Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Song of Ice and Fire: (Guilty) Book Review

When I was working, this summer, my coworkers were all agog over the TV show A Game of Thrones. I felt a bit left out, as well as intrigued. Every so often, while wandering the aisles of Barnes & Noble, and I would see the series and ponder picking up the book to look at its synopsis.

But then, you know, it's about dragons and imaginary worlds and sorcery and stuff. And I'm too cool for fantasy novels. (Apart from YA fantasy novels. And The Lord of the Rings. And Harry Potter.)

Fortunately, according to one reviewer, A Song of Ice and Fire (the epic saga on which the TV show is based) is a fantasy series for people who don't read fantasy series serieses serii books.

Long story short, I've read the six books that have so far been released, and I seriously hope Mr. George R.R. Martin doesn't die before he gets around to writing its final volume(s) because I seriously need to know how this ends. I need closure!

When I started reading the series, I was unaware that it was a) unfinished; b) unfinished. After waiting seemingly eons for JK Rowling to finish the Harry Potter series, and continuing to wait (still) for Margaret Atwood to finish the MadAddam trilogy, I didn't think I could stand another unfinished series.

Heck, I still don't know if I can stand it. Quite frankly, it's killing me. So, if I unexpectedly kick the bucket, you know who to talk to (Mr. G RR Martin).

The series focuses on the race to rule in the land of Westeros, ruled by a "pretender" to the throne. After a series of unfortunate events, civil war breaks out with multiple men claiming the throne, along with one young girl (woman? I don't know. She's married, but she's also, like, 14) who is the sole remaining descendant of the pretender's predecessor.

The book is, in many ways, tawdry. There's lots of gratuitous sex (with dwarves! with mutes! with siblings! with parents!) but after a while, you become kind of immune to the sex scenes.

Mostly because there's one every three pages, or so.

It's guilty-pleasure reading for people who got fed up with the characters in Fifty Shades of Grey and chucked the book across the room within the first five pages (because we needed more books with characters who have no depth and terrible dialogue).

But along with the guilty-as-charged pleasure side of it comes the scratching your head confusion of it.

The characters change. That dwarf you hated at the beginning of the series? Yeah, by book #4 - A Feast for Crows - he's one of your favorite characters, and you're rooting for him to live, to survive and somehow stick it to the rest of his family.

The stuck up daughter of the badass lord who treats her little sister like poop? You realize she's just not very smart, but smart enough to keep her head attached to her neck, and resilient enough to deal with whatever is thrown at her, be it an abusive fiance, or a murder, or her own confusion because she can't quite figure out if Guy 1 is evil, or if he's really a good guy who covers his goodheartedness up with a bad case of the blue meanies.


Now I want to reread the series.

I hope you're happy, blogosphere.

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