, naivete, innocence, it’s all there. He’s very deft at weaving these things naturally into the story, and it only strengthens a very interesting and compelling narrative.

Martin wraps up a few storylines while setting up several more for future books. This was a lengthy book (clocking in at 675 pages), but totally engrossing and one of the best stories with the strongest characters I’ve read in quite a long time. I will be diving into the next volumes very soon.

Pinky’s #CBR4 Book#1: A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

http://hotinkreviews.blogspot.com/2012/02/cannonball-read-iv-book1-dance-with.html

squeakytoy’s #CBR4 Review #03: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Some spoilers ahead, be warned.

A very reading-intense semester started, so it took me forever to finish a Clash of Kings.  I did not allow myself to escape into the long, convoluted political mess until I finished homework, because otherwise I would never have gotten any of it done.

I thought A Clash of Kings was better than A Game of Thrones, but I think there might have been an unfair advantage.  I read A Game of Thrones after watching the first season of the HBO show, so there were no surprises.  I went into A Clash of Kings blindly and was rewarded with all of the twists and turns.  (I can’t wait to see how they handle it in the next two seasons.)

So, we begin our story where A Game of Thrones left off: King Robert’s death has left a gaping political void in the kingdoms, and everyone and their mother seems to have claims to the throne and reasons why the other possibilities should be killed.  Joffrey is still currently on the main throne, but the kingdom has begun to splinter.  Robb claims his kingship in the north and Stannis and Renly (both brothers of the deceased King Robert) both argue that they should have Robert’s vacated throne.  Arguments, rivalries, and battles erupt everywhere (there’s even a chapter with a naval battle!).  Even beyond the battlefields, there are all sorts of political intrigue and back-stabbing and other lovely things.  I thought Martin balanced the two types of clashes well, even if I enjoyed the individual clashes as opposed to the large battle scenes.

I have issues with books and movies with large casts.  I always get lost on the first read-through/watch-through because I can’t remember who any of these people are and why I should care.  Thankfully, it got better with the second book of the series.  The way Martin divides his book up into chapters through the POV of one character or another helps me digest the large cast.  I can figure out who people are in smaller doses—YAY!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this book, my favorite characters are still my favorites (Arya, Dany, and Tyrion), new reasons to hate others (Theon! Please imagine that in an angry voice, if you will), and some new starting-to-be-favorites (The Hound).  I love how this book is upping the ante with the resurgence of magic and battles between gods old and new.  The reader knows very little about it, but the Lord of Light (among other users of magic) is horrifying already.

Because the book took me so long to read, I have fewer exact favorite quotes and scenes, but I particularly enjoy anything with Dany and her misfit band of Dothraki.  (If anyone’s wondering, I’m rooting for Dany to take the throne.)  I made a comment to a friend during the scene where Dany leaves the House of the Undying with it in flames behind her: I just burned your gods, no big deal.  She’s fierce as fuck and I can’t wait to read more about her.

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