A Song of Fire and Ice (books so far) – G.R.R. Martin (8 GPPs)
Other good points
Dragons, Magic, necromancy and sorcery – all of which feature in this book but in a very subtle, gradual way. It’s not like in your typical fantasy book where all the above are accepted as part and parcel of life. In Westeros, and its neighbouring landmasses; magic, sorcery and Dragons are rumour, legend and old wives tails, told to children to keep them quite. At times people might say they have magical powers but it soon pans out to just to be trickery; slightly disappointed you move on and gradually you get used to the idea of it not being there. Then , out of the blue, a snippet of something “magical” actually happening! Did that guy really bring him back to life? She can walk through fire? There are actually dragons and the DEAD WALK THE EARTH! It’s a crescendo effect and by the 5th book you feel like you are reading a more traditional fantasy novel. (FTW)
The adult theme – the ‘A song of fire and Ice’ series is most definitely for adults; with swearing, sex, incest and all kinds of gruesome violence; it’s not the sort of book you read your children before they go to bed…. Well not if you want to give them nightmares for the rest of their life. Because of this, no holds barred attitude the author has a lot of free reign over content and it gives the reader a more in-depth, ‘warts and all’ picture of what is going on.
It’s a little too descriptive in parts and not descriptive enough in others. He will spend pages describing what food and drink people are eating and what they are wearing but seem to skip over a lot of major turning points; like certain battles and sieges. I can understand trying to keep the flow going but if you are going to omit the cool stuff then maybe cut out some of the looooonnng descriptions of the boring stuff too?
I didn’t overly enjoy a feast for crows until 3 quarters of the way in; too many new characters with little reference to the ones you knew and loved. I think it would have served him better to mix them into other books instead of bombarding you all at once; sort of lost a lot of momentum for me.
The ages of some of the character and the sexual themes within the book. I understand that “back int Day” you would have been married off as early as 13, maybe younger and obviously sex was a part of this; but in the context of a fictional book it just seems wrong. Not something I’ve dwelled on for ages or ruined the book for me but every now and then when there is a descriptive sex scene, a part of me just thinks “DUDE SHES ONLY 13!”
It is a bit wordy in places, it tests your emotions to their limits and there are a lot of names to remember but if you like fantasy novels you will love it… Americas Tolkien indeed!
Thank you HBO for filming the series in my back garden, if you hadn’t I don’t think I would have had the motivation to give these great books a read. I enjoyed nearly every moment and can not wait for the new book and the new series!
By Matt Geary