New Spring

I’ve been planning on reading The Wheel of Time for a while now, having previously been daunted by the huge investment of time that would be required. I began with New Spring, the prequel to the series.

It seemed like the beginning was a logical place to start, but I really think I might have gotten more out of this book if I’d read the first couple of books in the series first. That being said, I really did enjoy the book.

I liked learning about the Aes Sedai, and their powers and politics. Moiraine and Siuan dominated this book, and I do hope that much more will be revealed about them in the remainder of the series. Having overheard a prophesy about the Dragon Reborn, one who will be able to defeat the Shadow in the final battle, the two sisters leave the White Tower and go in search of this child. During their journeys, they discover that the Black Ajah, a group of the sisters who are pledged to the dark powers, are not a myth, and that they are working quickly in an attempt to kill any man who might possibly be the Dragon. What they don’t know is that he has just been born.

The book lightly touches on Lan and his history, including the fall of the Malkieri. He doesn’t much trust Aes Sedai, but by the end of the book, begins to trust Moiraine as he becomes her bonded Warder. There are subtle hints about a budding romance between the two, so I look forward to seeing just what Robert Jordan has in store for these two characters in the rest of the series.

Inheritance

I know I was a bit slow getting around to this book, since it came out in November, but it was worth the wait. In preparation for reading the final book in the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini, I re-read the first three books. Reading the entire story from start to finish was definitely time consuming, but worth it since I had forgotten so many of the details. Also, I could definitely see how Paolini has grown as a writer over time, too, especially since he wrote Eragon as a teenager.

Inheritance answered many of the questions I’d accumulated throughout the first three books, but not all. I definitely don’t want to give away any spoilers, and summarizing this huge book would just take too long anyway. So, I’ll make this into a shorter post.

I enjoyed seeing the Roran and Katrina’s life together as a family unfold and how Saphira and Eragon grew up, too. It was nice to finally come face to face with Galbatorix, since he had never actually made a previous appearance. Solembum is only the first of many werecats in the story. And I’m not really sure exactly what it was that the Menoa tree took from Eragon. Oh, and the last of Galbatorix’s eggs finally hatched.

I sincerely enjoy epic fantasy, and although not the best written or the most original, this series has a spot on my bookshelf. My main complaint, and this may be just because I’m a girl, is the ending of the series. It does have an ending, but it is more of an open ending. And really, the ending is perfect because with the characters, it just couldn’t end any other way. I’m just hoping that things happen in the unwritten future that bring certain characters happiness.

The Omen Machine

The Omen Machine, by Terry Goodkind is the 13th book in The Sword of Truth series. It was just released a few weeks ago, and I was very excited to have it in my hands!

This is another “Richard and Kahlan” novel, and takes place right after the end of Confessor. Jagang has been defeated, the chainfire spell was stopped in time, the long war is over, Benjamin and Cara just got married, and everyone is looking forward to peaceful times. But now that the threat of war is at an end, representatives and leaders from all parts of D’Hara want things to be done the way they believe is right. They want Lord Rahl to share prophecy with them and use prophecy as a guide to rule the lands. However, Richard has always believed in free will and refuses to bow to prophecy. This makes others question his authority and ability to lead, causing their loyalties to be redirected.

There are more problems than the representatives though. Two women have murdered their own children, and a man attempted to kill his family, all in the name of prophecy, to spare them horrible deaths that they had foreseen in a vision. Richard also discovers something buried beneath the Garden of Life. Something that was obviously hidden on purpose. There is someone, or something, behind all of the darkness that is invading the palace, and Richard is determined to get to the bottom of it.

I was very happy to re-enter D’Hara and read about some of my favorite characters again. Everything was not resolved and tied up with a neat little bow at the end of the book, so I know that more books must be yet to come, which also makes me very happy.

After finishing Confessor, I still had quite a few questions, just about things that really were never wrapped up that well. While I didn’t get any of these answers in The Omen Machine, I now feel like the author will continue to write more of Richard and Kahlan’s story and will address these questions in the future.

A Dance With Dragons

I just finished GRRM’s most recent creation. I think I’m still in the recovery phase right now…

Definitely one of the most highly anticipated recent novels, A Dance With Dragons was published six years after the last one in the series. That seems a bit much. Not that I can complain. I didn’t even start reading the series until recently, so I had to wait a month instead of those six long years that long-time Martin fans had to endure. That being said, I was glad to return to Westeros.

There is just too much happening in this book to give a complete review. I did enjoy the book, mainly because my favorite characters were back! A Dance With Dragons takes place during the same time frame as A Feast For Crows, but it focuses on different characters, and what is happening in different parts of the world. Towards the end, it does continue past where the fourth book ended, but only briefly.

**SPOILERS**

Daenerys was still trying to “practice” being queen in Mereen. She does have some loyal to her, but the people there are really just playing another game of thrones. The best part of her story was near the end, when Drogon returned to Mereen and she flew off on his back. Also, Rhaegal and Viserion were freed from their pits and have now made their lairs in some of the great pyramids of Mereen. Go Dragons! At the end of the book, Daenerys comes face to face with an old acquaintance, one whom I believe to now be an enemy.

Tyrion is making his way towards Daenerys, but much of his story is a bit more boring in this book. He’s not dealing with affairs of state or murdering his family, so maybe that’s why it seems a bit dull. For much of the book, he is traveling. At first, it’s down a river with Prince Aegon. (No, he wasn’t killed as a baby, and now there are two Targaryens who can claim the Iron Throne!) Then, he’s found in a brothel and taken as a slave, being sold with another dwarf Penny as part of jousting act, along with their mounts of a pig and a dog. Seems quite degrading for a Lannister, but Tyrion finds a way to escape. He hires sellswords by promising them all the gold in Casterly Rock. He hasn’t exactly come face to face with Daenerys yet, but he is getting close.

Bran has made his way North and has met the “three-eyed crow.” I’m a bit disappointed here. Something tells me that like Terry Brooks’ book when the child turned into a tree, I’m going to hate this for Bran as well. And I actually care about Bran, unlike TB’s characters.

Theon makes an appearance, and even with all the horrible things he’s done and the fact that he probably deserves a lot of what he gets, I can’t help but feel sorry for him. It’s not that he’s turned into a good character, it’s just that he’s a broken man full of fear.

Jon Snow was by far my favorite character in this book. He truly has been trying to “kill the boy” so that the man can be born. He’s forced to make some very hard decisions and lacks good men to provide counsel. He was attacked at the end of the last chapter from his point of view. I know that GRRM has no problem killing off characters, but something tells me it’s not as simple as that. It’s possible that Jon will not die and continue to live as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. It also seems possible to me that he will die and be brought back to life, hence a way to end his term as a man of the Night’s Watch. Maybe this will allow him to truly be Lord of Winterfell someday. I’d like a happy ending for Jon. He deserves it. But this is all speculation.

Brienne makes a brief appearance. So, I’m assuming that she is alive. Possibly again. Pretty sure she died in FFC, but I could be wrong about that too.

Cersei is humbled and is made to endure the walk of shame from the holy sept back to the castle. Every inch of hair was shaved from her body and she had cross the city completely naked. She did this in order to get back to her son. A mother’s love is really Cersei’s only redeeming quality, but perhaps that will change. She is still awaiting trial.

Varys, who disappeared the night Tyrion killed his father, makes a quick appearance towards the end, shedding light on where his true loyalties lie.

This book was much easier to read than A Feast For Crows, yet more difficult than A Storm of Swords. Still, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to The Winds of Winter, release date currently unknown. Maybe in 2017?

 

A Feast For Crows

Well, I’ve read all of the published books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Most recently, A Feast For Crows. About 350 pages shorter than A Storm of Swords, it took me much longer to read this one, reasons including I was not off work for a week to recover from surgery, and the fact that I felt much of this book was just something to get through. (“A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with auburn hair.”)

I know that GRRM had originally intended to write a much longer book, but when it got too long, he split it into two volumes. Instead of separating the volumes based on chronology, he separated out the characters. The result being that my favorites, (and I’m sure the favorites of many other readers), were not actually in the book. We heard nothing from the perspective of Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow, although he made a very brief appearance. However, Tyrion’s presence was throughout the entire book. I very much liked Brienne, but her chapters did become a bit boring, until the last chapter from her perspective. I’m really hoping that what seemed to happen there did not.

****SPOILERS****

The question of Jaime’s (and in turn, Cersei’s) parentage was questioned, and I’m eager to see how that turns out. Also, Cersei is a complete fool, and probably has doomed herself because of her lack of wits. A prophesy from her childhood haunts her, that she will be overturned by a younger queen. Cersei believes this is Margaery Tyrell and attempts to be rid of her before the prophesy can come true, but this only backfires on her. She never even considered that this queen might be Daenerys. Also, part of this prophesy was that the volanqar would strangle her. The translation for volanqar is “little brother,” so Cersei is naturally terrified of the Imp, believing that he will return to kill her as he killed her father, and as she believes, her son. However, Cersei has two little brothers, as she was born minutes before Jaime. My prediction is that she fears the wrong brother.

At the end of this book, GRRM did leave a note to the reader, part of which stated, “…rest of the characters will be along next year (I devoutly hope) in A Dance with Dragons, which will focus on events along the Wall and across the sea, just as the present book focused on King’s Landing.” This was signed June 2005. Next year? Really? How about six years later?!?!  Although, I guess it could be worse. I could have gotten into this series a few years ago and would actually have had to wait for years before the next book. Now, I only have to wait a couple of weeks, since A Dance with Dragons comes out next month. Yay!!

A Storm of Swords

I finally finished the third book, all nearly 1000 pages of it. And I’m not disappointed. A Storm of Swords picks up where George R. R. Martin left off.

The war, or at least a major battle, has just ended, and Westeros is in shambles. There are still self-proclaimed kings across the Seven Kingdoms fighting for their right to rule. And of course, treachery and intrigue at every turn. Tywin Lannister has arrived in King’s Landing and has taken control of the throne as the King’s Hand, displacing Tyrion. Unfortunately, few people see that the great things Tyrion has accomplished and the terrible fates that he’s spared them. They only see him as an ugly dwarf with a newly mangled face.

Stannis has replaced the old gods with the Lord of Light and his red priestess, Melisandre, is with him always, seemingly in an attempt to control him. However, like most of Martin’s characters, I believe that there is both darkness and light in her, and at the end of the book, I don’t know which she has more of. The wildings beyond the wall play a much greater role in this book, and I’m sure that other things beyond the wall will begin to make their appearance more often as well. And as I discovered in the first book, Martin has no qualms killing off major characters. This is sometimes a good thing, though. Not all the characters deserve to live.

Tyrion is still my favorite character, with Jon Snow coming in second. Arya’s chapters are still mildly interesting, but her sister Sansa is definitely climbing the ranks too. Daenerys didn’t seem to be much of a main character as she didn’t get quite as many chapters. But she is not yet in Westeros either.

I would love to dive into the fourth (and only other published) book in the series, but I’m going to try to wait for my reading partner, Joe, to catch up. We always have better conversations if we’re in the same spot in the story. And I have a multitude of Goodreads books that I need to read and review as well. But I’m eagerly anticipating the return to Westeros.

A Clash of Kings

I finished the second book in George R. R. Martin’s epic series last night. I do have to say that I was not disappointed. Like the first book, it transported me to Westeros. The author introduces additional characters and makes the story even more vast. My favorites still include Tyrion and Arya, although I believe Jon Snow has taken Daenerys’ place as a favorite, but that’s really just due to the fact that she didn’t get as much time in this book. I also enjoyed Bran’s story quite a bit in this book as well.

The title basically says it all. The book was all about A Clash of Kings, all vying for domination. Westeros is still a mess and the seven kingdoms are divided, having more kings that I can currently remember. There is war all around, but most of the story involves more political intrigue than actual battle scenes, although there are a few of those scenes as well. Another thing I like about this book is that magic is creeping into the story bit by bit.

And even more interesting, the Stark children are all separated, involved in different parts of the war. I am eager to find out what happens to all of them.

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