Have you ever read a book and thought: "I'd love to travel to or live in this universe"? From all the books that come to mind, the "A Song Of Ice AndHave you ever read a book and thought: "I'd love to travel to or live in this universe"? From all the books that come to mind, the "A Song Of Ice And Fire" series by George R. R. Martin is probably not the first one you thought of. On the contrary, this book should be high on everyone's lists of world they do not wish to travel to.
This however is exactly the premise of "The Pen Is Mightier". Labeled as both satire and homage, Andy C.F. Crawford takes on Martin's famous universe in this book, including both non-subtle references to the original ASOIAF plots and characters, fans, and even George R. R. Martin himself. This is the story of Sed, an avid fan of the fantasy series, who miraculously figures out a way to travel to the universe of "Those Accursed Chronicles" (as the "A Song Of Ice And Fire"-series is called in this book). He even convinces the author that this is not a hallucination, and both fan and author are left to face their conscience: is it right to create and enjoy a bloody and violent fictional world, if it suddenly ceased to be fiction?
This book I would definitely only recommend for fans of GRRM's original series. None of the characters in this series are particularly fleshed out, unless you can link them their "A Song Of Ice And Fire" counterparts. The representations of the author and the fans aren't in as much luck. There's little depth to any of these characters, though they would probably pass several of Tumblr's diversity standards. The lack of depth is an issue throughout the entire book I think, it was all fairly basic, and it already starts with the maps: the Kingdoms are called Marsh, Stone, Sand, Forest & Sea Kingdom, which are, if you ask me, the most basic possible names, and they never really developed beyond this status.
The good thing is however, that the plot is more driven by action than character development, so this didn't really lessen my enjoyment of the book. Though not as flowery as GRRM's prose, the book did captivate me more than I had expected. The format of many POVs with short chapters worked well for its set-up, and I loved the inclusion of Reddit discussions and Wiki-pages. The only downside to this was that the Wiki pages detailed the character's adventures in the books, and a lot of these excerpts described the same happenings. Again. And again. Sadly, I don't think we ever learned more than the basics of these events despite the repetition, but I loved the way the story was told and how the modern media were incorporated into the writing. In a story set in the modern day, it doesn't make sense to include the internet after all, especially if the protagonist is both in college and an avid fan of something.
My favourite part of the book was Paul, the author, and the struggle with his conscience. After all, Paul - and his real-life counterpart, GRRM - put their characters through some truly cruel events, so it's interesting to see them react to it. I think GRRM's made of slightly stronger stuff than Paul, but all the same, throughout the entire book I was reminded of one particular interview with GRRM about the "Game Of Thrones"-tv show, whose quote I think deserves a mention in this context:
"At the premiere, I found myself talking to three very nice actors, at one point, who were very pleasant, and I was having a great time talking with them and drinking with them, and then I suddenly realized that I had killed all three of them, at various points in the series, and that they would all shortly be unemployed actors. And I had a moment of horrible guilt, but it’s already done." (x)
An entire book on GRRM's guilt, multiplied by ten. Fantastic! I also loved that GRRM's slowness in writing these books was taken into account, because seriously, I think that's what *every* fan of these books can relate to. I just hope GRRM doesn't have to take Paul's way out.
Overall: a decent book, that I think is more homage than satire. Though it could've been a bit better fleshed out, the book was captivating as it was, and it was definitely enjoyable in its own way.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review....more
Maybe rating this book 5 stars is slightly excessive, but I can't help it. It's just that much fun, even if it's a non-fiction book, it doesn't just dMaybe rating this book 5 stars is slightly excessive, but I can't help it. It's just that much fun, even if it's a non-fiction book, it doesn't just deal with facts. At its most basic, the bare bones of the book consists of facts about Korean dramas (in South-Korea the word is used in a broader sense, for every acted television series) and interesting aspects in their production, plots and mise-en-scène.
In short: this book is not interesting at all if you're not interested in dramas, and even if you'd like to start watching, it probably doesn't really serve as a proper introduction. The book however is great when you already have some knowledge of dramas, even if it's basic. Javabeans and Girlfriday are both well versed in the world of dramas and are able to explain some occurences culturally as well. Even if you already know most of the information in the book... I'd say it's still interesting, because these women are just fantastic writers.
The book basically explains a few key themes and issues in dramas, that might get lost in translation for Western viewers. It's a quick guide, so the entries aren't too long, and there aren't too many examples of dramas mentioned (on a personal note, I really liked that they mentioned some of my favourite dramas, such as High Kick! 3, Queen In Hyun's Man and Rooftop Prince). However, just the range of dramas used as an example in this relatively short book should convince the reader of the fact that these women really know their stuff.
Should you be in doubt whether or not you'd like the book, you should probably check out the articles on their blog: Dramabeans.com. You will see that both Javabeans and Girlfriday have succeeded in creating a writing style that's informative, to the point and hilarious. I can really only recommend this eBook to fellow drama-lovers, and am personally very pleased there will be other volumes released....more
I picked up this book because I thought the title was very interesting. I was happily surprised that it had a sort of Christmas theme in it. It fits wI picked up this book because I thought the title was very interesting. I was happily surprised that it had a sort of Christmas theme in it. It fits with the time of year, after all!
Another thing that surprised me was that this wasn't an easy book to read at all. I had thought this to be a book for kids or young adults, but I've read literary articles that were easier to read than this book. I think that's just personal preference however: most of this book, at least the most important part of it, is a philosophical conversation between human Cecilie and angel Ariel. This format didn't just make the book a bit hard to read, it also illuminated very clearly that an actual plot was not the most important thing for the writer. For instance, Cecilie is very ill, and we do see glimpses of that, but never enough to make a real lasting impression. Characterization and plot are both not really expanded upon, to make way for the religious philosophy that's at the heart of the book.
Truthfully, I liked the philosophical thoughts portrayed in this book. Gaarder does a good job of mixing Bible references, Norse mythology references, as well as science (astronomy and evolution, mostly) into a comprehendable world-view. But, for me there were quite a few inconsistencies in the mythology:
(view spoiler)[- Angels aren't supposed to sense or feel things. This means that flying doens't bring them joy, touching snow doesn't make them feel the cold, etc. Ariel stresses very often that angels don't feel anything. But somehow they do feel the need to be alone every once in a while (as illustrated by the fact that Ariel sometimes goes to an asteroid I think it was because (s)he doesn't want to see anyone for a while). Also kind of strange: Ariel says they know everything they need to know. He can't forget or remember anything: every knowledge they need is present. But still they feel curious about how it is to be human. This is strange again: because curiosity is an emotion. I don't know, for me this seems inconsistent.
- God is portrayed as omniscient. But still, he didn't know how his creation would turn out, as he has no control over what he created. Maybe it's my interpretation of the word omniscient that's the problem here, but I think that shows God does not know everything. But then, how to draw the line? Odin for instance is not portrayed as omniscient, but he's said to have become omniscient through his ravens who inform him about everything, whereas God is omniscient by his own ability. But later Ariel says that God's many Angels keep him informed about people. I just find it confusing: what exactly is the definition of omniscient then? Is it just facts about the world as it is? Odin's ability to see the future is not addressed. The fact that God doesn't know how his creations would turn out, meaning that he doesn't know the future, does not diminish his ability to be omniscient. That being said, is Odin omniscient or is he not? It's just an example, but I think there were things in this book that weren't defined well enough.
- Ariel, as an entity without a body of flesh and blood, is able to a.o. move through walls. How is this still possible when he has Cecilie in his arms? Just being in Ariel's arms doesn't change the structure of Cecilie's body, and she should not be able to move through walls. This is not addressed or explained in the slightest.
- Ariel mentions in the beginning that there's not enough Angels to watch over ill people. But there's also far more Angels than humans - because who else can enjoy this universe? Certainly not humans, because they are bound to planet Earth, and Angels are not. Why can't there be more Angels looking after people then? The reason certainly isn't that there aren't enough Angels... so why?
- Speaking of Angels visiting the ill: sometimes they show themselves, but generally they don't. We never found out why Ariel decided to show himself to Cecilie, other than curiosity. But that doesn't explain why he chose her specifically, or why she was special. (hide spoiler)]
I might remember things a tad wrongly, as I did read this on the train and that's not generally the best place to read very attentively. But these things just strike me as odd, add to that the almost absent characterization and a wafer-thin plot, and I just didn't enjoy this book as much as I could have.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more