Sunday, January 03, 2016

Book Review: A Song of Ice and Fire

I finally did it. I finally finished the Game of Thrones books. And it only took me two years...

A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
By George R.R. Martin
1997-2013-??
>5000 pages

In 2014, I watched the first two season's of the HBO show Game of Thrones. I'd been avoiding it until then, blathering on about how I didn't like the violence. Then I watched it and got completely addicted to the violence, I mean storyline. It was compelling, to say the least. So I decided to stop watching the show and read the books, the rewatch the entire show. Two years later...

That wasn't two years of solid reading. I'd pick up a book, read like the mad king, then put it down again for months and months. Start, pause, go, stop, repeat. But this Christmas vacation, I finally finished not only the books, but also the show (up to book 5 and season 5 obviously). It was a violent Christmas.

So what did I think? The books were fantastic - very compelling, addicting, super action packed. I often couldn't put them down. I really liked how the chapters changed viewpoint as it kept me reading to find out what had happened to so and so (although I'll admit to flipping ahead to see who died...). The short chapters made it easy to keep reading. I couldn't avoid spoilers from the show obviously but whatever, there were other characters to follow that I didn't really care who died at the Red Wedding. I found that I didn't care about most characters, but really loved a few, and was very interested in what happened to everyone in Westeros in general. I like epics - falling in love with a world and characters and staying there for awhile, so I really enjoyed this series. Magic, but not too much, action, violence, minimal romance. It was a win win.

Except for two things.

First, I had a hard time getting through book 5. It's not that it was bad: it was still a good story, but it was...slow. So not bad, and not necessarily boring (though yes sometimes), just slow. It took forever for stuff to happen. There was too much talking, too much thinking, too much of the desert. But I prevailed and finished it. And now I'll wait with the rest of the fanatics for book 6. Sigh. So close yet so far.

Second, I had a hard time with how different the show became. Season 4 was a bit different than the books and it was a bit annoying, but season 5, whoa boy - so different from the books. There were different characters doing the same thing, and the same characters doing different things. And as I said, it's not like it was bad. The show in itself is very good, and the books are very good, but they have become very different. And that's ok, unless you're like me and live by routine haha. I think it will be good to finish the show before finishing the books, as will probably happen. As he said himself in his post, they are different - people live and die differently, people are omitted etc, so I'll have to get over it.

Regardless, now I'll wait for the next season, the next book, just like everyone else.

For the record, the books are much better. You should read them...

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