A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

adancewithdragonsA Dance with Dragons is so far the last published book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire. The sixth book, The Winds of Winter, is set to be released in 2021. I hope George R.R. Martin has something far, far better than the TV series.

I enjoyed this fifth book in the series a lot more than the fourth one because this reconnects me to my favorite characters once again but it’s abomination all the same. I don’t know why I still enjoy this series after the author has killed almost all of my favorite and other likeable characters. Ha! But I have to say that I’m also starting to like those characters whom I used to loathe before.

As I have said, I enjoyed this book but well, as usual, it’s too long and it was a bit slow-paced. It took a lot of meandering subplots but maybe GRRM needs to do that to prepare us for the next events in the series or probably for the ending. Just like the other books, it was written from different POVs and it annoys me every time it ends with a cliffhanger and moves on to another. Oh, George! However, the voice of the characters this time are way stronger than the previous books. The character development of some characters were quite notable, too. Jaime Lannister is strongly gaining my favor/admiration as he was the most changed character here, or, shall I say most misunderstood?

So, I have finished the first five books in the series. Still, the future of the seven kingdoms is uncertain. There’s Daenerys with her dragons in the east. Jon Snow in the North guarding the wall against the enemies beyond it. There are threats on every side of the seven kingdoms. Who will stop the wars? Who will stop the chaos? Who will rule the seven kingdoms? Will there be anyone left to rule at all?

I’m sad that I’m caught up for now and I don’t know for how much longer but well, I’ve got this far, right? I guess, the wait begins.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

“A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf.”

“Not all men were meant to dance with dragons.”

“Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present, between the mists of memory and the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.”

“Men’s lives have meaning, not their deaths.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

feast for crowsA Feast for Crows is the fourth book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire. It tells us the aftermath of the war of the five kings and focuses on the main continent of Westeros. From what I’ve read, the fifth book A Dance of Dragons is this book’s counterpart that takes place at relatively the same time outside of Westeros.

Well, this was the least entertaining among the 4 books I’ve read so far. This introduced a lot of new characters and there were very few of those we’ve known, hated and loved from the previous books. I got bored with the chapters involving the Greyjoys.

I, however, enjoyed Cersei’s chapters for sure. There was a great emphasis on Cersei here that I was really looking forward to her chapters because getting into her head was just so fun. I love her ruthlessness and her chapters were eventful. It makes me sad to think, though, that she won’t probably be in the fifth book as her character was mostly explored here already.

Jaime’s chapters were sympathetic to read. I’ve learned to love Jaime for a long time and it’s sad reading about him searching for places where he could fit in.

It was also nice to read Sansa and Arya’s mirrored plots, having to find themselves in need to take a second identity to survive. It wasn’t really surprising to find Arya in this situation but Sansa? As we know, these two sisters have very different personalities. But seeing how both of them are surviving in sort of the same way, they really are more alike as sisters after all.

I find the entertaining part of the book lost for me (except for Cersei’s chapters) but if viewed as a whole series, this is still a good read with George R.R. Martin’s established tradition — a book immensely rich in detail and extremely clever complexity. I am still determined to finish reading to the end. I’ve invested enough time to make it this far, why stop now?

Quotable Quotes:

“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”

“History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again”

“We all dream of things we cannot have.”

“Men have scars, women mysteries.”

“Sometimes there is no happy choice… only one less grievous than the others.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of SwordsThis is the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I started reading late last year but only managed to finish it a few days back. It won’t be easy to write about the book without spilling a few beans so if you haven’t read the book or watched the TV series yet and intend to, you can stop here.

So there’s far greater turmoil in the seven kingdoms thus it’s packed with lots of crucial events. There’s the Lannisters, the ruling family. Daenerys with her dragons. Robb as King of the North. Threats beyond the Wall. The Red Wedding. Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. Catelyn releasing Jaime from captivity. Arya escaping Harrenhal and soon ran into the Brotherhood Without Banners. Jamie’s hand was cut. Bran continues his journey north. Jon Snow’s adventure with the wildlings. Sam and The Night’s Watch were attacked by the Others. The Onion Knight back in Dragonstone. Tywin Lannister is now the Hand of the King. The thrilling and climactic duel of the Red Viper and The Mountain. The Unsullied. Sansa’s escape from King’s landing. And too much death.

A Storm of Swords is also filled with regicide. I’m not a fan of Robb but since he’s a Stark, it saddens me that he was killed in The Red Wedding. It was later revealed in the book that this were all planned by Tywin Lannister and Lord Bolton. I’m extremely glad though that Joffrey died, too, on his own wedding day. Unfortunately though, Tyrion’s accused of poisoning him. I’m just so glad that Tyrion was the one who killed his father, Tywin Lannister. Some deaths were surprising (and fun!) which proves that no one is ever safe in the hands of the author! But I also didn’t expect Catelyn Stark alive at the end!

As in the first two books, this also have multiple POVs and each viewpoint character has a specific story. As usual, I enjoyed the most Tyrion’s viewpoint. Jaime’s, too! I enjoyed every single one actually! The author hauled the characters through a series of events and are further fleshed out which led to their change by the end of the book. This is where we see the most character transitions. Like I don’t hate Jaime Lannister anymore. It’s good to know his point of view of the world and in this book, it’s good to see that he is actually different from Tywin or Cersei on the inside. (His final scenes with Tyrion was so, so sad though.) And I didn’t really hate The Hound from the start but in this book, I can say I really like his character. And you will love Tyrion even more! Daenerys developed into a stronger and matured queen supported by interesting characters like Ser Barristan and Ser Jorah. And of course, Jon Snow’s story is becoming more interesting as it continues to unfold.

A Storm of Swords is a brilliant book — character-wise, plot-wise. I’m again blown-away by the story and characters, very detailed and the story expands in different ways while so much is happening. Contrary to the second book A Clash of Kings, I loved how the book came as fast as a bullet rain. There’s always something significant happening in every chapter. There’s no running out of suspense, twists and turns. This series just keeps getting better and better.

Quotable Quotes:

“Sometimes I think everyone is just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending is how you get brave, I don’t know.”

“Old stories are like old friends, she used to say. You have to visit them from time to time.”

“Every man must die, Jon Snow. But first he must live.”

“The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them.”

“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

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

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