Book Reviews

Book Review (re-edit): A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin. 2011. Book 5 in the Game of Thrones series.

A Dance with Dragons is book 5 in Game of Thrones Series, and continues the story in the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Danerys Targaryen, the last scion of the house of Targaryen rules with her three Dragon’s, as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Danerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with and entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, is also making his way to Daenarys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenrys’ claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile to the North lies the Mammoth Wall of ice and stone. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the NIght’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skin changers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

This addition to the Game of Thrones series authored by George R. R. Martin superb in its story line. Yes there are moments when things become complicated if the reader is not following the story line closely. However, in saying that, A Dance with Dragons brings forth many answers to questions pondered, and gives more substance to each of the characters as well as the story line itself. Fantastic writing once again from George R. R. Martin. I have to give A dance with Dragons a score of 9.5/10.


Book Reviews

Book Review (re-edit): A Feast for Crows, by George R. R. Martin. 2005. Book 4 in the Game of Thrones series.

A Feast for Crows is the 4th novel in the Game of Thrones Series, authored by George R. R. Martin, continues the story of the War of the Five Kings of Westeros, the fate of the Night’s Watch and those beyond the wall in the North, as well as the plight of the true queen of Westeros, Danerys Targaryen who dwells across the Narrow Sea in one of the Nine Free Cities. At least, that is the expectation. What in fact occurs in the book is the story of Westeros. Kings Landing, the river lands and the Eeyrie. The tales of deep deceit, treachery and distrust. Whilst the story of her twin brother Jamie is one of rebirth and readjustment to his new role and duties.
The beautiful blonde Cersei is at court surrounded by people she cannot trust, her father is dead, she is betrayed by both of her brothers and she fears constantly for the life of her young King. Fickle attempts to bind other wealthy and powerful families to her son’s cause have left Cersei with a council often torn by loyalty and ambition and as the book progress’s Cersei’s power over the court slowly ebbs away. Eventually she becomes so overwhelmed by fear and suspicion that even her wits seem to dwindle and she starts making rash decisions, and disreputable allies.

Jamie Lanister, a once feared and fabled knight now finds himself short of a sword in hand and back in King’s  Landing as the head of his bastard son Tommen’s King’s Guard. Although Jamie has long been wearing the White Cloak, he finds himself changed after the torments of capacity and torture; eventually leading him to make a secret pact to ensure the safety of his sister’s enemy for the sake of his own honor.

The stories of Jamie and his sister could not really be more different where Jamie is learning things he never knew about himself, Cersei is becoming more and more isolated. Her thoughts, though logical in her head, are outrageous and treasonous, whilst Jamie finds himself turned more toward the honor of knighthood. A man once feared for his deadly skill with a blade finds himself ending sieges without bloodshed and making treaties so as to save the lives of his enemies. In many ways the two stories mirror one another, whilst Jamie’s chapters seem sullied with secrets and deceit, they are peppered with almost pornographic sex scenes that only further the already soiled image of Cersei, whilst her brother’s head is filled with tales of knights and valor.

A third story which again stems from that of Jamie Lannister, that of Brienne of Tarth. At Jamie’s behest she is in search of Sansa Stark, who many believe is the last remaining child of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully. Blessed with Jamie’s own sword, now named Oathkeeper, Breinne travels across the lands of Westeros in search of any lead she can find. This part of the story is strange to read, as you are simultaneously reading of the true whereabouts of Sansa Stark. Yet with Breinne you meet characters you have come across previously, but now they are strangers to you. Gendry, the bastard of dead King Robert Baratheon, murderous madman Rorge and even the Red Priest Thorus of Mur cross your path and leave you wanting to shout into the pages as you know they have the answers Breinne seeks.

Meanwhile Sansa and Arya Stark, the Daughters of Eddard and Catelyn, are on opposite sides of the world. Sansa is in Eeryie disguised as the bastard daughter of Petyr Baelish, Whilst Arya finds herself in Bravoos, learning the ways of the Many Faced God. Sansa’s chapters are snow white and frozen ice, reflecting the chill within her. Forced to hide who she truly is Sansa feels almost overwhelmed by the weight of her disguise and with every sentence you can hear her true identity struggling in the cold depths of the mountain.

Book four in this series has to be my favorite so far. It brings together a long awaited possibility of war. A feast of Crows is amazing in its depth and detail, and pulls together parts of the story which have been gaping open with unanswered questions, and unfinished story lines. This book leaves open many creative opportunities that we all hope George R. R. Martin gives us exactly what the audience is waiting for. I rate A Feast of Crows 10/10.


Book Reviews

Book Review (re-edit): A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin. 1998. Book 2 in the Game of Thrones series.

A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin, is a fantastic second instalment to the Game of Thrones series. It begins with Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark dead; the crown resting with King Joffery. However, Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon all lay claim. The comet in the sky is seen as a sign of war and incest, fratricide and murder discolour the landscape. Winter is coming and the undead and Others are beginning to stir. Into this, from across the sea, comes the daughter of the Dungeon Kind to add her name to the list of pretenders to the Throne. With the disastrous and literally heart breaking conclusion to its predecessor, this book only continues the strife raging across Westeros, providing a total lack of end in sight.
The Seven Kingdoms have been plunged heavily into civil war. Five are vying for contention and naming themselves King, with none abiding the others. Stories and alliances are fracturing alike, and the reader is helpless before the onslaught of new characters, new plot lines, and revelations. As well as cliff-hangers that leave the mind reeling with the desire for more. The characters allotted chapters is increased to 9, promoting only one supporting character from book one to a fully-fledged lead, and introducing an entirely new character to introduce us to the inner workings of an entirely new plot thread.

Tyrion Lannister is once again one of the books highlights of the book providing a much needed breath of humour, as well as an intelligence that is not hindered by personal greed, ambition or idiocy. This in no way means that any of the other characters are a chore to read, but rather act in ways that leave the reader entirely certain they deserve to be smacked upside the head with a shovel! The sheer bastardry of some of the characters both introduced and returning is horrific at points. The loss encountered by some of the characters rends the heart stricken. Danerys Targaryen, who figured so powerfully in the first novel (especially in its astounding finale)gets little play in the book, occupying not much more than 100 pages of its nearly 1000. But her brief moments are crucial and point toward much more to come in future volumes.

This has to be one of the best written pieces I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. George R. R. Martin is an author of note and promise of creative journeys ahead. I give the clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin a 10/10 rating.