Review: George R. R. Martin – A Dance with Dragons

George R. R. Martin - A Dance with DragonsWell I’ve finally made it to the end of this behemoth of a book! If I’d bought it differently, it would actually have been two books, but my set had it all in one, so it was a long hard slog to make it to the end!

Even though it’s taken me almost two weeks to read the 1000+ pages, I was engrossed throughout. If I hadn’t had work to go to, I’d probably have read it in a few days!

By this point in the story, we’re so involved in all the characters that you’ve got a definite emotional attachment to your favourites, even though the start of the book didn’t have too much of my personal favourites.

It was slightly strange seeing characters you thought were long gone making a come back under a different guise. The first time it happened it took me a while to figure out, but then I was on my lookout for it happening again.

I did find that I had a bit of deja vu throughout the book, with Martin repeating certain phrases that stood out quite a lot to me. There were also some points where I did find myself drifting off from the book and turning pages without realising what was happening. so at some points I could tell I wasn’t enjoying it as much as other parts.

The ending though. Oh, the ending. I was reading it at my desk at lunchtime and it was like gut punch after gut punch. Not what I expected to happen to conclude the book, although by now I don’t think I should be surprised.

However much I’ve enjoyed reading this series, I am very much looking forward to getting back to something a little more light-hearted with a little less death and war. It’ll be nice to make some more progress through my to-read list too!

4/5

Review: George R. R. Martin – A Feast For Crows

George R. R. Martin - A Feast For CrowsLooking at the reviews of this book on Goodreads, it seems most people are annoyed about the fact that it took so long for this one to come out after the last one. Thankfully, since I’m behind the crowd as usual, I don’t have that problem. However, with only one book left for me to read, I think I’m probably soon going to be in the same place as everyone else, impatiently waiting for the next one!

However, back to the book in hand. I have to say that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one as much to start with and it did take me a fair few chapters to truly get engrossed, but in fact by the time it got to the end, I was enjoying it just as much, and if not more, than the previous four.

The main reason I was aprehensive at first was the sudden addition of a lot of new characters. I had pretty much just got used to the myriad of characters from the previous books, and then Martin suddenly decides to include a whole bunch more. At first I found this quite annoying, trying to keep up with who was who, but that quickly faded and I was back to being engrossed in the story.

*Possible spoilers from here on*

It surprised me that a few characters were hardly mentioned at all, Rob, Tyrion and Daenerys being the main culprits. I personally didn’t think there was enough of Arya either, but she’s always been my favourite so I was bound to think that.

It was very nice to get to know the other characters a bit better though, particularly Samwell and Brienne. And I’m very sure that since the next book is called ‘A Dance with Dragons’, we’ve got plenty of Daenerys to come.

As well as complaining about the length of time that this book took to be released, a lot of the reviewers on Goodreads complain about the pace of this book being far too slow. I personally can’t say that I found this a problem. I was engrossed from start to finish, and would have read it much quicker if only I’d had more time for reading.

Granted, there wasn’t quite as much action as the previous tomes, but it’s nice to take a step back sometimes and get a bit more of the backstory and the history and politics of the seven kingdoms without gratuitous killing and raping. Although there’s still plenty of that to be found, so if that’s what you like, you won’t be disappointed.

The book ended on rather a high for me, with my most despised character Cersei looking like she might finally get her comeuppance for all her scheming and lying, and her brother Jaime ignoring her pleas for help. I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, so I hope that it concludes the way that I hope it will. Although knowing Martin, it most likely won’t. I don’t seem to have got much of what I wanted from this series, although I was warned not to form attachments to my favourite characters so I guess that’s my fault really.

I did get a brief feeling of excitement every time two unrelated characters crossed paths, hoping beyond hope that they might realise their connection so that they could help each other out, but that never happened. But hopefully some of my more treasured characters will be reunited soon. Hopefully, but probably not.

We’ll see what A Dance with Dragons brings, but at over 1000 pages, it might be a while before the next review!

4/5

Review: George R. R. Martin – A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold

George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Blood and GoldWow wow wow wow wow!

(Be warned, this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read this far yet, click away now!)

Somehow, these books keep getting better and better. If I hadn’t had to go to work, I could have carried on reading all day, I was so enthralled in what was happening. There have been more twists and turns in this book than any so far, and plenty of times when I’ve wanted to throw my iPad against the wall because I was so appalled at what Martin had done to my favourite characters.

No more so than when I read the Red Wedding. If I wasn’t on my lunchbreak sat at my desk in a busy office I could have cried when Robb and Catelyn died. And when it looked like poor Arya would never get away from the hound, I had all my fingers crossed that she’d eventually be free. I could go on and on about all the times when I dismayed at Martin’s choices, but we’d be here all day!

I am glad though that I’m finally starting to warm to Daenerys. I always found myself reading her chapters without the same level of involvement as all the rest, but I don’t feel quite that way anymore, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens when her dragons are full grown.

I would love to make some guesses about what is going to happen in the next book, but I honestly don’t think there’s any point. The series is so unpredictable that I’d almost certainly never be right. But whatever happens, I just know that it’s going to be just as much (if not more) of a page turner than the last four. Even if it is almost 800 pages long!

5/5

Review: George R. R. Martin – A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow

George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Steel and SnowOur holiday to the caravan was the perfect opportunity to sit down and make some good progress through this series. I really just want to get to the end so that I can finally start to watch the TV series and talk to my best friend about it all without telling her off all the time to try and avoid spoilers.

This book had way more twists and turns than the last one, there were so many times when I was completely shocked that something was about to happen, and then Martin did a complete 360 and it didn’t happen after all. Like when it looked as if Daenerys was going to sell one of her three dragons, I was absolutely flabbergasted that she would do such a thing, and totally relieved when it turned out that she had another plan up her sleeve all along.

My favourite character still has to be little Arya, I’m really just waiting for the moment when she’s finally re-united with her family, I just hope she’s not one of the many characters who seem to meet the sharp end of Martin’s pen and meet an early demise.

I never really liked Sansa, but I do now feel a certain level of sympathy for her having been married to Tyrion. Don’t get me wrong, I do actually really like Tyrion as a character, but he’s most definitely not the kind of husband that Sansa has been dreaming of all her (short) life, and I also don’t think that she’s the kind of bride that Tyrion would have picked for himself either. I’m looking forward to seeing where that storyline is headed.

According to my Kindle, I’m now almost 50% through the entire series, and in my opinion, it just keeps getting better and better. Once I’ve stopped reading, I sometimes find it hard to get back into the book again, but once I’ve been sat down and reading for ten minutes or so, it feels like I never want to put it down again, I get so immersed in the world.

4/5

Review: George R. R. Martin – A Clash of Kings

20140628-081516-29716722.jpgWell I actually started reading this book last year, right after I started reading the first book, but I got a little overwhelmed and gave it up. But I was ready for it this time. My dad bought the set on Kindle last year, so I signed in with his kindle account on my iPad so I could read the books without carrying them around. No need to fill my handbag with an 800 beast!

Rather than start from the middle where I gave up last time, I decided I’d be better reading it from the start, and I’m glad I did because there was a lot of stuff that I’d forgotten about. As you probably know, Game of Thrones is kinda epic, with a lot of characters involved. At first this can be quite overwhelming, but you get used to it quite quickly.

I did have favourite characters and characters whose chapters I looked forward to reading, the main three were Arya, Bran and Tyrion. And while I liked the whole book, I didn’t like the chapters of Catelyn or Daenerys as much. From seeing the trailers from the latest TV series (4, I think), I know that Daenerys is supposed to become a very strong character, so maybe she’ll grow on me. I’m holding off on watching any of the TV programme until I’ve read all of the books so I don’t spoil it for myself!

I liked the fact that in the book you don’t always see things first hand, so you might only find out that something major has happened to one character through the conversation of another. This caught me out late in the book when I thought one of my favourite characters had died, and I spent the next few chapters panicking that it was true and praying it wasn’t!

I have to say, I have no idea how one person can imagine a story quite as epic as this, I’d love to see what was going on inside Martin’s brain when he dreamt up this story. Can’t wait to crack on with book three now!

Review: George R. R. Martin – A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin - Game of ThronesBefore I started this book, I had watched the first 4 or 5 episodes of the first TV series based on this book, so I thought I knew what was coming. Oh, how wrong I was. I’ve never read a book where so many of the main characters don’t make it to the end (that is, if you can make out who the main characters should be).

There are many, many characters in this book, and my dad had warned me that I may have trouble keeping up with who was who, but I actually enjoyed that we got to see the unfolding story from more than one angle. It does make it a little harder to know who to root for, although we’re pretty safe in the knowledge that the Lannister’s wouldn’t be the right group to back.

I’ve never read a book on this scale before, and especially not one that has another 6 books after it. I did find the length of the book quite daunting at first, and the fact that I had to carry around a book as heavy as a brick in my handbag kind of made me wish I had a kindle (but not quite). It took me a few chapters to get truly involved in the book, but once I’d got past the initial introductions, I was hooked. I actually finished this book a few days ago and have already started on book two, I just can’t put it down.

I was a bit sad when the main character (in my opinion) died, and then the family was broken up and scattered, but I quite like the fact that I just can’t guess what is going to happen next like I can with most of the books I read.

I think you can probably tell that I’m giving this book 5/5. Awesome.

5-5