Monday, November 10, 2014

A Clash of Kings (Fire and Ice #2) by George R.R. Martin (read 10/20 to 11/4)

So finished, next book at library is on hold, and there is 2 people ahead of me.  These books seem easier to read in a  book rather than electronic format, I think it is because they are my genre of epic fantasy and I NEED to hold them in my hands LOL. is the second book in the Game of Thrones series, and much like the first it was full of details and a richness in the writing.  This book picks up just where the first one left off.  The Seven Kingdoms is in a civil war with five declared Kings and one declared Queen.  Jeoffery at Kings Landing, his bastard status hinted at, but unconfirmed.  Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly both declaring they are the rightful heirs as Jeoffry is not.  And Robb Stark is "King in the North" and wants to separate from the Seven Kingdoms.  Meanwhile Theon Greyjoy has declared himself King on the Iron Island and has mounted an attack on the North.
The Night's Watch is mounting a reconnaissance mission to investigate the Wildlings.  And Daenerys continues her plan to reconquer the Seven Kingdoms now that she is the Mother of Dragons.
I do like that the books give more depth to Ayra's story than the show did, since I really like her, I always felt the show really glossed over her parts.  Bran I also find is a much deeper character than the show gave him credit for.  The show focused too much on Robb, Sansa, and Daenerys, and ignored the other characters.  Their stories were there but not as richly .
I'm glad that Sansa is finally getting some brains and not wearing the stupid rose colored glasses, she is still at fault for her father's death in my mind but at least she is not as naive.
In the introduction chapter I found it interesting that Shireen has a disease called grayscale that makes her scaly like a dragon, I hope that she becomes a bigger part of the story.
Speaking of minor characters, I hated Davos's chapters, they were just so dry and boring to me.  I hope he died at the King's Landing battle so I don't have to read any more of him.  Shae in the show is much better than in the book, in the book she comes across as a shallow stupid whore, whereas in the show she is cunning and a real asset to Tyrion, whereas in the books she seems more of a liability.
I still love Tyrion by the way, which is probably why I don't like Shae's character in the book as much, she harms him I think.  He is crafty and sly, but he is smart and despite it all he is honorable, he protects Sansa and the city, and he gets no thanks only disrespect and is despised.  But he is honest and the only one that I think actually cares about the people of seven kingdoms.
I think there is too much inbreeding in the Seven Kingdoms, all the men are stupid!  Renly, Stannis, Theon, Robb, Jeoffrey.  They have no concern for the people, only their stupid puffed up egos, and are too prideful to do anything or the greater good.  In the end I hope either Daenerys or Tyrion sit on the throne, and actually care for the kingdom as a monarch is supposed to do.
What is up with the wolf dreams, and it seems everyone is having them?  Bran had them in the show, but he was the only one, this is a fun new twist.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Game of Thrones (Fire and Ice #1) by George R.R. Martin (read 9/8 to 10/19)

This is another BofM selection, one I must say I have been waiting for.  I love the TV series.  The hard part about this book is that it follows the series so closely that there was no real new information discovered from my read.  I wish I had read this before watching the show, much to my husband's dismay I am now stalling on watching the latest season until I read all the published books.  
This is an epic novel, encompassing so many characters and so much land,  the really hard part about this series is that no one is safe, Martin will kill off a character at a whim, and because I know from the series who dies, it made it hard for me to connect with the characters in book, especially if I know they die, and if I don't know, I don't want to get to attached because who knows when he will kill them off, as I said no one is safe, main character, supporting character they all are up for grabs when death comes calling. Fortunes change with the winds, and the story line has no set course.  It is what I both love and despise about the series, it keeps me guessing and on the edge of my chair.
In this first book we are introduced to the Starks, the Lords of the North and their home Winterfell.  Lord Ned Stark and his wife Catelyn, their children are Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bandon (Bran) and Rickon.  Ned has a bastard son Jon Snow, although personally I don't think he is Ned's son, I think he is Ned's nephew the son of his sister Lyanna  and Rhaegar Targaryen, but it hasn't been revealed if I am right or not.  Each of the Stark children have a Direwolf as a pet, Direwolves are the house symbol, and have not been seen in the world for a long time, their apperance is a sign that all is not right in the world.
The Starks are visited by Ned's good friend Robert Baratheon and his family, wife Cersie, and children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen.  Along with Cersie's twin brother Jamie Lannister, a guard of the King.  The Hand of the King has died and Robert wants Ned to come south to fill the position, Ned doesn't want to got but at Catelyn's urging he takes the job and the result is a dead king, a land in chaos and more dead characters than I care to count.  
I found this fun image on pinterest, each flag is a death in the book. See I'm not exaggerating.

Anyways, Bran falls off a roof, or more accuratly he was pushed, so Catelyn and the boys stay behind as Ned and the girls head south with the King.  There is trouble along the way, the kings family is corrupt and dangerous.  Jon being a bastard son is not welcome in the South and chooses to join the Black brotherhood on the wall rather than remain in Winterfell without Ned's protection from Catelyn.  The Wall is a gigantic 700 foot wall that separates the 7 kingdoms from the free lands, where those who do not obey the king live.  The Wildlings are separate tribes that are not united like the 7 kingdoms, and supposedly there are monsters on the other side of the wall.  The Black Brotherhood's duty is to guard the wall and those that are on the southern side of it, they have no loyalty to kings, only to the brotherhood and he wall.  They take no wives and have no children, it used to be an honor to be a Black Brother, but now it has become a place to send criminals and other undesirables, such as bastard sons.

Divergent: The Complete Four Book Series by Veronica Roth (read 10/7 to 10/12)

I purchased this series to read while I was on vacation, and I read all three books plus the short stories in 6 days.  It was really good to say the least, I loved both the story-line and the writing.  The book was very similar to the movie, the book just added more depth.  This is a story of future world, the history and where exactly the book take place is revealed in the third book Allegiant.    In this post-apocalyptic world, survivors divide into five factions based on their dispositions.  Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity for the peaceful; Candor for the honest; Erudite for the intellectual; and Dauntless for the brave.  Every year all 16 year old adolescents must take an aptitude test that describes what faction they are best suited for.  However, they still have free will can they can decide to follow the tests results or choose a new faction.  Each faction has an initiation and if the initiates do not complete the initiation they become "Factionless" and live in poverty on the streets.
Divergent begins with the main character Beatrice "Tris" Prior taking her aptitude test and getting inconclusive results, making her what is called Divergent.  She has aptitude for Abnegation (her families faction), Erudite, and Dauntless.  When choosing day comes she makes the hard decision to leave her family and joins Dauntless.  The book surrounds her initiation into Dauntless.  At the end of Divergent one of the factions tries to overthrow the system and destroy the Abnegation faction.  Because Tris is Divergent she is able to resist the mind control and fights for Abnegations survival.  At the end of the book Abnegation is damaged but not destroyed and Tris is on the run.
Insurgent picks up where Divergent ends, Tris and her companions go to Amity to hide, but must soon leave to join the revolution and protect the Dauntless and the Abnegation.  This book follows the revolution and the discovery of the cities history that has been suppressed.  At the end of the book the secret is revealed with mixed reactions from the citizens.
Allegiant pick ups same as Insurgent did, however the difference is that it is told from two points of view, Tris and Five's.  This change in writing style confused me, by the end of the book I understood it.  
The short stories are all about Five and his initiation.  They were ok, but I didn't have to read them, and I didn't feel that they gave me any extra insight into his character. 
As I said before I couldn't put these books down, they are formulaic of many of the YA novels out right now, but they were still really good, and as bonus the ending surprised me, I did not see it coming.  That is rare for me, I read so often that it is hard for a book ending to surprise me.  I admit I cried, I'm not telling if it was from joy or sadness though, I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else.  This was a really easy book to get caught up in I truly came to love all the characters even the unlikable ones, such as Peter.
I think this book explores a lot of themes, personal and socially  One theme I can see is when a child must choose to become an adult and leave the nest and the anxiety and fear that goes along with that.  A social theme that I think most emphasized is that categorizing and discriminating against those that are different will get us nowhere, society will fall apart and destruction will result, only when we begin to accept each other and stop discriminating against those that are different can we become a successful society.  Do not fear what is different, embrace those differences and realize that your weaknesses maybe someone else's strength and when we embrace rather then reject we become a whole society.