Saturday, June 16, 2012

It is 2012 and time for a reboot

Life happened, and here I am months later. My reading life has been oddly meta since the last post: my Kindle--yes, the debate is now over--is collecting books on writing and editing. Only after I switched to commuting by bus have I gotten back into the groove of reading fiction and nonfiction (that has nothing to do with writing).

To keep the blog going, I'm getting rid of the counting system that now seems daunting, and instead of going on long tirades, I'll try to keep it short.

So, without further ado:

A Game of Thrones and  A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

The About: Royal plotting and intrigue in a world where dragons and massive wolves are real. Here, anyone can end up with their face down in the muck and nobody gets ahead in the world by being virtuous.

Thoughts: Who keeps up with these names? Tyrion, Tyrell, Tywin, Targaryen, Arryn, Aeron, Aerys, Arianne, Aero. I'm expecting a character called Ayrygorell to pop up any minute now.

I am reading the series while watching the HBO show, and apparently the stories are different enough for me to not know when I'm reading spoilers and when something has just been skipped over in the TV series for time and continuity. I'd come home exclaiming, "Jon Snow did not behave like that in the book!"

I didn't pick up these books before because the cover art and the titles all shouted Swords and Sorcerers to me; the genre I just can't quite stomach. Silly of me. There are sorcerers, but their magic is believable in the context of the world. There are plenty of swords, but no valiant heroes who rise from rags to riches.

I overheard a critique of the series, "I don't like a story where you are made to love characters and then they are killed off." I find such a plot device refreshing, because it brings in reality to an otherwise fantastic world: you can never trust that your favorite character will remain alive, nor can you trust that they won't be a complete turncoat or an idiot. It creates tension to even the most mundane activities of the characters, as we'll never know what cruel twist of fate may lie in store.

Although the writing occasionally gets a bit too descriptive (do I need to know the names of all soldiers in a band and what their stations are, if they are never mentioned again?), the prose is still enjoyable. The switches between characters work splendidly.

Now I'm just debating whether to I should start the third book before the third season is out. I could take a peek and risk the spoilers.