The Scruffy Rube’s #CBR5 Reviews #28-30: Song of Ice And Fire Books 3-5

I’m officially on my victory laps after completing my annual half-cannonball. Now it’s just about setting a new personal best. You can keep up with these and all my reviews of other things at my personal blog

The last time I tried to review a book from George RR Martin I was pilloried as a twit who didn’t/couldn’t understand his genius. I freely admitted I didn’t, that I could be wrong and that I apologized for any offense, but all the tumult made me felt excluded, as if only those who adore Martin can review him.

Still, my wife, devoted both to nerdery and (against all odds) to me, encouraged me to pick the books up again. And after the season finale this spring, I did. Rather than write long reviews I’m boiling my thoughts down to one sentence each…may god/Martin-Uber-fans have mercy on my soul.

For those who enjoy saying “What-the-what?!??!?”: Storm of Swords

A dry first half lays the ground work for as thrilling a set of three hundred pages as the series has ever had, with monumental swings in momentum that turns the heretofore expected plot on its ear.

For those who wonder about the role of religion in politics and war: Feast for Crows

A less dramatic but totally riveting look at the depth and complexity of a few key characters (particularly the ladies), including  an incisive look at the faith & belief systems that have rationalized their desires. (These two books get three stars)

For those who are pot committed: A Dance With Dragons

By this point you need to know what happens next–even if several stories are numbingly repetitive, others are aborted mid-book and more seem utterly inconsequential–this book quenches that thirst. (This one gets the two)

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Reviews 32-34: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Unknown-4This Summer, my two older kids decided to join the swim team at our local pool. Having no idea what kind of commitment that entailed, I agreed, and on the first day, packed a paperback copy of A Game of Thrones into my pool bag — for JUST IN CASE I had a few minutes to read.

Fast-forward almost 3,000 pages…I had no idea that swim team would take up so much time, and that so very much of it would simply be sitting. And waiting. And sitting. And waiting. By the end of the season last week, I had just about finished A Storm of Swords. But enough about the inefficiency of kids’ swimming…time to talk about the game of thrones.

Of course, we watch and love the HBO series. And I had been curious about the books for a while, wondering if reading them would help me understand some of the more complex storylines on the show. I could never keep track of who was so-and-so’s bannerman, and who was king 12 generations ago. But I wasn’t in a huge rush to read the books, because “FANTASY”. I’m not too keen on Tolkien and the like, so I doubted that Martin would have much to offer me.

Boy, am I embarrassed about that assumption.

I’m so glad that I finally dove into this mad, crazy, upsetting, violent, scary, sometimes beautiful, oftentimes hilarious, and all-around amazing world.

And yes, reading the books definitely helped me to understand some of the more detailed plots on the show. But the books are so much more than that. The themes of power, family, honor, and pride are written of again and again, and I find it interesting to follow along to see which characters have which traits, and which characters change over the course of their storyline — both for the better or the worse.

Sure, I have some complaints, but really, they are so minor.

The sheer number of characters is overwhelming. I find myself flipping to the appendix constantly. Who belongs to which house? What’s their sigul? How are they related to other houses? Argh.

And when I’m not looking through the appendix or using wiki to look up the details of a character I’ve already forgotten about, I’m looking at maps. I have no idea where anything is. Ever. I feel like I should already know how close it is from Riverrun to Kings Landing, but really, I have no clue. The maps help. And speaking of maps, why don’t I ever get a map of where the Khaleesi is running around, freeing slaves? I could use a map of her travels, because without one I can’t really grasp the distances traveled by her weary bunch.

However, in general, its been a pretty positive experience. I think Martin is a much more talented writer than I ever would have guessed (seriously, last night when I finished the epilogue to A Storm of Swords, I had goose bumps. That’s some good writing there.). Sometimes I get mad at him (hello, Red Wedding), but other times, I am sort of in awe of his insanity (Purple Wedding? Whee!).

I really enjoyed the first two books, but I think I can safely say that the third was my favorite. The last third of the book was pretty much non-stop batshit crazy, in a good way. I know I’m about to head into the least favorite book of the series, so I hope I’m still as enthusiastic about the Song of Ice and Fire when I finally get around to reading Book 5.

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

Rochelle’s #CBR5 Review #22: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

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I love listening to audio books on long drives (and during presidential primary season) and I tend to do a lot of long drives in the Summer.  This year I finally got back to A Song of Ice and Fire.  And now I remember why I took a break.  Don’t get me wrong, I have loved books 1 – 3, but they are brutal.  Brutally brutal.  Creepily inventively brutal.  Not necessarily inappropriately brutal, I get that this is a brutal, violent world, but by Culthu, these books are brutal.

I am in awe of the way Martin has been able to keep so many balls (or severed body parts) in the air.  As he jumps from story line to story line I never feel like I have to get a refresher on what’s happening.  I never get the characters confused with one another, and I attribute that to excellent writing.   I have complicated feelings about almost all of the characters, again a product of great writing.

I am really looking forward to Book 4, but I’m saving it for next summer.  I need another break.

denesteak’s CBR5 #4: A Storm of Swords (Part 2) by George R.R. Martin

For the longest time, I didn’t realize that the third book for A Song of Ice and Fire was divided into two parts. I finished Part 1 last year, began watching the third season of Game of Thrones, and was just completely perplexed about why the plot seemed so different from what I read.

Anyway, I wised up and quickly finished Part 2 in the middle of the third season. Since the books hew pretty close to the HBO series, anyone who is not up with the books and wish not to be spoiled should probably avoid this review — which, admittedly, is going to be pretty brief.

Where to start, where to start…

Read the rest of my review here!

Even Stevens’s #CBR5 review #15: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords

Ok listen, most people are of two camps with these books: either they’ve read ’em and love ’em or they’ve heard a lot about them but haven’t read them yet. Either way, I feel like everyone and their mom has reviewed these or read reviews of these, and quite frankly the thought of trying to summarize or recap these 924 pages (yes *924*) makes me want to ugly Dawson cry.

So with that, I’m going to tell you this: this book is the third installment in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and it gives a lot of payoff to the events that were set up in A Clash of Kings, and consequences to the events that happened there as well. This book is my favorite so far of the series, and well worth the crazy amount of pages contained within it.

So anyways, I decided what better way to truly represent the experience of reading this book than with a series of gifs (I know some of you are anti-gif and I apologize in advance). Without further ado…

Here’s how I started out reading this book:

And then, because GRRM is a very wordy man, there may have been a bit of this:

But then, THEN. I had been warned that there was a part that would make me throw my book in anger. I thought I had time, but I was WRONG. I read it in public and therefore could neither yell, nor throw anything (well, not without getting arrested probably) but this is what I looked like on the inside:

And finally:

I was seriously angry for an entire day, no joke. However, GRRM slightly made up for it a bit later in the book and I looked a little more like this:

And then GRRM threw out one more bomb, did a mike drop and left me eagerly anticipating the next book and looking like this:

And that rollercoaster of emotion is what you can look forward to experiencing should you choose to read this book and/or series. Which you totally should.

illynew’s #CBR5 Review #3 A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

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***SPOILER ALERT*** ***SPOILER ALERT***  ***SPOILER ALERT***  ***SPOILER ALERT***

Book four and book five are supposed to have concurrent timelines, so I made the dumb decision to read them at the same time – a few chapters in one then a few chapters in the other. Don’t do this. It’s confusing.

A Feast for Crows is basically the day-to-day drudgery of war: strategizing, traveling, miscommunications, horrible conditions, betrayals, attacks, etc. However, the day-to-day drudgery in Westeros is more entertaining than any other kind of drudgery one can experience or imagine.

This is a Cersei, Jon Snow, Arya heavy book and I enjoy all of those characters. Cersei’s back story is revealed, but a bit too much in my opinion. She went to a fortune teller when she was young who foretold her marrying Robert, Robert having umpteen illegitimate children, and her having three incest babies. The fortune teller also revealed that she would see all of her children die and be overthrown by someone younger and more beautiful. If true, that’s beyond foreshadowing. That’s a spoiler in the story.  She thinks it’s Margaery, widowed bride of Joffrey and Renly and current bride of Tommen, but that seems unlikely. I think it foretold of Daenerys coming back, but who knows.

After finishing the fourth book and starting the fifth, I think all of Westeros is falling apart just so Jon and Arya could fulfill their potential. Jon is now commander at the Wall, which may have happened if his dad and Robert had lived and the lands weren’t plunged into war. However, I doubt it. And Arya! No way would this be her life: an apprentice at the most mystical monastery? She would’ve been wed to a lesser son of a decent house, most likely against her will. No way would she be allowed to fight and study such things. They’re my favorite characters, so I’m quite pleased.

However, can anyone tell me why Arya didn’t ask Sam about Jon? She knew he was from the Watch, but didn’t ask about her favorite sibling (probably)? Sam wouldn’t know who she was. She could’ve just asked general questions. It really, really bothered me. [Seriously, if anyone wants to book club this, drop me a line: thisisatesttiat@gmail.com. I’m not so much about theme and symbolism, but I need to talk (gossip) about Arya and Sansa and House Stark!]

Jamie gets more interesting with each book. Time away from Cersei has caused him to grow in amazing ways and for the scales to fall from his eyes. He finally realized what his true love really is: An ambitious sociopath who will use any means (including her lady bits) to get what she wants. The only things she wants are for her children to be protected, power, and Jamie. Jamie seems to have shunned her completely and her power seems to be more illusion than real. Karma’s a bitch to bitches, too. I’m digging it.

That’s all I can really remember. Honestly, I don’t recognize most of the characters or how they fit into the war, but it’s still great.

Something interesting: there were fewer shocking deaths and some false death alarms. I think Mr. Martin is growing fond of his characters. We’ll see . . .

Enjoyable quotes:

“Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old.”

“Too stupid to learn and too stupid to give up.”