A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

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873 pages later… I’m finally finished with A Clash of Kings. Wow! I made it through two books of this epic series! This is a serious accomplishment on my reading life these days! Good job, self! 🙂

So the realm is in turmoil. All hell broke loose in the seven kingdoms. The aftermath of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon’s death. Eligible and king-wannabes all vying for the iron throne.  Political conflict at its finest. And we can all feel the cold because winter is coming…

This has multiple POVs like the first book, A Game of Thrones, so it constantly changes. The characters are more developed which makes me like it more as I get to  go inside each of the character’s heads and those of Tyrion and Bran are my favorites. Hats off to Tyrion Lannister! Hand of the king, baby!!! 😀 Whatever he was doing in this book — planning, drinking, wenching, putting Joffrey in his proper place (haha!) — he’s really doing it effectively! (He can sit on the iron throne, he’d make an excellent king!) His feud with his sister has to be the best parts of the book for me.

I have never liked you, Cersei, but you were my own sister, so I never did you harm. You’ve ended that. I will hurt you for this. I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn into ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.

There’s never a dull moment! Tyrion isn’t the nicest of characters but I’m really digging more of his witty ways as he remains true to his duty. His sarcasm cracks me up, always! And there’s Bran and Bran is a warg. His weird dreams are finally explained though there’s still more to find out. Bran has always been one of the most interesting characters for me from the first book so I’m hoping he’ll survive until the end. Other characters like Varys, Sandor Clegane and Jaqen H’ghar (Valar Morghulis) are worth mentioning, too. And of course, Cersei Lannister is still Queen Bitch and yes, I like her, too! On the other hand, there’s also someone I wanted to strangle here! Theon. Yes, the turncoat! A betraying bastard he was! He’s definitely up there on the villain list alongside the cruel and arrogant Joffrey! Anyways, I’m really looking forward about the dragons, the Others, the children of the forest and the white walkers.

One other thing that keeps me want to read and finish this is that not one character in the story is safe. George R.R. Martin is an evil man. He likes introducing characters whom readers grow to love then kill them off! (Great! Just great!) It excites and scares me at the same time who is going to die next. This makes it very realistic for me.

Apart from the characters, I certainly like the storyline, settings and themes of this book. A very intricate story that has almost everything in it — loyalty, conspiracy, treachery, corruption, turncoats, bravery, unexpected twists, revelations, etc. There’s plenty of action. Conspiracy within a conspiracy. Everyone in the seven kingdoms are scheming against each other. Little did they know that the white walkers are plotting to destroy them all along with the long winter. It’s written well but a little slow-paced for my taste but that’s okay. War and politics definitely make a great story and it makes me want to be in Westeros, too. So I guess, like me, you don’t have to be a fantasy reader to enjoy this. The author’s ruthlessness is admirable with regards to this world he has created.

Although it took me a long time to finish this book, A Clash of Kings is read worthy. It goes without saying that I will be continuing with the series.

Quotable Quotes :

“People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it’s served up.”

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

“Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them.”

“Perhaps that is the secret. It is not what we do, so much as why we do it.”

“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it’ll kill you all the same.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

My Top 5 Reads of 2015

I had a wonderful reading adventure in 2015 and I managed to read 55 books! And so today, in no particular order, I would like to share the top 5 most memorable, most entertaining, most touching and most awesome books I have read:

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 

This is the story of Louis Zamperini, a young and promising Olympic runner from Torrance, California and served as a bomber crew in the Pacific during the second World War.

As a bombardier, Louie was in-charge of locating the targets while in flight. He and his crewmates had terrifying experiences during their missions until one day, they had to fly in the crippled plane Green Hornet in order to save their friends. The plane went down in the Pacific and only three of them survived thus where the real story started.

What Louis went through as the plane went down in the Pacific and as a POW would have broken other people but not him. He remained “unbroken” to the very end.

This is an amazing story and very well-written. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone!

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I read this while I was vacationing in Vietnam and it was really the perfect time and place to read this book. It was recommended to me by one of my friends in Goodreads and bought it right away when I saw it in the bookstore. I’m not a big fan of fantasy novels but I definitely enjoyed this.

The Night Circus is about magic, love, desire & imagination. The main story is about two magicians, Marco & Celia, who were committed by their guardians to a mysterious competition designed to end in death.

The circus known as Le Cirque de Reves felt so real and alive, it makes you feel you are there in that magical world.

This is a real page-turner and yes, I definitely recommend it to everyone, old and young! 🙂

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

I think everyone knows the plot of this book already so I don’t have to bother describing and yes, it’s one of my top reads this year! I love Amy! Funny and smart bitch! Haha!

This is the kind of book that’s nearly impossible to put down. I enjoyed every page of it and surprisingly, I liked the movie, too! I’m no fan of movies based on books because I’m often disappointed in them (except for LOTR) but in the case of Gone Girl, it was okay.

So if you haven’t read this yet, read it. It’s twisted & disturbing but irresistible.

4. Stoner by John Williams

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Stoner is a plain and realistic human drama. Nothing much happensin the story and it lacks that “excitement” most people look for in a book nowadays BUT it is so deep, significant, captivating, saddening & depressing as hell.

This is not a big, life-changing kind of book but it might be a good reminder to everyone that people are important and that your contribution to the world doesn’t have to be something huge, it just have to be relevant and meaningful.

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 

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I have only read two epic fantasy books, The Lord of the Rings (of course!) and this! I regret that I didn’t read this right away. This is just so awesome! The many different plots will keep you want to read more, not to mention the multiple POVs. George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to all the characters and for me, the direwolves are the coolest! 🙂

I’m quite surprised at how much I love this book, really! That feeling while you read this book is just different, I don’t know, like you’re transported to another world, excellently made world! I just love this book to pieces! A Clash of Kings? Yes, please.

Honorable mentions go to:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

How about you? What are your favorites this year? Any recommendations? I’d be glad to hear from you!

Happy new year homo sapiens!!!

A Game of Thrones

Okay… so who haven’t heard of A Song of Ice & Fire series, or at least the first book, A Game of Thrones? I think everybody knows or heard something about it already and I’m probably one of the last few to read the books. Well, I’ve just finished the first one last Friday and I regret not reading it as soon as I’ve heard of it!

I haven’t read epic fantasy books except for The Lord of the Rings (of course!) but I received these books as a gift last Christmas. I started reading the first book a few months back but some books just got in the way.

I liked that the book was told in multiple POVs and George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to each of the characters. There is always something going on in each of the chapters so it won’t bore you reading. I specially enjoyed the chapters of Eddard, Daenerys & Tyrion.

I feel really glad to have read this and now I understand why people enjoyed both the book and the series (the first book & the first season). Awesome read! A Clash of Kings, I’m on my way!

Favorite quotes : “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

“The things we love destroy us every time.”

“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

Rating : 5/5 stars