Thursday, July 12, 2012

Game of Thrones

I was gonna wait.  Seriously, I was.  My perspective when I re-kick-started this blog was to review an entire book series in one shot.  And I've decided, that for this series at least, I cannot do that.  My first excuse?  EACH book is 1,000+ pages.  My second excuse?  OK, so I just finished the third book and it was UH-mazing.

But, to give this series a fair review, lets start at the beginning.  Book 1: Game of Thrones


I'll be honest and say that it took me quite a little while to get "in to" this book.  There are a TON of characters, so many that you have an appendix in the back that's a good 20+ pages.  Plus, there are a couple maps of the land layout in the front as well.

These books are written so that you jump from one character's first perspective to another's.  In one chapter you might be following Bran's story, the next Daenerys, the next Cersei and the next Tyrion's.  All the way down the line of main characters...and there are a lot of those.  Main characters, that is.  In fact, you might not get back to Bran until fifteen chapters later...yet, his story might also be picked back up two chapters down the road.  Confusing, right?  Also, maybe a little hard to get "in to" as well.

Really and truly, I think this first book sets the tone for each of the characters'...well, um, characters.  You get to know them and whether or not you like them.  Who's evil?  Who's not?  What's their back story?  What do they look like?  That sort of thing.  Plenty happens (but mostly towards the end) once you've been fully introduced to all.

Another thing about these books/characters.  It drives me crazy that some of the characters' names are so similar.  Tyrion, that I mentioned earlier, is the son of Tywin.  Plus, there's another house with the last name Tyrell...oh, and another with the last name Tully.  I mean, really?  Enough with the similarities already.  Just a little beef of mine...I still find myself flipping back and forth between the appendix and text if I haven't read about a certain character in a while.  Just to make sure I don't mix myself up.

But, if I'm truly honest, my real beef with this first book is that my absolute favorite character dies in the end.  I mean, seriously?  What a load of...ummm, disappointment?  After discussing this with a couple of fellow book club members, they informed me that in this series: become attached to NO ONE.  Any character can die at any given point in time, whether they be a main character or no.  This is kinda hard for me in that I like to relate to characters.  I find ones that I like and feel like I have something in common with them.  I can't do that in these books.  And I'm still having a little bit of a hard time with it, even now.

With all that being said, the first book shines in the first season of the show on HBO.  Wanting to know who my favorite character might be?  I'll give you a hint, he's the only character on the DVD (or read!) and figure out who he is.

Moving along, Book 2: A Clash of Kings

If the first book introduces you to the main characters, then the second really starts to set the stage.  Some major plot thickening has been set up at the end of book one and book two really starts to develop these story lines.  And seriously, this book has about five stories going at one time.  The title really and truly, perfectly sums up what's happening.  There are a bunch of self-proclaimed kings running around battling it out to be the one true king of the land.  And this book includes each kings' adventure along the way.  No wonder it's 1,000+ pages with all that goin' on.

When I completed this book, I felt a lot better (and proud of myself) for not becoming overly attached to any new characters.  I still favor some over others (how can you not?), but when characters died I wasn't overly upset.  This book has an extremely well-developed albeit complex story line and I truly enjoyed it.

Season 2 of the HBO series encompasses this book.  I haven't started season 2...mostly because it's not available on Netflix yet.  We don't really have the need for HBO in this household, I guess.  But, I can't wait to see it when it's available on DVD/Blu-Ray!

This leaves us where I just finished, Book 3: A Storm of Swords

Now that you know all the characters...and the plot has been developed...let's just completely shake things up.  At least, I think that's what George R.R. Martin was thinking when he wrote this book.

This book, now that I'm used to Martin's writing style, has such a complex and engaging story line and I loved almost every minute of it.  I'm almost afraid to say that I know I'm over half-way through with this series.

Some characters that I've come to know and loathe finally died, while certain details of the plot were twisted.  And I mean t-w-i-s-t-e-d.  With a capital T.  The last 50-100 pages kept me guessing and were the best part.  Let me just say that...if you snoozed through books 1 and 3 is well worth the wait.

With each of the two previous books, I needed a breather before I started the next.  The first one I've already explained.  But, as for the second one, I simply needed it because the story is so complex and has so many characters.  Sometimes when I read I just want to read...and not think.  I need fluff periodically.  Make sense?  So, between each of these three books there has been at least a one month window break.  I will NOT be taking that break this go-around, if that tells you anything.

Lastly, I'll just say that I know season three on HBO went into production at the beginning of this month.  If you haven't read the books and just watched the show...  You lucky ducks, you're in for a treat!

Needless to say, I definitely recommend this series!  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a final series review and wrap-up!

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