A Storm of Swords might just be my favourite book in this series. So far. Westeros is still at war. Winterfell has fallen, leaving one of our kings without a kingdom. Stannis has been defeated, and while he may have a kingdom, he does not have any army.
As the war continues, the reader is left to continually wonder just who are the good guys and the bad guys here anyway. All the major characters are tested. Some pass with flying colours, others fail miserably. And yet others do not survive.
The best part of A Storm of Swords is by far the deepening of the magic. Now more than ever it becomes clear you are reading fantasy. The dead do not always stay that way. Dragons live again. Bran Stark is really coming into his own, too. Once a weak and whiny character (not his fault, when the story began he was eight years old and newly crippled), Bran is now discovering the full extent of his abilities and if off on a quest of his own, North of the Wall.
Joffrey becomes even crueller a king than even I anticipated. Even his mother begins to doubt his ability to rule. Jon returns from his time with the wildlings, more mature and experienced for it, but still quite young and naïve. Catelyn’s world crumbles around her, each moment more tragic than the next. The chapters she narrates are heartbreaking, and the choices she makes lead to one of the most interesting plot twists yet: releasing Jamie Lannister, the Kingslayer, under the protection of Brienne of Tarth.
By the novels end, two kings are dead, and the Night’s Watch has a new Lord Commander. And I could not wait to get to the next book. Bad news: it’s the last one available. Good news: book five will be published in mid July.
Mass Market Paperback: 1216 pages
Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (Mar 4 2003)
Good afternoon and welcome to the July 17, 2011 edition of book review blog carnival. This is my first time hosting the carnival, and I am pleased to welcome readers to onebookperweek.ca.
There are plenty of reviews for you to check out this week, beginning with fiction selections:
Zohar was productive, with four reviews: Fire Monks by Colleen Morton Busch, At the Devil’s Table by William C. Rempel, Centuries of June by Keith Donohue (Book Review & Giveaway) and The Scarlet Pimpernel By Baroness Emmuska Orczy, all posted at Man of la Book
KerrieS posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE reviewed three books, starting with THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL, Geoffrey McGeachin , saying “For me, Geoff McGeachin has hit on a winner with this new series and I hope we see more of Charlie Berlin.” KerrieS also reviewed Review: ASHES TO WATER (The Lake Trilogy), Irene Ziegler, commenting that while it’s a ong book, it is “compelling reading.” Finally, she reviewed WRONGFUL DEATH, Robert Dugoni saying, “This title will probably appeal most to people who like Grisham-type legal thrillers or someone who is looking for a crime fiction title related to America’s recent war efforts in Iraq.”
Jim Murdoch presents Family and Friends by Anita Brookner posted at The Truth About Lies, saying, “Beginning with a wedding photograph, this story charts the loves and lives of a rich widow and her four children – the rakish Frederick, the reticent Mimi, the adventuress Betty and the pure and serious Alfred – living in London and their friends, following each of them through their own struggles, triumphs and sorrows. Anita Brookner is a social spectator who watches her characters and tells us nearly every detail of them and yet somehow manages to skirt over major issues, like the fact that the book runs concurrent with the Second World War and that the family are Jews. Despite its period setting a very relevant book.”
Here at One Book Per Week, I reviewed Moira Young’s new young adult dystopian novelBlood Red Road. “Other books have tried and come close, but this one truly succeeds in being a novel where the girls are strong enough to rescue the boys, but not too proud to accept help. Most of the time.”
Also, I am catching up on reviews for the Song of Ice and Fire Series which I just started reading last month, and finally posted my review of A Storm of Swords. Perhaps my favourite book so far in the series “As the war continues, the reader is left to continually wonder just who are the good guys and the bad guys here anyway. All the major characters are tested. Some pass with flying colours, others fail miserably. And yet others do not survive.”
Lisa Hood presents The 10 Absolute Creepiest Moments in David Lynch’s Oeuvre at ZenCollegeLife.
Also in this Carnival:
Again from Jim Murdoch is a review of Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead (and other things I learned from famous people) by Neil Strauss posted at The Truth About Lies. “A miscellany of bits from interviews with rock stars mainly from the likes of Bo Diddley and Johnny Cash through Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and Brian Wilson straight through to The White Stripes and Lady Gaga. Something for everyone. There are snippets from interviews with film stars and comedians (Billy Connolly, always a treat) and even something from Timothy Leary. A real mixed bag. Sometimes illuminating but more often these best-of-bits just confirm what we already knew.”
Alex Washoe at Books and Beasts presents his review of Jason Hribal’s controversial new book “Fear of the Animal Planet” as The Rise and Fall of the Animal Planet saying, “Do animals in circuses and zoos consciously resist human oppression?
jammy467 presents Improving Your Search Engine Rankings With SEO And Backlinks posted at How To Increase Website Traffic.
David Gross reviewed Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” at The Picket Line, “a book of evolutionary psychology written a century before Darwin’s Origin of Species (and the surprising context of Smith’s “invisible hand” quote).”
Parents and lover’s of children’s books may want to check out Amy Broadmoore’s review of 12 Children’s Books About Birds posted at Delightful Children’s Books.”Here are my 12 favorite picture books about birds! In addition, I recommend three fantastic websites for young birders (and their parents and teachers).”
Annette Berlin reviews Polymer Clay Mosaics By Krista Wells posted at Craft Stew, saying, “Polymer Clay Mosaics is one of my favorite craft books. The instructions are clear, the projects are innovative and the photos are a pleasure to look at.”
The debut novel from Canadian author Moira Young turns the young adult dystopian fiction genre on its head with the story of Saba, stubborn, sometimes mean and often naïve, off to rescue her twin brother from the hands of the “King.”
Saba lives in a dry and dusty post-apocalyptic, barren world, destroyed by the previous “Wreckers” civilization. Her family is clinging to life on the shores of the dried up Silverlake, salvaging former Wrecker landfills for materials to repair their home. In the aftermath of a terrible sandstorm, their home is raided by cloaked men, her father killed and her twin brother kidnapped.
Determined to rescue him, Saba must cross the ‘Sandsea’ to Hopetown, and face the dangers waiting there. Though she is determined to leave her younger sister behind, Emmi will not be left. Saba and Emmi survive the desert, a kidnapping, cage fighting and raging fires on their way to a bloody showdown with the deranged and self acclaimed King, just in time to save their brother from execution and sacrifice.
Saba is strong and proud – often to a fault. She can be thoughtless and cruel, especially where Emmi is concerned. All her life, the only person she has ever really loved was Lugh. With him gone, Saba is forced to reach out to others for help, and discovers much about herself in the process. There is even a love story thrown in, but it never takes centre stage. It just isn’t that kind of book.
Other books have tried and come close, but this one truly succeeds in being a novel where the girls are strong enough to rescue the boys, but not too proud to accept help. Most of the time.
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Jun 7 2011)
Clash of Kings, the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, wastes no time in tedious recaps or introductions. I was glad to have very recently finished Game of Thrones. The story picks up exactly where it left off… with Westeros in chaos and civil war.
We start with three declared kings, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon and Robb Stark. Soon after there are two more: Balon Greyjoy declares himself King of the Iron Islands and launches and attack on the North, and Stannis Baratheon declares himself king of Westeros, and as Robert rightful heir, his claim is most worthy, despite the fact that he is entirely unsuitable.
All books in the series are narrated in alternating points of view, jumping back and forth between characters to tell whole story of what is happening in Westeros and beyond. Clash of Kings offers new narrators in Davos, (the Onion Knight), and Theon Greyjoy – who we new slightly from the previous book, but now learn much more about his character (little of it being complimentary).
For the most point, I enjoy this style and the variation it adds to the book, but the simple fact is that some characters are far more interesting than others (Jon, Arya, Tyrion, Catelyn, to name a few) and others either irritated me (Sansa, Stannis) or bored me (Daenerys).
Tyrion Lannister, plays a much larger and more interesting role in this novel and while I still like him more than I dislike him, there is definite evil in him, and I think he will continue to be one to watch as the story progresses.
Daenerys Targaryen, as mentioned above, has proved less interesting this time around. I can see where the plot line is going and why it is important to know this information about her, where she is, and what she’s doing. But aside from a few tantalizing hints at magic and dragons, there was little in her actions to get excited about through this book.
While originally bogged down in detail, by story’s end I became intrigued by Jon’s adventures as a member of the Night’s Watch, and especially the orders he receives at the end of the novel. I am also predicting that Sam Tarly will become more and more important as the plot progresses in further books. I am also interested in where the story of Brienne of Tarth will go. It is so rare to see a plotline involving an unattractive woman.
What I loved about the story continues to be true: no character is safe from a sudden and brutal death, and the reader cannot be fooled in to thinking that they really know any one character, as new revelations are on every page. There is no clear good and evil. Even the very bad can be redeemed, or at least have their moments.
As Clash of Kings ends, we have already seen the death of one king, and appear to be seeing the downfall of another, but the Lannisters still control King’s Landing and the throne. Overall, while not quite as interesting as the first book, I still very much enjoyed it, and continued right into book three, which I will review very soon.
Mass Market Paperback: 1040 pages
Publisher: Bantam; 1st MMPB edition (Sep 5 2000)