A Song of Fire and Ice (books so far) – G.R.R. Martin (8 GPPs)
5 books and 15 years later, with some trepidation I might add, I finally picked up G R R Martins a ‘Song of fire and Ice’ series; and if I have to be honest, I only did it because they were filming the series literally in my back yard in N.Ireland and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
GASP! Yes I know, I know.. burn me… blasphemy, but in my defence I’m a Lord of the Rings purist and the idea of touching other fantasy novels was like accepting there could be something better out there; how could there be!? I really had to power through to get myself to even open the first page; it was a trying time.
There may be a few minor spoiler alerts here and I will try my best to keep it as covert as possible but there will be things that you might not want to read, if you haven’t read all the books yet..
Therefore just for you..
Straight to the Point – an emotional roller coaster that you might never get over. Its traumatic, funny, intense and makes you want to come back for more.
First bit of advice: don’t read these along with the TV series; you will find yourself getting bored having read what you have just watched, or vice versa. The series is very true to the book (bar a few minor bits and bobs, like the dreams, the wolves, Rickon and some of the battles (none of which detract from the story) and I found that I was wanting to skip loads of pages because I had already seen it on the TV… kinda spoilt the first book for me.
Second bit of advice: Don’t get attached to any of the characters, seriously, you will end up getting upset.. I’m not shitting you. Martin has no qualms about bumping off primary and secondary characters a like at the turn of a page. I went on holiday with my family for two weeks, at the end of the summer and brought ALL the books with me (read them all too!). I remember sitting by the pool, with my sister reading the book after the one I was on and my dad having finished all long ago (the mans a book reading machine!) For some reason they were both looking at me with a smirk on their faces; I carried on reading, slightly perturbed but undaunted, only to realise a few moments later why they were doing it!
In the space of about 3 pages, the author manages to turn you, the reader, into a jibbering, emotional wreck by hitting you with bomb shell, after bomb shell, after bomb shell. It was like I had walked in on my girlfriend sleeping with ALL my best mates and to add insult to injury had been asked to watch and clean up after! I read helplessly and with disbelief as the entire event unfolded before my eyes; the only words to pass my lips being: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I was in so much shock I couldn’t read anymore for a good few hours.
A bit extreme you may think but if you haven’t read them you don’t understand ..”man” you invest sooooo much time getting to know every facet of these characters lives and then BAM, they are bumped off! And it doesn’t end there, you are never safe and every page gives you that feeling that maybe the next will mark the end to another of your favourites. I don’t think I have ever read a book this intriguing or complex before bar maybe one of my historical narratives on ancient Rome.
In real life, things go wrong all the time but in fiction, good always triumphs over evil; or does it? Who is good and who is evil? Is this series of books actually going to end well!? A song of fire and ice blurs your perception of what a fantasy novel should be and instead of having a line between “good” and bad” there is this sort of grey area, which, if it had been a history of Rome or a Medieval Europe, would make sense. People in the classical and medieval periods ate treachery with their breakfast and thought little about selling their friends and family out for a nice bit of land or some coin; but this isn’t history, its fiction… the good guys are meant to triumph and the hero’s are not meant to be unceremoniously beheaded at the start!
It is this very point, this blurring, that makes these books so addictive and you find yourself wanting to carry on just so you can see what the next twist is or who is going to be murdered next. I don’t know how people coped when they had to wait years at a time for the next book. I was climbing the walls after the latest and I was able to read all of them in a row… Just wasn’t enough and It has taken me 2 months to mellow out enough to write a review with out obsessing about what’s going to happen in the next book and felling depressed about the deaths of some of the characters.