Tag: Warfare

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.

 


J. R. R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of the Ring | Review

Title: The Fellowship of the Ring

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 566

Rating: 9/10

 

J. R. R. Tolkien - The Fellowship of the Ring

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of the Ring

 

The Fellowship of the Ring is where it all began, at least when it comes to the Lord of the Rings trilogyThe Hobbit is actually the perfect introduction to Tolkien’s work, but Fellowship is where it all kicks off for real. Now, I usually try to avoid going into the story line too much, because I don’t want to accidentally spoil it for you, but I have 566 words to fill and so it can’t hurt to quickly touch on it.

Basically, in this book, the fellowship is formed and a party of adventurers sets out to destroy the One Ring, a magical ring that renders its wearer invisible but which comes with all sorts of adverse side effects. Along their way, they have to deal with everything from goblins to Balrogs, and suffice to say that whilst there are plenty of friendly faces along the way, they also have their fair share of enemies, some of which (like the Nazgul) have supernatural powers that it’s difficult to face.

The Fellowship of the Ring is notable, in fact, because it’s really the only book in the trilogy which focuses on an individual party – in The Two Towers, they get separated, and in The Return of the King, we mostly see large-scale warfare. It’s an interesting approach, but I’ve always been a fan of party-based fantasy novels in particular, which is probably why I prefer The Fellowship of the Ring to any of Tolkien’s other works, at least in this series.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Tolkien has a way with words which is simultaneously incredible and infuriating – he can often be difficult to understand, because at an intellectual level, it’s often difficult just to process the sentences. Take my advice and stick with it – it’s worth it. If necessary, think about breaking up your reading by doing 50-100 pages at a time and then switching out to another book. I didn’t have to do that for Fellowship because I loved it, but I did resort to it before I reached the end of the trilogy.

Despite the difficulty that it poses to some readers, it’s still worth sticking with this and getting through it – it’s an iconic piece of literature, and one which will be enjoyed for generations to come. By not reading it, you’re missing out on a piece of our shared culture, and that would be a shame – The Fellowship of the Ring, and its sequels, are so iconic that they spawned a new generation of writers, including a certain George R. R. Martin.

You see, nobody else can write like Tolkien – in fact, his style is so unique to him that I’m pretty sure I could recognise a sample of his writing even if the character names and any other identifiable information was erased from it and it was compared to some work by his contemporaries, and his imitators. He’s such a badass that writing an incredible trilogy just wasn’t enough – he also had to create languages, histories and timelines for the entire world that he’d created. Somehow, just knowing that that background information is there and that you can read more about if you want to ends up making the whole book feel much more realistic, if fantasy can be realistic.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Click here to buy The Fellowship of the Ring.

 


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