Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones; George R. R. Martin (Bantam; 1996; ISBN 0-553-10354-7; cover by Tom Hallman).

A note on the cover: Oh, looky! I've got a valuable collector's version! Now to just get it signed...

I had previously gotten through 99.99% or better of this book the same year I read the short work The Hedge Knight. I don't recall why I did not finish it and log it then (while bits were forgotten, when I read the book this past month, I kept waiting for parts that were totally new...and not finding I must have finished most, if not all—go figure!)

I enjoyed the book, but I'll be danged if I can give you a coherent (concise) review. Clocking in a several hundred pages and part of a trilogy, no I mean a tetralogy, nope, that's not right, part of a...well, who knows what it'll be part of. Books seem to grow and split or are abandoned. There are three major plotlines (the invasion from the north of various beings, attempts by the last heir of the old regime to take over her old kingdom and battles between those who broke the old kingdom and reigned until the death of the usurper. Chapters move between various viewpoint characters (there are about twenty major characters between the books plus several more than only appear in one chapter). Every plot thread must be followed through, everybody's favorite character must have their day!

Will I read more? Heck yes. A fantasy world that doesn't seem to be heavily influenced by Tolkien, a fantasy world with mud and muck. Some interesting characters (and despite one whining review I had read which made it clear that the reviewer never read the book, there are some strong female characters here), a fascinating background and a (triple) plot that I want to see to the end!

When will the next volume come out? As you'll see from this, I had thought last year. Amazon now lists it for this year, so I'm undertaking a reading of the series to "catch up".

George R. R. Martin on the delay.

Some links: Tower of the Hand (and online encyclopedia). Maps of the settings. Winter is Coming (news about the HBO series).

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