At this point I have read tons of books about young female assassins, but honestly I am always down for more I guess. The world-building is interestinAt this point I have read tons of books about young female assassins, but honestly I am always down for more I guess. The world-building is interesting and feels pretty believable. I will definitely read the next book in the series and I would recommend this book if you're looking for a quick, fun read about a badass girl who learns the hard way that she can take care of herself....more
I really enjoyed this book. I have read some of Snyder's Study series if books, and I thought at first that Avry was just going to be a copy of Ylena,I really enjoyed this book. I have read some of Snyder's Study series if books, and I thought at first that Avry was just going to be a copy of Ylena, but I was pleasantly surprised. They're both strong, resourceful, and in dire need of love. I enjoyed reading about Avry's survival both before and after being intercepted by Kerrick's group. Sometimes Avry was a little bratty at times, but she definitely grows up through the course of the story. The magic in this world is very interesting, as is the post-catastrophe setting. The minor characters and the unclear loyalties of basically everyone made the story a lot more enjoyable too....more
DNF 65%. I tried really hard to finish this book. It got ever-so-slightly more interesting when the titular poisoner came along, but something about tDNF 65%. I tried really hard to finish this book. It got ever-so-slightly more interesting when the titular poisoner came along, but something about the pacing (slower than a snail or turtle) or the plot itself (about as interesting as a snail that lives in a magical world but isn't involved in anything at all except being a snail) just made this book impossible to get through. There's some interesting world-building going on, but it is obscured behind a lot of clunky exposition and really flat characters. The other two books in the series sound interesting, but then again so did this one. I guess I just expected more, like some level of engagement. Oh well, on to the next....more
All I have read of Martin's work so far is the Song of Ice and Fire series, and while this novella takes place in an earlier tim3.5 stars rounded up.
All I have read of Martin's work so far is the Song of Ice and Fire series, and while this novella takes place in an earlier time in the same world, it has a lot of interesting differences. Some are good, and a few are bad. One thing Martin does again and again in ASOIAF is reuse certain phrases across different characters' narratives, and in this story he abuses ellipses. I don't mind a few phrases with ellipses in long stories, but I swear in 100-odd pages he uses at least a dozen. Most readers probably wouldn't mind, but that many ellipses... it almost becomes a running joke by the end. In ASOIAF, the battle scenes and courtly intrigue are tempered with feasts and weddings and long journeys, but The Princess and the Queen is almost entirely the former. If you are more partial to battle scenes (with 900% more dragons than ASOIAF!!) and love lots of betrayals and cruel deaths then this story is absolutely for you. If you're interested in the history of Westeros, and particularly of the reign Targaryeans, then read this novella. If you want to know what happens when dragons fight, or even just what ASOIAF would be like with lots of big, old, fierce dragons, then this will scratch that itch. If you want a hero to root for, along the lines of Jon Snow or Dany, then you probably won't enjoy this as much. I know it isn't completely fair to compare this to ASOAIF so much, but even the book the novella is in directs readers of the series and fans of the tv show to the story.
The characters in the story are Rhaegar, Dany, and Viserys's ancestors, all of whom were given a dragon egg to nurture into a dragon they'd ride or make a connection to an existing dragon whose rider was no longer living. Some of the dragons in the story are the first dragons who came to Westeros from Valyria only about 130 years before, which is pretty cool.
Spoiler alert: in true Martin form, TONS of people die, and so too do a lot of dragons. I didn't like that part, but it was interesting to see the ways that dragons can be killed both by other dragons and by humans. In ASOIAF, sometimes it seems like the people of Westeros believe dragons to be invincible.
I have always cheered on Dany and her three dragons, but now it is clear why she chains them. In the world of ASOIAF, dragons really are terrifying, hard to control, and unpredictable. Having the biggest dragon definitely puts one at an advantage, but even in a world where only three living dragons exist, other dragons put a damper on that perceived power. Dany is pretty smart to know that; probably Viserys told her about the Dance of the Dragons that this story discusses.
One thing that I really liked about this story was the way that it is told. It is written like a historical account that maesters and scholars in Westeros would read, or Samwell Tarly would find in the ancient library under the Wall. It isn't as character-driven as ASOAIF, but to me it reads much more as fantasy than the novels. The parallels with ASOAIF, like a woman who sees the future in fire, offense and favor at a tournament, and even recognizable family traits passed down for a couple hundred years make it fun to read.
The other thing that I enjoyed, in a weird way, was that there really are no winners in this story. Everyone gets screwed in the end, some worse than others, but the ending isn't happy for anyone. If you've read all five of the currently-published ASOIAF novels (as of April 2016), you'll know that a similar theme has occurred time and time again and will probably continue into the last two books that Martin is still working on.
If you're patiently (or not) waiting for these two forthcoming ASOIAF novels, read this story. If nothing else, it will quell your thirst for Westros for a little while, and it might make you look at the events of ASOIAF a little differently. History often repeats itself, after all....more