Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - A Song Of Ice And Fire Book 1 Review

Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the Game of Thrones

Summers span decades.Winter can last a lifetime.And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.It will stretch from the south where heat breeds plot,lusts and intrigues to the vast frozen north,where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. The Game of Thrones. You win,or you die


I picked up this behemoth of a book with incredibly high expectations, having heard just about everyone and their brother rave about it.  As a fan of epic fantasy, I was fully expecting myself to become immersed in the world and the characters, and to fly through these 800+ pages quickly and wish for more.

That didn’t exactly happen.

Don’t get me wrong, A Game Of Thrones is a very well put-together novel.  There were some great characters, like the bastard Jon Snow and his father Eddard Stark.  Daenerys Targaryen and her journey was very interesting, and the dwarf Tyrion was witty and hilarious.  There were characters it was easy to hate, believable in their cruelty, and characters it was impossible not to root for.  All this was established in the first half of the novel, and for a while, I felt that this book would be the total immersive, page-tearing novel I was hoping for.

But I almost completely lost interest during the second half.

Maybe it was because of its length, though I’ve read more than a few that were longer.  More likely, it was the overwhelming political themes.  For an epic fantasy novel, there was very little magic going on.  The story focused almost solely on politics; the hurts of a kingdom and the fights for succession.  It may be my fault that I didn’t like this one so much, in that case.  It is, after all, titled Game Of Thrones; how could it be about anything other than politics?

The hints of magic we did get to see, however, were very intriguing.  They occurred almost solely during Jon Snow’s and Daenerys Targaryen’s chapters.  Not surprisingly, these were my favorite chapters to read.  But they were also the fewest and most far-between.  The rest of the time, I found myself slogging through the rest of the characters’ chapters; Catelyn Stark, who it was impossible for me to like after some very cruel behavior in the beginning regarding my favorite character.  Eddard Stark, her husband and probably the central character in this novel.  Their children, Bran, Arya and Sansa.  Tyrion Lannister, the only Lannister worth caring about.  Surprisingly, Robb Stark, a character I very much would have liked to know better, didn’t get his own chapters; we only got to see him through the viewpoints of his Stark family.

I wouldn’t say this was a miss for me, because I am very glad I read it.  I liked it, overall.  But it was a very different, much slower reading experience than what I was expecting going in.  Maybe I’ll be able to appreciate the second one if I choose to read it more, since I’ll know better what I’ll be getting with this story.

I only hope we’ll get to see a bit more of my favorite character, Jon Snow.  He had me won over from the very beginning, when he rescued an orphaned pack of direwolves cubs.  His character was easy to get attached to, and his place in the Nights Watch was so much fun to read.  I feel like, had he been a bit more of a main focal point, I’d have gotten so much more out of this novel.

A Game Of Thrones – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor - Book Review

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton - Anita Blake Book 6 Review

The sixth Anita Blake novel starts with a vampire, Sabin, and his human servant, Dominic, contacting Anita for a rather…unusual job.  Sabin has begun to rot, excessively and disgustingly, and is desperate to find out if Anita’s powers in necromancy can possibly reverse the rot.  With Jean-Claude by her side, she politely (for her) informs him that she has no idea how to help him, but wouldn't let her worst enemy suffer Sabin’s fate, so agrees to try for him.

Then she leaves the vamp and goes to her furry beau, the werewolf Richard.  Where she finds out there is a hit taken out on her life, with a lot of money riding on her immediate death.  Edward, her informer, advises her to lie low for awhile, so she stays the night with Richard.

And it doesn’t take long for the reluctant three-way soap-opera that is wolf, vampire and necromancer to begin.

Blogger Woes

I've been virtually locked out of Blogger for a few weeks now, able to access my account but not to do much else.  For whatever reason, I was unable to make any changes to this blog, including commenting or posting.  Needless to say, this was incredibly frustrating.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Perfect By Sara Shepard Book Review - Pretty Little Liars 3

In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four perfect-looking girls aren't nearly as perfect as they seem.
Aria can't resist her forbidden ex. Hanna is on the verge of losing her BFF. Emily is freaking out over a simple kiss. And Spencer can't keep her hands off anything that belongs to her sister.

Lucky me. I know these pretty little liars better than they know themselves. But it's hard keeping all of their secrets to myself. They better do as I say . . . or else!


Holy…wow.  These books just keep getting better and better.

I read the first Pretty Little Liars book with some skepticism, but ended up finding it quite entertaining.  The second kept in that same vein, pouring on the shocks and scandal with A’s particular brand of torture.

They were nothing compared to Perfect.

Previously, A was more of a threat than anything.  A ton of bark, only a little bite.  Boy, does that change in this one.  It takes A a little longer to make her first appearance, but from there, it is a whirlwind of secrets revealed, lives ruined, and threats acted on that lead up to the most shocking moment in Pretty Little Liars thus far.

You will be tearing through the pages, and when you get to that last one, when you read the final chilling line…well, you’d just better have Unbelievable lined up.

Now, the girls; Aria, who is probably my favorite and the first to see that A really has no problem delivering on her threats, is in turmoil over her father, Byron’s, affair being found out.  She turns to her boyfriend for support and comfort, even while she’s obsessing over the English teacher she crossed quite a few lines with, Ezra.  I shouldn’t love a romantic interest who is a teacher dating his 16 year old student, but I kind of do.  He seems sincere in his affection for Aria, no matter how wrong it is.

Emily is such an amazing character in these books.  She’s dealing with her budding romance with her neighbor and best friend, Maya, and the confusion and fear that comes along with it.  Her parents show us just why she has such a screwed-up view on what it means to be gay; they see it as something horrible, no matter how natural it feels to their daughter.  I really, truly hate her parents in Perfect.  I hate how they represent so many ultra-conservative parents in real life who do nothing but ruin their children’s lives and sense of self.  I am really rooting for Emily and Maya.

We see something so much darker in Spencer in this one.  She still has her constant competition with her sister, especially when the plagiarized paper she turned in for a school assignment – which Melissa wrote – enters her in a very prestigious nationwide essay contest.  To add to her stress, she starts to remember bits and pieces of the night Ali went missing, things she blocked out for years.

Hanna is easily the character I have the most issues with.  I get it, she transformed from the Ugly Duck into the Beautiful Swan, but does the Swan have to be such a bitch?  She is just a bit too bratty to blame it all on her past.  Still, you can’t help but to feel for her with all she is put through in Perfect.  The world of perfection and control she worked so hard to build is crumbling around her faster than a house of cards, with A at its center.

The Pretty Little Liar books are just plain addictive and fun to read.  Anyone who has enjoyed the first two will devour the third with wide-eyed gusto.  It’s still got that element to it that makes it junk-food reading, but this series is one hell of a guilty pleasure.  One I’m starting to feel not-so-guilty for reading.

Perfect – 4 out of 5 stars.