I'm still reading this, but I'm going to write a quick preliminary review. I'm just over 200 pages into this book, and I feel like I can now appropriaI'm still reading this, but I'm going to write a quick preliminary review. I'm just over 200 pages into this book, and I feel like I can now appropriately offer 2 pieces of advice concerning it.
1. Read this book.
2. Do NOT read this book when you have a lot of other shit to do. This book hasn't lovingly welcomed me to read a chapter or two in my free time. No. It has beat the living hell out of my priorities with a sword called Ice, made me swear to the seven faces of god that I will continue to allot it time that my reasonable mind knows I don't have, and has demanded that it becomes the sole reason for my existence.
Okay, maybe that last one was a bit exaggerated. But really, this book is (even at only a quarter of the way through) highly engrossing. I literally had to make myself go to bed this morning when I really wanted to keep reading. My biggest fear at this point is finishing this book soon. Doing so will not refocus my concentration on the final five weeks of my college career - doing so will require that I take my direwolf for a walk to the bookstore to buy the next book in the saga and further divert my attention from truly important matters.
Although, I have a feeling this series will ultimately be worth a sacrifice of a 4.0 GPA... but that's just the senioritis talking.
Well, I didn't let this book disrupt my education any more than I let the bar disrupt it (hmmmm...). But, alas, I have finished it. Or, very nearly finished it. I'm camping for the weekend and will have this finished by this afternoon. A review will be forthcoming when I return on Sunday afternoon! I'll say this though. Between now and then, I expect at least half of you who read this to go out, buy this book, and start reading it. Because it was that good. I say half because I guess this ultimately isn't for everyone, but yeah, it's at least good enough for half of you.
So, I'll say simply this: the final chapter of this book was awesome... really, really, really awesome. I'll say no more about that. I can't wait to read on in the series. In order to prolong the enjoyment I think I'll get from this saga, I have promised myself that I will read a couple of books between each of these. Otherwise I'll have the other three finished quickly and then I'll be waiting impatiently with the rest of the fans for the release of the fifth one.
I haven't read a great deal of fantasy, having been only recently pushed back into the genre by Gaiman's American Gods. I was under the impression that fantasy was a cheap thrill, stories about things that have no bearing on the human condition, often cheaply written because they were stories for the "lesser" readers. Furthermore, I refused for a long time to get involved with these really long books, especially long sagas that were composed of really long individual instalments. I was afraid that by the time I read 300 pages, I'd be discouraged and begin to lose interest in the universe the author created - and like so many other long, long books, they would simply be placed back on my shelf, bookmark sticking out from the pages, and collect dust for years.
Well... Martin really put my foot in my mouth and I'm sucking on my toes.
I looked forward to no part of the day more than I look forward to the part when I could sit in my reading chair and dive into the land of the Seven Kingdoms and watch this story unfold, learn the fate of my favorite characters and pray to the seven gods that my most hated characters's heads would roll after the swift slash of Ice. And then there are the players who you know you aren't supposed to like, yet you can't help but like them! I know I shouldn't like Tyrion, but I love him and I pity him and he makes me laugh. Martin's ability to construct characters is pretty damn impressive. His characters nearly touch four dimensions (whatever the hell that means - three dimensions just doesn't give these guys justice!). Perhaps the most developed here, for me, at least, was Daenerys. She went from being a small, weak girl submissive to her abusive and power-hungry brother to being a ... well, just read it!
The story - incredibly engrossing. I realize this took me nearly two months to read, but it really was a page-turner. There was never, never a dry spell in these pages. If there weren't three other books to read (eventually six others), this is one that I would not want to end. There aren't many books that leave me thirsty for more pages, but after 800 of Martin's finely written, vivid prose and delectable story, I'd beg, plead, and probably join the nights watch if it meant another 800 pages of this story.
Now excuse me while I head off to the Godswood to pray to the old gods that Martin finish this saga sometime while I still live! ...more
**spoiler alert** By far one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. It's about persistence in the pursuit for the ultimate happiness, about real**spoiler alert** By far one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. It's about persistence in the pursuit for the ultimate happiness, about realizing that happiness in times of sorrow, and, indeed, transforming sorrow into unprecedented happiness. I'm reminded of the saying: "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." I'm not sure, as the reader, I would have been able to full appreciate Janie's happiness had the novel ended like a fairy tale. The small glimpse of happiness that Janie had was enough for her.
When I first read this book I remember feeling that it was overrated. I simply did not get from it what so many others seemed to take from it.
But yesWhen I first read this book I remember feeling that it was overrated. I simply did not get from it what so many others seemed to take from it.
But yesterday I had a sudden and unrelenting urge to read it again, feeling that I had really missed something my first time through the book. So, I drove out to Barnes and Noble, and I purchased my own copy of it. I began reading it right away.
I will finish it tonight, but I was able to read half of it this afternoon. By the time I had gotten only half way through it, my suspicion that I had missed something the first time was confirmed. This book is pure and utter genius. It's a masterpiece. It should be required reading for everyone. This week marks the second anniversary of Vonnegut's death. He will be sorely missed....more
This book is a science fiction masterpiece. I recently picked up the sequel - Rama II - to have another taste of Clarke's genius, but I just wasn't saThis book is a science fiction masterpiece. I recently picked up the sequel - Rama II - to have another taste of Clarke's genius, but I just wasn't satisfied. Perhaps it was his pairing with Gentry Lee (sorry, Mr. Lee), but what I love so much about Clarke just wasn't there. If you really want to know what happens in the later Rama books - read synopses. Rendezvous with Rama is a stand alone gem. ...more
Wow... just wow. Not only is the premise behind this story amazing (the idea of the new world gods battling the old world gods - which isn't necessariWow... just wow. Not only is the premise behind this story amazing (the idea of the new world gods battling the old world gods - which isn't necessarily what this story is about) but the story telling is amazing, too. I want to read any and all books by Gaiman after reading this one. Some people have complained about the characters being a bit one dimensional, leaving the reader unable to sympathize or empathize with them, and while this may be the case with some (or most) characters, I actually found myself quite invested in Shadow's and Wednesday's characters. Others I could, indeed, not care less about. Gaiman leaves no ends untied as the last 100 pages of the novel do a wonderful job wrapping the story up, providing a closure that leaves the reader satisfied and, quite frankly in my case, overjoyed to have read such an awesome freakin' story. Towards the end, there was a new twist or revelation by the turn of a page. I didn't want to put the book down for the entire duration of the novel, but by the end I simply couldn't. There was no way I could not read the final parts straight through.
Also a few good chuckles throughout. The most memorable laugh for me was when Shadow tells a raven to say "Nevermore" and the raven replies with "fuck off." As insubstantial as that part is to entire novel, it was probably one of my favorite parts. Hilarious!
I think what I loved most about this was simply the commentary he was providing. Perhaps fearful that his message would be missed, he provided this nice interlude right at the beginning of a chapter to remind us, ultimately, what it is we are reading:
"None of this can actually be happening. If it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as metaphor. Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you--even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition.
Religions are a place to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world."
God is an idea... an idea that changes, that coexists with itself in many different forms, an idea that supplies stability perhaps. But ultimately it's all unreal and eventually we'll ask what it is exactly that we believe. Odin, for instance, is no longer widely worshipped - indeed, his essence is widely forgotten, but the idea of Odin still exists. I suppose you have to ask if one day in the future, after religion is given more time to evolve, humanity will regard Jesus as just another idea, unaware or unwilling to remember the tenets of Christianity. Gaiman points out that as the world changes so do our perspectives - hence the idea of the old (rusty old gods fighting with swords and hammers) vs the new (CIA looking men, techy geeks fighting with sniper rifles).
Or, then again, maybe the book was one big con, one big coin trick. Just read the damn book. It's worth your time.
This book was so painful to read. It really took away any pride I had in being human. The idea that a human being is capable of treating another humanThis book was so painful to read. It really took away any pride I had in being human. The idea that a human being is capable of treating another human being in some of the ways expressed in Douglass's narrative is simply astonishing. I sorely wish that this book portrayed ONLY history. But unfortunately, prejudice still exists in our world. Perhaps if everyone read this we'd be better off. ...more