This book is a wild mix of several genres. It’s a steampunk, dystopian, fantasy-adv...moreThe original review can be found here at my blog The Literary Snob.
This book is a wild mix of several genres. It’s a steampunk, dystopian, fantasy-adventure set in a neo-feudal Japan setting. I felt like my years of reading Rurouni Kenshin fanfiction when I was younger prepared me well for this book. It’s the debut novel by Jay Kristoff and I believe it’s the first book in a trilogy. This book is classified as an adult novel however I get the feeling that it’s being publicized as a Y.A. novel. Anyway it’s about Yukiko, who is a member of the Kitsune (Fox) Clan. Her father is the head huntsman for a mad king who is doing a poor job of ruling the country. After the king has a dream about an arashitora (a tiger griffin type creature), he demands that Yukiko’s father and his hunting party which includes her goes out and capture the arashitora even though they’ve been thought to be extinct for years. That’s basically the starting point of the story.
Overall I enjoyed it, I found it entertaining. However, if I had to be honest I felt like the heroine was kind of two-dimensional. And my enjoyment stemmed more from the setting than the plot. Now, reviewers have been crying out that this book is a cultural appropriation of Japanese culture. I’m not getting into that argument, and I’m officially taking a neutral stance because I don’t know enough about the subject to pick a side. I found this book was pretty similar to some of the better fanfictions one sees that adopts Japanese mythology into its plot. I give it 3.5 stars and rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads due to its entertainment value.(less)
A Storm of Swords is the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which makes u...moreThis review was originally posted on my blog The Literary Snob.
A Storm of Swords is the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which makes up the source material for HBO’s A Game of Thrones series. Basically the plot of A Storm of Swords is the continuation of the civil war occurring is Westeros for the throne. The world of Westeros is a medieval-era kingdom with all the trappings of the Middle Ages: feudalism, knights, and power struggles. As the series progresses, you see more fantasy elements slowly introduced.
However, I don’t consider this series a fantasy series as much as a series recounting the power struggles of various powerful families who are vying for the throne. A Storm of Swords has been my favorite book in the series so far. Although it comes in over 1,100 pages long, I never felt like the pacing was off or that I was getting bored, which definitely happened a lot in the second book of the series, A Clash of Kings.
George R. R. Martin introduces some new point-of-views to A Storm of Swords. Some of the new point-of-views really enriched the story and were fascinating (such as Jamie Lannister’s) while others fell flat for me (I’m looking at you Samwell Tarly). There are two main things that really made me fall in love with A Storm of Swords.
First is that it’s not chalk full of huge battles. Personally, I get bored reading battles. I’m literally like ‘oh another person got killed I’m guessing that brings to death-toll to like 100? La la la… more death. I’m bored.’ I read the A Song of Ice and Fire series for the political maneuvering and manipulation, which George R. R. Martin really excels at, and makes up the majority of this book. You can’t see the twists in the story a mile out, unlike some other books. A Storm of Swords is made up of twists-upon-twists and it will result in you having no idea what’s about to happen but loving every minute of it. There were points in the book where I thought something was going to happen and I thought to myself ‘Awesome! I love the direction this is about to take’ but suddenly something major happened which flipped my entire theory upside down and made it 50 times better. *small spoiler ahead* Now, since at the end of A Storm of Swords almost all of the kings that had fought for the throne in A Clash of Kings are dead, I have absolutely no idea where the series is going but I find myself trusting George R. R. Martin not to lead me astray. *end of small spoiler*
The second thing I loved is the character development throughout A Storm of Swords. I feel like the strength of this series truly lies on how amazing George R. R. Martin is at creating multidimensional and original characters. I don’t feel like any of the central characters in this series are copies of common characters found within long epic fantasy series. All the central characters are complicated and multifaceted. I also love that my attitude toward certain characters aren’t stagnant; with the furtherance throughout the series of the development of the characters, my opinion and feeling towards the them grows and shifts.
After reading A Storm of Swords I find myself completely entrenched within the series of A Song of Ice and Fire and I’m going to finish it. I had my doubts after finishing the second book, A Clash of Kings, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I will continue on. I do, however, find myself a little discouraged because the next book in the series is A Feast for Crows. I’ve literally never heard/read anyone say a single nice thing about A Feast for Crows. But after A Storm of Swords, I’m so attached to the series that I just have to see what happens next.
On Goodreads I gave A Storm of Swords five stars, and it is not only my favorite book in the series so far, but it’s also one of my all-time favorite books. I thoroughly enjoyed A Storm of Swords.(less)