Monday, June 27, 2011

GBC Book Review: A Song of Ice and Fire Series

Oh right! I'm supposed to be reviewing the books I'm reading, not just moving on to the next one...

This review is actually for books two, three and four in A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (book one is reviewed here). The books, in order, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. I'm writing them all up as one because honestly can't remember where the divisions in the stories occurred. Plus, they're all part of the same series and I loved them so...

In short: if you have any interest in fantasy as a genre, then you need to read these books. If you're not a fantasy fan but you enjoy historical fictions, then you should also need to read these books.

The books continues the three stories laid out in A Game of Thrones: the struggle for power in the kingdom of Westeros after the death of King Robert (I'm not really giving anything away. It becomes apparent very quickly that Robert needs to die for the story to take off so even if you haven't read book one, I'm not ruining anything), the coming of winter which is bringing Others and white walkers from beyond 'the Wall' in the North, and the 'coming of age' of the youngest Targaryen across the sea in the Free Cities who is determined to win back her father's throne.

The book chapters are broken up into characters so instead of getting one over arching voice through the narrative, you see those events through the eyes of that character. The result is I found myself feeling a lot more sympathy for characters I would have otherwise despised and I wanted to scream at characters I thought should have known better. It also went a long way to helping stop people from being black and white which is one of my biggest issues with the fantasy genre.

I sped through A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, (almost too quickly, I'd like to go back and re-read so I can enjoy the story more) and found myself reading well past my bed time; however, I found A Feast of Crows faltered a bit and it's taken me a bit longer to finish it.

Originally A Feast of Crows was supposed to be one book but it grew too large and got chopped up into two books with the second half (A Dance of Dragons) due out in July (well after the 'year or two', Martin originally promised). I felt as though Martin realised he wouldn't have enough material for two full books and so a couple of unnecessary side stories were introduced in the fourth book. The side stories either could have been skipped or could have been dealt with much quicker than they were.

Still, it was a heck of a lot more enjoyable than some of the crap I've suffered through in the past and I can't wait for book five (to come out in paperback in a year).

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