I know no one reading this knows me much (well some of you may) but I DON'T reread books. I usually read a book once and its quite well locked into my...moreI know no one reading this knows me much (well some of you may) but I DON'T reread books. I usually read a book once and its quite well locked into my brain. As much as I've enjoyed many books I've read, they just don't require a second read for me. I read them, now its time to move on. "A Game of Thrones" is different. I loved this book and its characters so much, and crave the world and narrative so much that I couldn't wait for Martin to get the newest installment out. So I started rereading the first book I've ever reread.
Let me just say that I didn't find ANY of the characters boring. Even the characters that I would find an anoying personality type, are deeply engrosing in this tale. And those types of characters number just 2 for me in this book. There are so many characters, with such a broad range of personalities that there is someone to match everyones likes. Yet even the characters I initially found myself repulsed by, grow and change and are just as fascinating as those that I admire and empathize with.
Normally I dislike when an author has too many characters and jumps from character to character from one chapter to the next, not so in this book. Martin's ability to tell a story and hook you on it, is so great that I started to look forward to these jumps to different characters. With this many characters you really are provided with a great narrow and broad picture of the currents of this world and narrative. Its like watching individual storms all over the globe, all adding up to the global weather system.
Which leads me to my next point, his pacing. I've read my share of epic fantasy series. In particular Martin's two major contemporaries/rivals for the top spot of the epic fantasy genre: Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan. Both these authors have good parts, and bad parts to their books. There are momments in their books where I stop and think, "That was the coolest thing (event) I've ever read". Yet there are way more parts in both author's works where I was thinking "when are we going to get to the next awsome and exciting event? Why are we still walking/riding/working/...etc(you get my drift)". I came to expect this in any book, particularly epic fantasy. I just thought that when a book/series gets as long as these tomes, you end up having to spread some borring filler in there because one imagination can only do so much exciting work. Martin broke that mold for me. I kept waiting for a momment where part of my mind would start, metaphorically, tapping its foot in bordom thinking, "are we there yet?". It never happened. Each chapter would grab me, and by the time the chapter ended I was groaning at having to leave behind this story thread because I was wrapped up in its narrative path. Then I'm instantly swept up by the events of the next chapters story thread.
Finally there is the commitment by the author to this narrative. Many stories have jeopardy but you kind of know that in the end, the main character can't die, there are more books to come. Don't ever count on that in "A Game of Thrones". Everyone of the characters is fair game, and people/characters will die in horrible and tragic ways. In this book and in subsequent ones in the series, I literally threw down the book and got up in shock. Sometimes even shouting out to no one at all, "Oh my GODS!, he killed !". It gives me confidence in Martin and his own level of commitment to telling me the best and most real story possible, complete with unfair and tragic events happening to good AND bad people (though in the case of the bad people I suppose it would be "fair and happy" when negative things happen to them..lol). Ok, thats it, I can't believe how much I wrote here. Hope this gets some folks to read this book. Cause once you read the first, you'll be hooked.
03/22/2009: I just finished re-reading this book, and have to say it was even better the second time around. I caught subtleties to the plot that I never caught before, particularly about Jon Snow, Lyanna Stark, and Eddard Stark. I also found it interesting how much more the tension in the book was increased for me because I knew certain great momments were coming in the book, and the tension that created for me was most enjoyable. This is quite possibly THE best first book in a fantasy series I've ever read. I can't wait to re-read book #2 now, if only I had more time to read!(less)
This book is Neil Gaiman doing what he does, making superheroes look awesome and smart all at the same time. As well as making them into archetypal fi...moreThis book is Neil Gaiman doing what he does, making superheroes look awesome and smart all at the same time. As well as making them into archetypal figures of myth, or maybe its the other way around and he is turning archetypal figures of myth (gods and old school "heroes") into awesome and smart superheroes. Either way its amazing, and John Romita Jr.'s art is impressively textured and epic as ever.
Read this, because Gaiman doesn't doe a ton of comic stuff anymore, and we should all cherish his brief returns to it.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book is brilliant, and when I have more time I'll explain why. I just want to put up a bit here after reading a few reviews of...more**spoiler alert** This book is brilliant, and when I have more time I'll explain why. I just want to put up a bit here after reading a few reviews of this book about how many complete IDIOTS read this book. It astounds me that so many people could read this book, quite possibly one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read in my 30 years, and find it "ok" to "it sucked". All I can say in response is, "I kick your face!". More later.
I just reread this book after about 3-4 years since my first reading. It just as amazing the second time around. I rediscovered little segments of the story I had all but forgotten about, and visited the ones again that I'll never forget. Mr. Nancy still made me laugh, Czernobog still made me wish I new more about Eastern European mythology, and the bank heist was still one of the coolest scenes.
This book is poetic, simple, and life altering. It has messages about who we, both Americans and citizens of the world in general, are. I felt like I breifly glimpled the heart of my homeland, and the vision was provided to me by a man from England. I'm gushing I know, but I can't help it. I want anyone reading this to understand how amazing this book is.
When people ask me to describe this book to them I usually tell them two things. One, it is quite simply the best book I've ever read in my life. Not the best fantasy novel. THE, BEST, BOOK, I've ever read. And two, its essentially a road trip story. These are the best things I can think of to describe this book in broad strokes. Yet its so much more. Its a story about gods, the title did not lie. Its about the land, soul, and people of America. There are momments of pure hummor. There is a woman that is a zombie. A dog that is a mortician. Easter, slave revolts, and Las Vegas are all in this book. Between the begining and end of this book you will attend 1 funeral, and 2 wakes (one vastly more fun than the other, and one VASTLY more enlightening than the other), 1 bank robbery, ride in several cars, and witness countless coin tricks. A man will fight a tall leprechaun. I could go on and on. This book has mystery, magic, tragedy (both human and mythic), jokes, stories, morticians, bad food, good food, there is even a half-demon hooker (quite possibly the first hooker).
I am a man that has never reread a book in his life. This is my first one. I type here as a man who doesn't reread, and I tell you this book was just as good when I reread it as the first time I read it. So go read it. You'll discover quite possibly the greatest writer of his generation, or at least in the top 5. I've started a tradition now. Every time an election comes around, I'm going to reread this book. That way I'll always be remind of a time before that future present, and will always look on this master piece with new experiences to take it in anew every time.(less)
Well, I must say right now that this is currently my favorite Sandman book. I read Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturns and really liked it, but there is a...moreWell, I must say right now that this is currently my favorite Sandman book. I read Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturns and really liked it, but there is a part in the middle of it that just didn't grab me. That cannot be said for "The Doll's House". I was hooked from page one, and only got more drawn into the book as it went. Even when there is a side story in the middle of the book, I was still fascinated by the tale. In fact I would say my favorite part of the book is the side story in the middle. I love getting to know Dream more and more, and seeing little bits and pieces of his fellow undying siblings. So bravo Mr. Gaiman sir, you have proven my faith in your talents yet again. I can't wait to read the next volume.(less)
What can I say about this that I didn't already say in previous reviews of Sandman books. Its genius, pure and simple. I'd be gushing to go on in this...moreWhat can I say about this that I didn't already say in previous reviews of Sandman books. Its genius, pure and simple. I'd be gushing to go on in this vein, so I won't.
In this book, Dream decides to correct a mistake he made a long time ago, and in the process he ends up with the key to hell. Enter many many gods and entities that want Hell (because its apparently very popular psychic property).
I can say that had I read this book when it was first out, I wouldn't have been as suprised at casting choices in one of my favorite novels "American Gods". Gods pop-up in this book that also make appearances in "American Gods" as well as the novella about Shadow (American Gods' main character) "Monarch of the Glen".
All around this is a fantastic graphic novel that I highly recommend to all who want to read good fiction, as well as to those who are fans of Gaiman's other works and haven't read his breakout work Sandman. Check it out, its great stuff.(less)
Another hit from Gaiman and Sandman. This one is very interesting since it calls up a side character from a previous Sandman tale. I hold back from gi...moreAnother hit from Gaiman and Sandman. This one is very interesting since it calls up a side character from a previous Sandman tale. I hold back from giving it 5 stars mainly because for my money, I didn't get to see enough of the Sandman in this one. But props for a severed face nailed to the wall and talking, that is always interesting.(less)
I liked this Sandman. It was yet again a great addition to the world of Sandman. My only real complaint about any Sandman book is often when the story...moreI liked this Sandman. It was yet again a great addition to the world of Sandman. My only real complaint about any Sandman book is often when the story strays from the titular character and his siblings. Still, the almost anthology-esque style of this narrative is fun. We really get a sense of just how multi-dimensional this worl is, going from alternate realities of earth, all the way to worlds from with in fiction. My only other complaint is a sense of being lost at the point I read this book, since it seems to actually happen later on in the actual narrative chronology of the Sandman univers. Since I wasn't sure who's funeral you witness at the end of the book (and still am not 100% sure) until I finished Sandman Vol. 10. Still, not a dissappointment at all, and in fact a nice addition to the series already symphonic scope of flavor.(less)
Its brilliant, I could say more but I've already said all the things I'd say about this about all the other Sandman books. They are fantastic, and if...moreIts brilliant, I could say more but I've already said all the things I'd say about this about all the other Sandman books. They are fantastic, and if you haven't read them yet well...GET STARTED!!(less)
I'm stunned! To tell you the truth, I never saw this coming. This is probably the most painful Sandman volume for me to read, and yet it was excellent...moreI'm stunned! To tell you the truth, I never saw this coming. This is probably the most painful Sandman volume for me to read, and yet it was excellent in its depth and complexity of narrative.(less)
This is a bitter sweet story, being that its the end of the line for the Sandman line of TP. That being said, it is a great story. Reading about Hob a...moreThis is a bitter sweet story, being that its the end of the line for the Sandman line of TP. That being said, it is a great story. Reading about Hob at the renn. fest. is awsome good fun! The wake itself is fun just for the famous DC faces you see in the crowd of sleepers in attendance, and the art in this one is probably my favorite of the entire series. If you liked the rest, try the end. I'm just going to read Sandman: Endless Nights and I'll be wrapped up with one of my top 5 author's first lines of stories. I guess its on to Neverwhere pretty soon.(less)
This story has something for everyone. I've been recommending it to fans of Harry Potter. This is the first level of this book that I enjoyed. A fun,...moreThis story has something for everyone. I've been recommending it to fans of Harry Potter. This is the first level of this book that I enjoyed. A fun, slightly macabre, story of a boy and his life (particularly his life in a graveyard).
As you read the book you come to feel the deeper narrative currents of childhood and growing up, and eventually leaving the nest for a big dangerous world. I don't know if it was intentional, I can only assume it was from such a artist as Mr. Gaiman, but his own experiences as a father must come through in this aspect of the book. Its on this level that you discover not just another excellently written childrens fantasy, but a story so achingly touching I was nearly brought to tears at the end.
I can't same that Neil Gaiman shocks me anymore with his skill at writing. I've come to expect nothing less but the best. Yet he does still manage to suprise me with bringing up emotional reactions in me that I never thought a book could bring up. Just Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin have this power over me to date. This book is amazing, fun, and bitter sweet with out being sugary sweet. Check this book out, its a must.(less)
Wow, this book was excellent. This is the first thing I've read by Joe Hill, and it makes me look forward to great things from him.
This is, at its cor...moreWow, this book was excellent. This is the first thing I've read by Joe Hill, and it makes me look forward to great things from him.
This is, at its core, a basic ghostly revenge store. Of course this is like saying that prime rib is at its core, a cow. Its true, but how its cooked and presented by the cook. You start out feeling like the protagonist deserves to die. By the end of it, you are hoping with every fiber of your being that the protagonist turns the tables on his undead stalking death.
As my friend Noah said in his review, this book is full of rock music references as well as having a nicely offhand reference to Lovecraft, see if you can catch it.
Basically Joe Hill is an excellent writer. I can't put my finger on any one specific thing about his writing, but I can feel his father's influence in there. Its light enough that its not emulation, which is awesome. One Stephen King is more than enough. His own style comes through brilliantly. I was actually sad when I was done with this story, and those are always the authors I hold in highest reguard. Check this out if you like King's earlier, more supernatural yet moody stuff; or if you just want a good old fashioned supernatural ghost story. I found it refreshing myself. The bad guy was bad and scarey, yet not immediately annihilating. So many award winning horror stories I see in passing to day seem more along the lines of regular people doing terrible, but still mundane things. It was nice to see horror that revolved around emotion, the other side, the supernatural, and things that go bump in the night.(less)
Fantastic collection of stories. They range the gamut from the truly horrific but to the whimsically weird, and all points in between. My personal fav...moreFantastic collection of stories. They range the gamut from the truly horrific but to the whimsically weird, and all points in between. My personal favorites were "Abraham's Boys" a truly great story about discovering your parents aren't supreme beings; and "Voluntary Committal" a nice lovecraftian piece. Yet all the stories are fantastic and unique in there own way. Joe Hill truly has some mad skills, and I can't wait to read more from him.(less)
I really liked this book. Its a classic story but with the definite whimsically dark edge of Neil Gaiman. I will always be a sucker for stories about...moreI really liked this book. Its a classic story but with the definite whimsically dark edge of Neil Gaiman. I will always be a sucker for stories about kids having fantastical adventures and saving their parents. (less)
I picked this book up for two reasons: 1)I had been saying for months now that I needed a good hardcore Sci-Fi read (after a very long stretch of Fant...moreI picked this book up for two reasons: 1)I had been saying for months now that I needed a good hardcore Sci-Fi read (after a very long stretch of Fantasy and its various sub-genre's) and 2) because it was co-authored by George R. R. Martin (one of the few authors I can say are "My all-time favorite writers", check my shelf of that name to see who they are).
This book wasn't exactly what I was searching for when I thought of reading a hardcore Sci-Fi novel, but it ended up finding a warm comfy place inside my head all the same. Please, don't let that last remark make you think I don't consider this a Hardcore Sci-Fi novel, because it most assuredly is. There are aliens cultures/races (at least 2 different kinds scene, and a 3rd kind are described), alien worlds, flying vans, FTL travel, beam weapons, alien creatures, cloning, and a few more staples of the genre that I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention. That being said, this book has some fairly strong Noir elements to it as well. Of course I am a huge fan of crossing genres (much safer than crossing streams), so I liked the marriage of the two.
This story is entirely from the perspective of Ramon Espejo. This perspective is a nice change from what I've been reading lately, and really allows you to get to know and sympathize with Ramon. From the outside he's a hard character to sympathise with, being a boastful, ill tempered, semi-bumb fueled by his dislike for the rest of humanity and his own sense of machismo. Yet of course you come to find out that much of this is a defense mechanism for him, and its hard to entirely hate him once you see the humanity inside of him.
Of course you are treated to these insights in to Ramon's character while on the run from alien enemies through (a different) alien wilderness. It really comes down to being a human(ity) driven alien Sci-Fi story, about how different and the same things are throughout the galaxy. And it has two of the more original seeming alien races I've ever encountered in Sci-fi.
One note before I end this review. I'm a little annoyed that the other two authors of this book don't get credited as authors on Goodreads.com. Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham, for all I know about the process involved in the making of this book, did just as much writing as George R.R. Martin. Yet they get no mention here, and that is sad. Hopefully a complaint to Goodreads.com will fix it.(less)