A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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3/5 stars.
Paperback, 1123 pages.
Read from February 17 to May 05, 2015.

George, listen, you have phenomenal ideas, stories and characters but for the love of God, please allow your editor to do his/her job. Your books are now just unnecessarily long. I’m all for big books when they’re warranted but I felt like this book was allowed to be long for the same reason the Harry Potter books got bigger and bigger, they’re immensely popular and can get a way with it. I mean, these books practically sell themselves now.  Bigger does not mean better. I know that die-hard fans will disagree with me and probably loved that they were able to read a few hundred pages more in their favourite realms with their favourite characters, likely because they knew that the next book wouldn’t be out for a while, but it’s unfortunate as I feel that the quality of the book suffers. I didn’t feel the the intensity of the plot in this one as I did with the first or the third book in the series because the scenes were so drawn out and the book ended becoming such a large commitment. I think that’s why we’re seeing the TV series starting to divert away from the plot of the books so drastically now as George’s writing has become less concise and cohesive as the series progresses.

The Seven Kingdoms is still in unrest and its fate and who will rule it is still being fought over. Tyrion finds himself across the sea in an effort to see Daenerys and to stay away from Ceresi’s wrath. Daenerys’ enemies begin to grow as she realizes that she will have to make a decision that she personally does not want but will be good for her people. On the wall, Jon Snow is living with the stress of being the Lord Commander and is making historically remarkable decisions, choices that are necessary for their survival and preparation against the white walkers, however,  it’s causing tension with other members of the Watch. Arya is unraveling the mysteries of the Seven-Faced God, while Sansa is learning to be strong alongside Littlefinger, however, his personal motivates are still unknown.

There are a few scary scenes in this book where you believe 3 of the main characters to be dead. One of them may be for sure, but I really hope not.  While I’ve already voiced my frustrations with the book, the plot twists in this book are still really good and the book is still pretty darn awesome, I just couldn’t get through it all that quickly as my interest wavered between the interesting plot points. The ending, well, the ending of this book rivaled the ending of the very first book and was absolutely fantastic. Thank God for the sneak preview into the next book or I might have been losing my shit over the ending. I’ll just say that involves Daenerys again, whom is my all time favourite character. The ending almost made up for the areas of the book I lost interest over. The last 300 pages were worth pushing through for.

I’m really enjoying the direction that the TV show is taking. I feel that the show is more of the concise and intense story I was hoping to read from George. For once, I actually enjoy reading the books alongside with the TV shows as usually my favor is towards the book but I think that the TV show does the series justice and provide insight into the story where the books were lacking.

Ultimately, this book is still remarkably better than the last book and I will still pursue the series, provided that Martin does decide to end it at some point. George is getting older and is notorious for taking ages to write his books. I hope that he can end the series how he sees fit and that it doesn’t have to be taken over by anyone else. Onwards to the next book (which will hopefully have a release date soon)!

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

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3/5 stars.
Paperback, 936 pages.
Read from January 19 to February 07, 2015.

I consumed most of this novel while lounging on a beach of white sands and blue water so I’m pretty sure my environment added to the likability of this book as, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really have much going on for it plot-wise and isn’t what we’ve come to expect from George R.R. Martin.  I know that Martin would have preferred that this book and A Dance With Dragons be one book but it would have been waaaaaaay too long. This book ultimately felt like a filler for the next novel and contained all the politic nuances that would have be intriguing had it been balanced with some action plot pieces. All of the characters that you desperately wanted to know about based on the craziness of the last book are not even mentioned in this book, such as Tyrion and Dany. I can only imagine how frustrating that would have been for a reader when this book first came out as they wouldn’t have the same luxury of just picking up the next book in the series as it wouldn’t have been available yet.

I suppose the most interesting part of this novel was the developments with Cersei, which, if you’re not a huge fan of the woman, is kind of annoying. However the ‘big twist’, and I say that sarcastically because it’s quite minimal compared to the previous book in the series, involves Cersei and it is fairly rewarding to read. Jamie develops more as a character and is continuing to become one of my favourites. While I love Brienne, her chapters were pretty boring but the final scene with her in this book is pretty disheartening.

The information in this book is necessary for the series, but the book, as it stands by itself is a pretty big let down. It’s hard to summarize the details of this novel as the essential things that happened in this book are the spoilers. Ultimately, Brienne is looking for Sansa on an oath she made to Jamie, Cersei is still grieving for Joffery and is going mad trying to determine who are her friends and her enemies are, while being overly protective of Tommen. Jaime is figuring out who he is as a person now that he hand is gone, Sansa is developing into smart and wise young woman while pretending to be Littlefinger’s bastard daughter Alayne, while Arya finds herself in Bravvos in a religious temple. There are a few new characters introduced as well, such as the Martell family, who are outraged at the death of Oberyn. You get some small insights into the life of Myrcella since she was shipped off to Dorne by Tyrion to be married in these chapters as well.  The book is one of character transitions as they all take on new identities and for some of them, even new names.

Overall, this is my least favourite book in the series so far but I can at least recognize it’s necessity.

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 973 pages.
Read from March 27 to April 24, 2014.

My God, nothing in this world could have prepared me for the last 100 pages of this book. This novel is by far the best in the series so far. In this book, every man claiming to be a king collides and they collide hard. What you expect or want to happen, doesn’t, and it makes you want to throw the book against the wall in disbelief. My boyfriend gave me some funny looks when I screamed out in protest  to numerous scenes while reading this book. Oh and just when you think you have it sorted out and you’ve come to terms with the madness that’s ensued you read the epilogue and your mind is blown once again. Seriously, this was my face:

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It’s so hard to discuss this novel without giving away all of the essential twists and plot-changers! It is however impressive that Martin continues to remember so many details and have the story flow so well between one character’s chapter to another. Even more impressive, is the amount of growth that each and everyone one of the characters (that are still freaking alive, that is) go through in this book. You learn that Jamie Lannister is actually a good man, that you can sympathize with Cersei and hate her at the same time and how little Tywin really thinks of his dwarf son Tyrion. You watch Jon become a man and learn about a world outside of the Watch, that it is possible for Sansa and Catelyn to tolerate even more grief, that Dany and Robb have to make a few very difficult decisions and you get to see Arya becoming vicious and Sam become brave. Well, I suppose the exception being Joffery, he doesn’t change. He’s still a twat.

What this novel makes me ask now, is where is the series going? There were times where I felt I should have seen certain twists coming and yet, I didn’t, because Martin doesn’t do anything ordinary in terms of character investment and plot. Which leads me to ask: What is the outcome that Martin see with these characters? Who does he want sitting on the Iron Throne?  I can’t even fathom what it going to happen in the coming books with the shit-storm that Martin put in this book.

Well I have to read the fourth book now! I have actually already purchased it and will tackle it as soon as I can get over the emotional turmoil that Martin put me through.