A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

409207  Title:  A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

  Author: George R. R. Martin

  Genre: Epic Fantasy

  Format: Mass market paperback, 807 pages

 

 

 

First of all, I need to warn you that this is a re-read, meaning that when I read it I paid more attention to the details that I had had before. I first read GoT 3 years ago, after the show had come out, and I proceeded to devour all five books in an instant. Obviously, I didn’t paid much attention to details has I should have, and because of the translation (I only had the books in Portuguese) I think I lost a lot of vital information. Before re-reading the book, I thought that it would take me ages to do it, because I already knew the end, but the opposite happened; I read it in a rush because all of my old “friends” were there waiting for me, to help me remember why I love George Martin so much. So here I am, 3 years later, re-reading the whole 5 books, in English, and praying that when I finish them, Mr. Martin will have the next one ready *fingers crossed*.

Before reading my review you should be aware that trying to describe and explain this series to someone who doesn’t know them is a little bit like trying to describe the world without spoiling it: almost impossible. So what I may write probably make any sense, but believe me this is a masterpiece that you need to read.

For those of you, who don’t know this series (where have you been living??) they’re about a fictional world much similar to ours in the medieval time but with a tad of magic and uncomprehending mystery. In this volume we stumble upon an apparently strong kingdom where peace prevails (as much as it possibly can). The book starts with the death of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, that makes the king, Robert Baratheon, have to travel North and ask Lord Eddard Stark to take Arryn’s place. Eddard Stark, aka Ned, is one of my favorite characters ever due to his conviction that what is right must prevail. When Ned travels South to take his place as Hand of the King, we start getting the feeling that not everything is how it is supposed to be… First we have the Lannisters, the family of the queen, ruthless, wealthy and very arrogant; Queen Cersei is one of those characters that you just love to hate, all her stuffy pose and fake smiles. Then there is the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of the queen (personally I would just give him the kingdom and be done with that), always underestimated and mocked because of his disabilities, he becomes one of the most smart and interested figures of the family(and of the realm). And to finish we have Daenerys Targaryen, the princess who ran with her brother Viserys to the Free Cities after Robert Baratheon took the throne form her father 15 years ago, and who now poses a threat to the throne; because of the show I forget how young she is in the book, what makes me admire her even more, this is a character that after so many years finally decides to take “the reins”(literally) and really own her life (if you already read the books you will understand me). These are just a small fraction of the crucial characters introduce in this volume, believe there are much more important ones who you will fall and love/hate. I can’t tell much more without basically taking all the fun from the story, but one thing I can tell you: “when you play the game of thrones you win or you die”.

Just for those of you who already read this masterpiece: because this is a re-read I decided to make some notes of important events that I never really gave much thought. First of all we really get to see how much Sansa lives in the clouds, with her dreams of beautiful knights saving her from the could of the North, and that as long as she has her prince everything will be all right. Really I just want to punch her in the face and tell her to wake up, because guess what: you get your father killed. Then there is the whole story behind Jon’s mother, who I really never gave much thought, but after this re-read I really can tell that I agree with popular opinion of who she is, there are just to many hints about it. And last but not least, there is Catelyn, a character that I really never gave much though about but that now has my full attention, she is a kickass woman, and Sansa should really follow her steps. So here they are. my thoughts about this book, at least the ones that I can put in words… because really there isn’t enough time for me to really dissect this book (there are 4 more waiting for me in the shelf!)

★★★★★

Rita Viegas

What We’re Looking Forward To In October

What We’re Looking Forward To is, as the name indicates, a monthly feature where we talk about what books we’re most excited to check in the coming month. 

From João:

There has always been in me a potent interest for everything war related; I blame it on growing up imagining armies of orcs and men battling on the fields of Pelennor. The synopsis of the latest Greg Bear book, War Dogslooks immensely interesting, and it reminds me of Haldeman’s The Forever War,   and, more recently, of Will McIntosh’s Defenders.

War DogsThey made their presence on Earth known thirteen years ago.
Providing technology and scientific insights far beyond what mankind was capable of. They became indispensable advisors and promised even more gifts that we just couldn’t pass up. We called them Gurus.
It took them a while to drop the other shoe. You can see why, looking back.
It was a very big shoe, completely slathered in crap.
They had been hounded by mortal enemies from sun to sun, planet to planet, and were now stretched thin — and they needed our help.
And so our first bill came due. Skyrines like me were volunteered to pay the price. As always.
These enemies were already inside our solar system and were moving to establish a beachhead, but not on Earth.
On Mars
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I have never read any genre fiction from China, and since Cixin Liu‘s The Three-Body Problem appears to be one of the great works to have come out of that scene, now published in English through Tor, and translated by the amazing Ken Liu, I am l0oking forward to give this one a shot.

The Three-Body ProblemThree-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

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This one is bound to arrive in my doorstep at any moment. I am a bit apprehensive because I am very sensitive to non-standard narration techniques and might give up on the book because of it, but Lavie Tidhar‘s The Violent Century has an incredible review buzz around it and the premise is right up my alley. Very excited for this one.

The Violent CenturyJohn le Carré meets Alan Moore’s The Watchmen in this stunning novel by one of science fiction’s most original voices.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism – a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields – to answer one last, impossible question: What makes a hero?

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From Rita:

Although I haven’t yet read The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades, I’m really looking forward to read The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. It’s the conclusion to a great story, and I just cannot let Percy go… (but I’ll have to wait until the edition of the House of Hades with the cover I love is released so that I’m able to finish the series).


The Blood of Olympus
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

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After reading The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, I decided that I just had to read more things from those two authors. After some research, I found The Couldest Girl in Coldtown and it seemed the perfect thriller to read over the winter.

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownTana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

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And George R. R. Martin does it again. The World of Ice and Fire promises to deliver a book full of “new history”, amazing illustrations, and, let’s hope, some hints of plot development. The pre-order is made, and now all we need is to wait.

The World of Ice and FireIf the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork—the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time
—warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org—perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers. It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon’s establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the “present-day” struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords

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Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

downloadTitle: Mistborn (Mistborn Trilogy #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Format: Mass market paperback, 657 pages

If there is one thing I love in books is a kickass female protagonist. And thank God (or the Lord Ruler) for Brandon Sanderson.  But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Lord Ruler rules the Final Empire, a tyrant who has enslaved the Skaa and controls its population by fear. In this world some noblemen, called mistings, have the power to use metals as a source of power. For example, some are able to use brass to soothe the others emotions, whereas others are able to riot emotions using zinc. Then there are the mistborns, the ones who can control all of the 10 allomantic metals, the most powerful of all.

The storyline follows two characters, both mistborns: Kelsier and Vin. Kelsier is a middle-aged man who has experienced a lot of suffering in the hands of the Lord Ruler and therefore seeks revenge. Vin is a badass 16 year-old half-breed, who doesn’t rely on any man. And oh Lord how I love kickass female protagonists. She is a character that experiences a great deal of development throughout the book, thanks to the environment and the circumstances where she is found. The same also happens to Kelsier, though not so notably, but you can feel during the book some changes on his personality and actions, which I believe shows that Sanderson knows how to develop his characters.

Both Vin and Kelsier, with the help of a crew of mistings, have the mission to dethrone the Lord Ruler and free the skaa from their enslavement. I’m not going to tell you much more about the plot, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. What I can tell you is some of the reasons why I absolutely loved this book. First of all, Sanderson has the ability to introduce you to a very well-constructed world without blasting you with information in the first chapters. He builds his world without trying to overwhelm you with is writing, and you feel like the information flows so naturally through the descriptions and the characters that you don’t even feel that it is not your own world.

I will recommend this to everyone who loves fantasy, especially to those who love epic fantasy. This book is full of adventure, intrigue and mystery, and it makes you question a lot about the responsibility that comes with power, and how it can overtake you.

“but you can’t kill me. I represent that thing that you’re never able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope”

P.S.: For those who have already read this book, don’t you just want to be a keeper? Even more than a mistborn?

 

★★★★★

Rita Viegas