Tag Archives: George R R Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Fire and Ice #4)

A Feast for Crowsby George R R Martin

I found A Feast for Crows to be a rather strange offering. The books 770 pages are as gripping and full of the imaginative storytelling we have all come to expect of this wonderful series. The whole of Westeros continues to be torn apart by the warring factions each aiming to gain the Iron Throne and rule over the seven kingdoms. 

Whilst there are no big battle scenes, there is plenty of the political intrigue that has become the hallmark of this series. But for me, this was the inevitable weak point of the tale. It doesn’t really feel like the various threads of the tale have moved a great deal. I suppose that with so much happening in the previous books, a moment of consolidation and consideration was required. 

Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a bad book, it just doesn’t have the pace and impact of the previous books of the series. It also misses out completely three of the story’s central characters, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. We will have to wait until book five to find out what has been happening at the Wall and across the sea. 

In A Song of Fire and Ice, George R R Martin has created a world that is alive with wonderful characters, great beauty and unimaginable cruelty – much like our own, but with the added bonus of dragons. A Feast For Crows has them all (except the dragons) in abundance. As the Stark girls continue their separate odysseys, each unaware that her sister has survived the hell that descending on Kings Landing, Cersie Lannister’s attempts to tighten her grip on the Iron Throne are under threat from an unexpected quarter. In fact, the whole of Westeros is going to pot and there seems to be little anyone can do about it. 

As part of the series that has gripped readers and TV viewers alike, this book provides another piece of the elaborate jigsaw that has been created by the wonderful storyteller, George R R Martin.

A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire #3.2)

A Storm of Swordsby George R R Martin

And the fun and laughter just goes on!

Or it would of there was any. One thing you can say about the epic Songs of Fire and Ice series is that they are neither funny or fun. If you have already read the preceding books, you will already know what to expect, if you haven’t then don’t bother trying to pick up the story at this stage. 

The squabble over the Iron Throne of Westeros continues unabated. And as the death toll continues to rise amongst the story’s leading characters, their relationships and allegiances becomes more complex and fragile.

Young Robb Stark seems unassailable as he leads his army of northmen inexorably south towards Kings Landing. But all is not as it should be back home, with Robb’s enemies hatching plans of their own. 

Beyond the Wall another war is brewing, but this time against an enemy that seemingly cannot be stopped. Jon Snow faces enemies on both sides of the Wall as he returns to Castle Black.

In the east, Daenerys Stormborn continues her campaign against the slave traders even as she prepares her return to Westeros to reclaim her father’s throne.

This is one of the most intense and complex series of books I have read in a long time. The carnage amongst the leading players in this deadly game is particularly unnerving as you never know who is going to fall next. This volume has a few surprises for those who have not already seen the TV series, with regicide seemingly becoming something of a pastime in Westeros. 

The Songs of Fire and Ice has become a modern classic, even though the last book(s) have yet to be published. The immense scope of the story itself is staggering and this book is just as intense and driven as the previous volumes. The characters around whom then story is told continue to be as bold and well-structured as the tale they tell. It is common for mid series books to falter a little as the plot hits a kind of lull before the climactic ending, but in this case, there are no signs of slowing down the pace or compromising the integrity of the characters.

A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire #3.1)

A Storm of Swordsby George R R Martin

The first part of the third book of the Song of Fire and Ice series, Steel and Snow sees our myriad of characters dealing with the aftermath of the failed assault on King’s Landing. As with the previous two books, the interwoven plots, expertly crafted characters and great writing make this as gripping a book as you could wish for.

Anyone who has seen the TV adaption will understand just how difficult it can be at times to keep up with the machinations and political intrigues that drive the plot on. But it is the relationships between the various characters that continues to intrigue me. As the story progresses, relationships become more complex. People are rarely all good or all bad, and can often react in ways that you can’t anticipate. And the same goes for George R R Martin’s multitude if characters. 

As for the story itself, the Lannisters tighten their grip on the throne of Westeros and shift their focus from their battle field to forging alliances through marriage. In the north, Robb Stark’s advance stalls as he faces the breakup of the alliances that have contributed to his successes so far. 

Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow must come to terms with the conflicts between his vows as a member of the Night Watch and the pressing need to survive amongst the Wildlings. The rest of the Stark family face their own challenges, doing their best to survive in difficult circumstances. Sansa has become a pawn in the games between the other houses, Arya continues her journey north in her attempt to re-join her mother and brother. Meanwhile, young Bran Stark continues his own journey towards the wilds of the far north in search of the crow with three eyes.

With all of Westeros caught up in the fight between the conflicting claims on the Iron Throne, the free people from beyond the Wall are massing for an attack on the kingdoms of the south. And across the sea in the east, Daenerys Stromborn is assembling an army to pursue her own claim on the throne. 

There is no let-up in the pace or complexity of the narrative. For fans of the books so far, there will be no disappointment here. For anyone who hasn’t read the first two books, it is pointless trying to join the adventure here – you’ll never work out what on earth is going on!

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)

A clash of kingsby George R R Martin

The second book of the Song of Fire and Ice series picks up were the first book left off and plunges the reader ever deeper into the intrigues, incest, murder and deception of Westeros.

With the Seven Kingdoms descending into war, the young King Joffrey finds himself surrounded by contenders to the Iron Throne. From the far north comes Robb Stark, the new Lord of Winterfell, intent on avenging the death of his father at the hands of the new King. Meanwhile, brothers Renly and Stanis Baratheon contend with each other over who has the best claim to their elder brother’s crown. 

And let’s not forget young Daenerys Stormborn, mother of dragons and last of the Targaryen line, determined to take back the crown that she believes is hers by right.

Throw in trouble from beyond The Wall, where something dark and mysterious is beginning to move, and you have the makings of a fantasy classic.

R R Martin has created a world in which magic and dragons are not only possible and very real. The multi layered plots and political shenanigans, coupled with a create story telling style and relentless pace, make these books a must read for anyone with the slightest interest in fantasy. 

Westeros is a cruel place, and many of the characters reflect that. There is no shortage of battles and blood, but there is also a touch of innocence. The story unfolds from the perspectives of several of the key players, but not from any of the main contenders for the throne. The focus of the books is the Stark family, who find themselves separated from each other, each facing personal tragedy and danger, but also finding themselves embroiled in the war to take to Iron Throne.

If you have already read the first book, then don’t hesitate to get stuck into this one. Any for anyone who has seen the TV adaptation but not read the books, you need to buy yourself a copy of the books and get on with it. Although the plot remains the same, there is so much more depth to the characters and the plot. 

Five stars all the way.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

Game of Thronesby George R R Martin

Game of Thrones is a worldwide phenomena. The TV serialisation has captured the imaginations of millions, becoming one of the most talked about shows of the last few years. I am one of those who has found myself captivated by the intrigue and savagery of the story, so I thought it was about time I read the books.

Very often the book and the TV or film version differ a great deal, with screenwriters taking the plot off in a completely different direction and introducing new characters along the way. But I am pleased to say that in this case, this has not happened. The bulk of what I read on the page I could remember from the screen. This can sometimes be a hindrance as the producer’s vision is usually quite different from my own. 

Game if Thrones is set in a fictional world where dragons and magic exist, but only just. The story is centred around the fight for the Iron Throne, the seat of the king of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. But as the various houses fight with each other for what they see as the ultimate prize, events in the frozen north and the deserts of the east look set to upset all their plans.

The book is filled with wonderful characters, some you love, others you will hate (all for the right reasons) and the multi-layer storyline drives the characters and plots almost relentlessly. Despite the weaving in and out of the various stories, the book is easy to read and totally captivating. George R R Martin is a natural storyteller. He makes his characters believable and simple to understand, and the way he weaves the different threads of the tale together is nothing short of genius. I loved the book even more than the series, and that is saying something. 

Captivating, cleverly plotted and full of interesting characters, Game of Thrones is as immersive and imaginative tale of intrigue, murder, regicide, incest and war, with a little bit of magic and some dragons thrown in for good measure, as you could possible want? 

I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.