A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I am absolutely embarassed that it took me a month to read this book. I began my venture with the Starks on a camping trip down in Austin. Between life, gaming, and a flurry of actual WORK… I haven’t taken the time to read.
The other reason I didn’t want to read was I wanted to draw this book out as long as I could. Rarely am I pulled in that quickly. By the second chapter I was proclaiming this to be my new favorite book. If I were less passionate, I wouldn’t be a writer.
Passionate, yet fault-finding.
My brother had suggested this book to me during one of our holiday-and-birthday phone calls. (When I told him I was reading it, he swears he never suggested this book to me but was no less excited that I was enjoying it.) The sheer size of it required that it sit on my bookshelf and marinate a bit. Atlas Shrugged has made me very wary as to which tome-sized wonders I dedicate my time.
Less backstory, more review.
It is the tale of the Seven Kingdoms (and beyond). At times it is very fantasy based. At other times, the fantasy goes only as far as there being no “Seven Kingdoms.” Knights, kings, lords, ladies…. it has the works as far as medieval fantasy goes. Direwolves are brought back from extinction. Dragons… well…. I’d rather not talk about the dragons.
Of course, there are the Others. Pure fantasy there, but nothing worse that what is being flooded into popular culture with the Cullens.
The story was an amazing array of individual viewpoints, much like Faulkner, but somehow seems to progress so much easier than As I Lay Dying. We are kept abreast of what is happening from viewpoints of people we know and can empathize with. Hearing their individual thoughts helps the reader to understand the progress and why it was necessary.
Beautifully written. Gripping. I can walk away and not FEEL like I just read an 800 page book. (You know that feeling…) The characters are strong, easily loved. The story progresses well and to the point where I can see a continued series and even why HBO was extremely smart to pick this series up.
My “beef,” so to speak, is with the ending. Really? REALLY? You want to go there?!? End it with the Riverrun scene. Don’t let Daeneryrs screw it up. Or let her screw it up… give her one last scene…. but really?!? I knew you were going to do it the first time she felt “The Heat.” I had hopes you wouldn’t. I really really hoped you wouldn’t. Then it was more like going to the dentist… just get it over with so I can go on with life. Ugh.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Picked this up as an easy read after Game of Thrones. It appears on BBC’s Top 100 Reads list, coming in at number 59.
As far as a level of read, it is somewhere below Harry Potter… probably somewhere in the range of the Al Capone novels and Neverending Story. Probably not a book your 13-year-old will come running to and if they do, it will only last a day or so.
That being said, the story follows the exploits of a young Artemis Fowl (who would have guessed!) as he tries to exploit gold out of the fairy world. A hostage, troll battle, and time-stop later, the story ends. It doesn’t appear to be a moralistic story (because, well… he gets what he wants), nor does it really capture my imagination. I found myself putting down the book going, “Well, that was cute!”
Then again, maybe the British enjoy bland stories.