A Song of Ice and Fire series
Martin, George R. R.
It’s been a long time since I read any fantasy. Like, proper fantasy. And I gotta say, A Song of Ice and Fire definitely comes under the category of ‘proper fantasy’ – anyone who’s been watching the Game of Thrones series on HBO knows what I’m talking about, however vaguely. Because when it comes to screen adaption, the movies are okay (that’s being generous a lot of the time – usually there’s either too much padding out or too little detail), the television series is better (again, not always, but recently it’s been the case), but the book is best.
Speaking about detail, my word, these books go to town with it. Usually I steer clear of this kind of fantasy book, all the castles and horses and dragons and shit like that gives me hives. It’s mostly because to a lot of authors (and probably, readers, which is why they do it) don’t bother to call a big, f***-off horse you’d ride into battle on a destrier. That’s what it is though, a destrier. Also, all the bits and pieces of the armour – the greaves and gorgets and pauldrons that you just don’t read about in other books. I think that was what sold me on A Song of Ice and Fire, it was a moment of “Aww, George, you had me at hauberk”.
So, okay, we’ve established that there has been some kick ass researching done for this book. Being a library type person, I respect a healthy dose of research. Not only does it lend a tone of realism to a work like this (however lost that realism might be on a general audience), I also feel that it makes the author seem more respectful of the intelligence of their audience. If that seems a little odd, allow me an explanation. Because Martin has decided that he’s going to tell us which particular bits of the armour that they’re wearing are rusting on the knights, and he’s going to use the proper names for bits of castles and also words like prate and corsair without any hint of explanation, that to me speaks of a respect for readers that they either know what those things are already or they will damn well go and look them up if they have a mind to. What’s not to love about that? Hang on, in the next bit, I’m gonna talk a little about what the story is actually about, so don’t read anymore if you’re reading them and aren’t up to Dance yet, or if you’re watching the TV show and just don’t want to know any more. Fair warning – here be spoilers.
Hmn, looks like I’m not such a lone wolf any more. Here is a guest post from my friend, the very talented Ngaio Simpson, lacemaker, artiste and fantasy fan. I’m currently working on a piece on texture in writing which I hope to have finished… sometime in the near future for her blog. But without further ado, take it away, Ngaio:
The story is a bit magical realism, a little fantasy and a bit of teenage angst. But not in the twilight way. More of a higher intelligence angst. Now, I know what you are thinking, “That makes no sense…”, but I think if you read the book you might understand. One of the most delightful things about this book has to be all of the book talk. If you like SF and fantasy and you’re looking for a new book for after this one, you could easily get one through reading this book. I think I’ll be Googling the book list from this book straight after writing this.
The main character is Mor, her father, mother and various other family members and school “friends”… Yeah I wasn’t that sure you could really call them friends. Mor has an unknown past muddled in with her crazy mother and twin sister and her injured leg. Some of these facts become clearer as the story goes on and some stay a little grey which I think is okay. We follow Mor as she attends a new school and tries to fit in and find some people who are interested in the same things she is. You will have to read it to find out how that pans out. Oh, and there are fairies and magical beings around so look out for them, they give the story it’s difference. I really wanted to believe that she was completely in her own mind but I have to say sometimes I wasn’t 100% sure if everything that was happening wasn’t just happening in her head. Read the rest of this entry