Tag: Samwell Tarly

George R. R. Martin – A Feast for Crows | Review

Title: A Feast for Crows

Author: George R. R. Martin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 852

Rating: 8/10

 

George R. R. Martin - A Feast for Crows

George R. R. Martin – A Feast for Crows

 

A Feast for Crows is the fourth book in George R. R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, the series which was adapted for television as Game of Thrones. I’ve powered through the first four books in a couple of months, and I’m really enjoying them so far, although A Feast for Crows is arguably my least favourite one so far. That said, there’s still a lot of cool stuff to talk about.

I think the main reason that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as any of the other ones is that it doesn’t feature much about Daenerys Stormborn or Jon Snow. I find it pretty difficult to choose a favourite character from the books, but those two are two of my favourites, and they’re barely even mentioned here. Still, I’m of the understanding that they’ll be back in force in the next book, which is winging its way to me as we speak.

In this book, Tommen Baratheon is on the iron throne, but Joffrey’s little brother isn’t really old enough to know much about kinging. That said, he does learn a lot from his new wife, Margaery Tyrell – I don’t like her, but I don’t like Cersei Lannister either, and in this book the two of them start to engage in a polite form of warfare. There’s a twist towards the end of the book, but I’m not going to tell you what that is.

 

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin

 

You also learn a little more of Samwell Tarly, who’s an underrated character in my opinion. He’s one of my favourites of the men of the Night’s Watch, mainly because he’s a cowardly hero, an antihero of sorts – he wants to be like Jon Snow, and he can’t be. But that doesn’t stop him from being awesome, especially when it comes to him protecting Gilly (Craster’s daughter) and the infant that she’s suckling.

I could go on and on about the people of the books, and the relationships that link them all together, but I’m not going to – I don’t want to spoil it for you when you read it, like I’m sure you’re going to. The thing about the Game of Thrones books is that they really need to be read in chronological order for their maximum effect to be felt, and so I’d encourage you not to make a start on this one until you’ve read the others. That said, once you read the first one, it’s pretty hard for you to put the books down, and you’ll find yourself ploughing through them in no time.

As always, George R. R. Martin’s characterisation is top notch, and so is his world-building – Westeros feels like a real place, but whereas Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books tend to feel like a history textbook, Martin’s books feel much more like a piece of entertainment. That can only be a good thing – it makes it easy to read, even though it’s over eight hundred pages long, and I’m a particular fan of how Martin tees himself up in one book to knock it out of the park in a later one.

 

George R. R. Martin and Peter Dinklage

George R. R. Martin and Peter Dinklage

 

Here, we see a whole bunch of loose ends being tied up, but we’re also given a glimpse of all sorts of possibilities and potential story lines. I’m even half-interested in Sansa Stark, for the first time since I started reading the books – she’s posing as Littlefinger’s bastard daughter, and the two of them make for an interesting combination of characters.

Now, we’re getting to the point where new characters are a necessity, because half of the original characters are dead, dying or missing. Martin introduces us to a few new major characters in this book, but none of them were particularly memorable for me – I’m mainly interested in what’s happening in the north, and so as soon as we go anywhere else, I feel my interest starting to wane. I’m also impatient for Daenerys to meet up with the rest of the characters, and to see what they make of her.

Still, you do get some interesting cross-pollination here, and one of the things that’s always interested me about these books is that the characters cross over and meet each other from time to time, like Littlefinger and Sansa, or like Arya and Samwell Tarly, who meet, briefly, here. One of Martin’s strengths is how strong his characters are, and so when two interesting characters come into contact, you never know what to expect.

Overall, then, I gave A Feast for Crows the lowest score I’ve given to any of George R. R. Martin’s books, but I’ve still given it an 8/10. I can’t get enough of the epic fantasy series, and I’ve already ordered the next book, which is his most recent at the time of publication. I’m not sure what I’m going to do after I finish reading it – I guess I’ll watch the TV series, which I’ve already made  start on.

 

George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin

 

Click here to buy A Feast for Crows.

 


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

Title: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold

Author: George R. R. Martin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 642

Rating: 8/10

 

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

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

 

Blood and Gold is the second instalment of A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series which you might know better as the series that Game of Thrones, the TV series, is based on. That makes this technically the fourth book, and so far I’ve been able to read them in order and to stay ahead from the series, although the first episode of the sixth season aired the day before I finished the book. I’ve been holding back on watching it, because I prefer to imagine the characters in my head before I witness them on the screen.

This book is probably my least favourite book so far in the series, although I still gave it an 8/10 which is above my general rating for a professional quality book. It also features a lot of key plot elements, including the Red Wedding, which I’d already heard about before I even started on the books. Luckily, I didn’t know the specifics, and so when it did happen, I got to experience it for the first time – it is a pretty big deal, but it felt over-hyped when I got to it.

Here, you get to watch character development in action – in particular, Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly of the Nights Watch grow even more three-dimensional, and we can start to see them coming into their own. Stannis Baratheon also made a couple of decisions which impressed me, and which simultaneously changed my opinion of his character whilst reinforcing who he was all along.

 

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin

 

But there are also a couple of lazier elements to the plots – one of the problems that I have with George R. R. Martin is that he seems to keep on killing people off and then bringing them back to life again. Done well, this can create a decent twist in the story – however, when it keeps on happening over and over again, it jerks you out of the story every time someone else dies. Instead of accepting it as a part of a story, you start to question whether the author’s telling the truth, and that makes you unsuspend your disbelief and leave Westeros for the next couple dozen of pages, until you have the death independently confirmed elsewhere.

Still, I read this across the space of eight days – I wouldn’t have been able to read it that quickly if I didn’t enjoy it, and I’m still showing no signs of slowing down. There are two more books for me to read until I’m up-to-date with the author’s latest releases, but he’s due to release another one pretty soon – either way, once I’m up-to-date with the books, I’ll be able to watch the series just like everyone else.

One good thing about Martin’s work is the level of detail that sits behind it – in this book, even more new characters are added, and several minor ones become more major. With each additional book in the series, you get to see another layer of the complexity – some of the story lines in this book were set in motion in A Game of Thrones, right back at the very start of the series. Considering the timespan of the books’ releases, you start to see how much planning must have gone into it – he’s tying up loose ends here that he introduced ten years earlier, and there are still other elements of Martin’s epic that are on-going even now.

Overall, then, whilst this isn’t my favourite book in the series, it’s still well worth reading if you’ve made it this far. And keep your eyes peeled for a couple of high profile deaths.

 

George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin

 

Click here to buy A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold.

 


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