An excellent book, with a fascinating world, an intense story and well-formed characters. If you like fantasy books, you'll want to read this one!
TheAn excellent book, with a fascinating world, an intense story and well-formed characters. If you like fantasy books, you'll want to read this one!
The main character, Mercy is an independent, string-willed, survivor-type woman, living in a world in which ordinary humans are on the bottom of the food chain, in a manner of speaking. There are werewolves, vampires and the fae, all possessing supernatural powers. And we soon find that none of these preternatural creatures are exactly friendly, and even less harmless. To make matters worse, Mercy has a real talent to get into trouble.
This first book of the series is focusing on werewolves, who also play important role in all the other books of the series as well. While the main characters remain the same throughout the series, the books are all independent episodes: none of them assumes that you read the previous books, although there are a few references, and it certainly helps to really understand the characters and the world.
The characters are absolutely brilliant: unique, totally believable and consistent (throughout the whole series). Having read through the series (I'm reading the last book at the moment) I really feel like I got to know the main characters. This adds some real intimacy to the later books, especially as we see the connection of two of the main characters go from mutual respect to friendship, and then to love.
The story is fascinating, with a good amount of mystery and the uncertainty until the very end. Mercy doesn't know what's really going on and what's going to happen, and so nor do we. The story has some slower-paced parts, in which we get to know the characters and the world more, and makes the story very life-like.
The ending is great, although it somewhat stands out from the rest of the book in a way that it's much harder to believe, as in, less life-like, if that even makes sense in case of a fantasy book. Nonetheless, the real plot and its goal, that Mercy spends the book investigating, are grand and breathtaking, even though they are directed against people Mercy care about. The final outcome is written so beautifully that it made me want to cry, and that's saying something. I'm not easy to impress.
Another important trait of the book is that there are no classical, "real" villains in the world Patricia Briggs shows us. Some of the characters do behave that way, but there's always a motive, and their perspective is also perfectly understandable and we can easily relate with them. That is a great achievement, considering that the book is written in a first-person perspective.
The book is written in a way that non-native speakers can also read it easily, with a reasonable amount of English knowledge, and understand the majority of the story. I'm separately grateful for that.
Overall this book is the best one in the series, only if slightly so. The story is what really makes this one stand out from the other parts, with all its mystery and turning points. Nevertheless, if you liked this book, you'll also want to read the others....more
This book - and the entire Nightshade series - is an emotional roller-coaster, revolving around tree main topics: Calla's inability to choose; her resThis book - and the entire Nightshade series - is an emotional roller-coaster, revolving around tree main topics: Calla's inability to choose; her responsibilities for her pack (although this appears to be the least important thread, which is unfortunate, but more about this later) and finally, the war.
A significant part of the book is only about Calla's thoughts and feelings, and very little remains for the actual story. That said, the story is exciting, non-stop tension throughout the entire book.
The new characters were fairly interesting, and we got to see much from the Seeker's side of things, which is very good. The good-vs-evil war for world control is nothing new, boring, and naive. I don't like it.
Very little is again about the wolf pack mechanics, and it still feels like that it's just hanging in the air, without any basic concepts supporting it. The Guardians don't act like wolves in any way: it very much feels to be a forced aspect. I'm very sad about this, this is basically the only thing that keeps me attached to the series.
Calla still feels weak to the core. Incapable of making any hard, rational decisions, and also incapable of making emotional choices. She also worries a lot more on insignificant things than on more pressing/important matters. I won't give you an example, because I want this review to be spoiler free, but it's pretty typical throughout the book. Sorry, it's just all pathetic.
There were a lot of horror/thriller elements here as well, keeping up the suspense. I don't approve of them: I hate constant suspense.
As for the ending of the story (I wouldn't call it conclusion: it doesn't conclude anything): it's horrible, once again. The story is just cut up, all threads left drifting. I swear that if they do that once again, I'll throw these books out of the window, and burn them.
Overall, I've enjoyed the book, but I'm not going to give it more than 2 stars. In fact, if it wasn't about wolf shapeshifters, I wouldn't even have read it in the first place, or would have stopped reading at about the 40th page. I'm still sort-of looking forward to the third book, Bloodrose, despite all that. I just hope it will conclude the story properly. So far, Andrea Creamer hasn't struck me as a talented writer, although she's good with emotions. That may be enough for poems or songs, but not for books....more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars Absolutely spoiler-free review.
This book of the Mercy Thompson series has left me with very mixed feelings. First of all, I'veActual rating: 3.5 stars Absolutely spoiler-free review.
This book of the Mercy Thompson series has left me with very mixed feelings. First of all, I've finished it very quickly, as I had a lot of time on my hands, and I have enjoyed the book. In the other hand, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Despite Patricia Briggs' excellent writing skills, it does show that this is the 6th book of the series.
The book starts of quite slowly: the first half of it focuses on Mercy's an Adam's life and their relationship. It's enjoyable (sort of), but after a while, it gets a little dull. I think this is the greatest flaw of the book, even though Mercy's and Adam's relationship is pictured really well, as it is developing. (It was really interesting to look back to the first book, Moon Called and see how far they got on the course of the 6 books. Amazing.)
The story really only picks up about halfway through the book, although romance gets more emphasis throughout the whole book than in any of the previous parts of the series. It yet again involves some mystery, but not nearly as much as in the previous books: by the 3/4th of the book we know pretty much everything (keep in mind that the story really hasn't even started until the half of the book!). This was also some disappointment. The final battle, which was really awesome and page-turner in all the previous books, felt... weird, as if the author has run out of ideas and just wanted to end the story quickly. I have expected much, much more.
What I did like however, was that we were introduced to a lot of new characters, and most of the story took place on an entirely location than the previous ones. In fact, none of the old characters (besides Mercy and Adam) really played an important role in this book. They appeared, sure, but not for more than a few lines - and to be honest, I really missed the pack. Now in itself, this wouldn't be a problem - my obsession with the whole pack-thing is too subjective, and I'm trying to keep my reviews as objective as possible - if they were substituted by other characters. But they weren't, in spite of all the new faces we meet. We don't actually get to know any of the new characters, except for one, and this is sort of sad.
The most interesting part of the book was learning about Mercy's roots, at least, for me. There was also a lot of introduction to the Amerindian culture, but for me some reason that part didn't really resonate with me, and it felt more like an obstacle to get through than background information, as it was planted just to the part of the story when things get interesting. So I was kind of like "Okay, okay, that's all cool, but what happens next?!" as I dashed through those pages.
Overall the book was a decent experience. I do feel that, however, the quality has decreased significantly compared to the previous book, Silver Borne, so I really can't blame Patricia Briggs from taking a short break from the series, as the next part is only scheduled for 2013. That having been said, this is going be a very long two years waiting......more
I wasn't really impressed by the previous (6th) Mercy Thompson novel, but Patricia Briggs has made up for it with Frost Burned, bringing another excelI wasn't really impressed by the previous (6th) Mercy Thompson novel, but Patricia Briggs has made up for it with Frost Burned, bringing another excellent installment into the series.
The story was fine, with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting - however, it reached its conclusion way too quickly. This is a very short book, and a plot of this scope should not get closed in just a single novel.
I'm also somewhat disappointed, because this book didn't bring any real progress to the "big story", although we do learn bits and pieces about what's going on. I am really expecting a book more focused on Bran and the big events of the Mercedes Thompson (and Alpha and Omega) world.
3.5 stars for being so short, but it's rounded up because it's a Mercy Thompson novel after all. Thank you, and keep up the good work, Patricia Briggs!...more
As the first book of the Alpha and Omega series, but also taking place in the same world as the excellent Mercy Thomspon novels,(Spoiler-free review)
As the first book of the Alpha and Omega series, but also taking place in the same world as the excellent Mercy Thomspon novels, this book certainly had expectations to live up to. And so it did, for it is an awesome book, although not the same way as Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) is.
We get right into the events from the first page of the novel, although the story really only starts later, at about the third of the book. This isn't too bad: we get to know Anna and Charles, the two protagonists, and much about Anna's dark past, and basically the events of the Alpha and Omega short story - so the book stands complete on its own, does not need you to read the short story first to perfectly understand everything, although you won't understand it all at once: I was at first confused, not knowing what was happening or why it was happening, but everything was explained shortly. It also very well reflects how Anna must be feeling at the beginning of the book (and, well, throughout the book, basically). Still, the book picked up quite slowly, and wasn't really interesting at first. This is one of the main issues that prevented me from giving it 5 stars, instead of 4.
The third-person narrative worried me at first: I was afraid that it would be alienating (although I have to admit I don't nearly feel as connected to Anna or Charles after reading both novels in the series as I did to Mercy and Adam when I finished the Mercy Thompson series, but that might be just that I spent much longer with the latter two throughout the 6 books). However, it has proved to be better suited for this series than a first-person point of view would have: we get brief insights to the heads of some of the characters, but mainly Anna and Charles - it was very interesting to see how hard are both trying to make their relationship work, although often misunderstand the other. In general the third-person view adds much more depth to the book. A pleasant surprise.
This book focuses much more on emotions and romance than the Mercy Thompson books, so those who are hoping to find a new Mercy Thompson novel with just different characters will be disappointed: the story in itself is decent, but it wouldn't fill a book - in the other hand, it's better than the "story" of some of the romantic novels I've read, only constructed to give a scene. This story is more than that: it was interesting, shocking, and unpredictable: there were a few turning points, surprising developments, although not as much as there would have been if it wasn't for the third-person perspective - it took away much of the mystery, seeing into the head of the characters.
The feelings were authentic, I couldn't find anything exaggerated, unrealistic or unbelievable, which would have really undermined the solid experience the book provided.
The ending of the book is quite odd, and left me slightly disappointed. I certainly expected more than that, and this was the second main reason for not giving 5 stars to the book.
All the characters were great, I really couldn't find too much to complain about.
Anna is a woman who just had been through a terrible part of her life, and all the suffering scarred her very deeply. However, during the book, she repeatedly surprises everyone (often including herself) with her competence, and we gradually see her growing up to the tasks presented.
Charles, Anna's mate, is almost as troubled as she is, but in a different way, and for different reasons. He is thrown off balance by Anna, as she reveals a different, new side of him - not the cold hunter he became doing what he had to do during his long, lonely life. He bends a lot harder than Anna, so he doesn't change a lot during the book, but that is very realistic, considering the age difference between Anna (in her 30s) and Charles (more than 200 years old).
We don't get to know very much about Walter, but he is absolutely well designed: I can easily resonate with him, in spite of not having had to live through what he did in his life.
Asil is even better than Walter: a very thoughtful and complex character. His age is absolutely believable: his whole being feels somehow old and tired, but with the temper and energies of a werewolf.
For me, Bran has always been one of the most interesting characters of this world (he also appears in the Mercy Thompson series), and we get to know him more, and even get a glimpse into his head, and for very briefly, we can see him for the man he really is: noble, and great, in the truest sense of the word (as in, extremely powerful). We also get to know some things of his past, from where he started off, and that puts everything he is and everything he does in a slightly different light. He still appears odd, though, as if something in him didn't quite fit, and I'm not sure whether its intentional or not - if it is, it's pure genius. I would absolutely love a short story or even a novel written from his perspective, although that would take away much of the mystery his character, and his place in the world is built upon, so it's probably not going to happen.
A great book, pure entertainment. I really enjoyed the world of werewolves, but missed the pack-spirit (or mentality) that appeared in some of the Mercy Thompson books. The werewolves feel off without their packs - it's their natural way of life after all. In this book, we don't see a pack: we just see a bunch of werewolves, although much of the pack mechanics is explained (which is great, by the way).
Overall: well done, and looking forward to reading further books of the series....more
Wow. I just finished this book and I'm trying to organize my thoughts for a proper review. I have to admit, the ending (world change) caught me very mWow. I just finished this book and I'm trying to organize my thoughts for a proper review. I have to admit, the ending (world change) caught me very much off-guard, and I'm still trying to figure out what it means. It was an ingenious idea in terms of world-building and series-planning (there's so much potential in it that it makes me shiver).
The story To be entirely honest, I haven't enjoyed the crime investigation type of story that much. It was good, but not too much so, and would only earn a weak 3 stars from me in itself. I'm not too much into that genre (i.e. I don't usually read detective books), so I don't really have anything to compare it to; it's just that this type of book is not for me.
What interested me a whole lot more was Charles' conscience-problems, which leads us to the strongest aspect of the book (apart from the ending).
The characters Charles' character I have always found fascinating. Fair Game finally explores the psychology of being a law-enforcing assassin. The plot felt absolutely right on this thread.
Last - but definitely not least - the romantic elements and the Anna-Charles relationship. It's important to note that this installment of the Alpha and Omega series is a lot more urban-fantasy, and a lot less romance than its predecessors. The reason behind this is trivial: there's only so much romance one can have a relationship without it becoming forced and/or clumsy. Anna and Charles have gone far in their relationship already, and it is slowing down as they begin to figure out how to live their lives together. Truth be told, I liked this kind of romance much more than when it was in the "wild" phase during the previous books, but then again, I've never been much of a romantic guy.
Anna was seriously charming. I just had an embarrassing thought: she is exactly a kind of woman I can fall in love with. Uh oh. While there weren't really any character development in store for her during this book, it is a clear demonstration as to how far she has gone since we had met her in Cry Wolf (or its prequel). This brings a problem though, which the author won't get away with in her next Alpha and Omega novel (if there will be a next - I very much hope so): Anna is simply too perfect. As a general rule, perfect things don't make for good stories. It was okay for this one book (greatly because of it is so short), but it can become boring very quickly.
The numerous secondary characters were okay, but nothing special. None of them actually acquired any depth, but that is hardly surprising considering the length of the novel.
Summary A must-read for all Mercedes Thompson/Alpha and Omega fans. Not an outstanding novel by any measures, but it's a fun, rather light and quick read. 4 stars for rating is just about right....more
A fair sequel to Cry Wolf, an entertaining book. You'll want to read it only after the first book, if you really liked it.
The story is very good, inteA fair sequel to Cry Wolf, an entertaining book. You'll want to read it only after the first book, if you really liked it.
The story is very good, interesting, but not exactly action-packed, similarly to the previous book - which is all right, action is for the Mercedes Thompson series.
I like the werewolf world, and how we get to know werewolves in general better with each book.
The characters were all right. This is probably the weakest element of the book, at least, it's the reason I gave it only 3 stars, instead of 4. Anna and Charles, the protagonist pair, continue to work on improving their relationship, but this wasn't quite as entertaining as in Cry Wolf - partly because this is a sequel, so the situation is not new, and the other part of it is that, well, there's only so much you can show of a relationship and still make it interesting. Still, the biggest negative for me was that while there were plenty of new characters, they were always pushed to the side. We don't get to know them, except for a very few things. Take Cry Wolf, the first book of the series as example: we get the two main characters, and there are also a few other characters (Asil, Bran, Walter) that appear very frequently, and play significant roles - we getting to know them in the process.
Nonetheless, I'm still looking forward to the third book of the series, Fair Game, expected to be published in 2012 Q1. Carry on, Patricia Briggs!...more
(No spoilers, but I'm going to assume that you've read the book description.)
Now that was one hell of a story. I had high expectations, seeing the rat(No spoilers, but I'm going to assume that you've read the book description.)
Now that was one hell of a story. I had high expectations, seeing the ratings (4.53 at the time of writing), and I was not disappointed in the slightest. It's the first book of Veronica Roth, and it shows, in a good way: her passion and love for her story and her characters is unmistakable. Very well done!
This was the first dystopia book I've ever read, and I find it really intriguing. Although it most likely won't be one of my favorite genres, I'm kinda curious how other authors implemented it. Nonetheless, I'm not really a fan of thrillers of any sort, so I probably won't be reading books belonging to this genre that often.
The world is strange at a first glance, and it takes some time to understand and remember what all the factions are about, but once you got over that, most things about the world will make sense. We are shown a society that was designed to be perfect, but, naturally, could not rule out the human factor, and all the evil it brings with it. We see the world through the eyes of Beatrice (later called Tris), a 16 year old girl from the Abnegation (selfless) faction.
The story begins when Tris has to choose which faction she'll live in. Right from the beginning, there's mystery, and there's suspense. These are the two main features that characterize the book. The plot is about how Tris grows into her new life, and her struggles to survive in a hostile world, with only a handful of allies. It is also a coming-of-age type of book, as she learns who she is in this strange world, and finds her way through all the darkness. Accordingly, the story is not a very fast going one, although I wouldn't call it slow either. There's plenty of action, but this is not an action-oriented book. There's also romance, which is, although not a dominating feature of the book, a significant part of the book.
In terms of characters, in line with this being a coming-of-age book, the main focus is on Tris, and how her personality changes during the course of the story. Actually, "change" is not a very good word here; everything she does, is in her, right from the start, but it takes all that she goes through to bring it to the surface. Her being a [i]divergent[/i] is really creatively pictured, but for some reason her character doesn't feel absolutely real. We can relate with her and even love her quite easily, but my impression is that she seems too unchanging, too strong, too invulnerable deep within. The same is true for the rest of the characters, but to a greater extent. Most of them are single-sided, probably a little more than necessary. It makes some events of the book predictable, although I have to admit it's somehow logical in the context of the world, where everyone is forced into a single, strict mentality (of one of the factions). Nonetheless, the characters is something the author really could (and should) work on.
The conclusion of the book is not exactly a cliffhanger, but close. Too close for my taste. While the main thread of the plot is finished, there are so many others that are left drifting, and the next book (Insurgent, out in 2012) is so far away. Anyway, the last 20% of the book is really tense, and goes all-action as the mysteries are revealed. So many terrible things happen, and so many awful things Tris has to do, that the world has a touch of reality to it; but also, Tris' apparent indestructibility spoils some of it.
Overall, it's a very nice book. It's not perfect, of course, but it introduces a very creative and original world, and runs an exciting story - definitely worth reading. Having said that, I have to admit, I feel somewhat relieved now, having finished the book, because all the tension was getting to me. :) The reason I don't like thrillers? They affect me too much. I'm looking forward to the need book, I'm really curious to see what Veronica Roth will make of this world. Ahh, 2012 is so far away....more
I have enjoyed the book, although it's not nearly as good as Bitten, the first book of the series was. It clearly set up a world for a series - a pretI have enjoyed the book, although it's not nearly as good as Bitten, the first book of the series was. It clearly set up a world for a series - a pretty unoriginal world, to be fair, with nothing too fancy: demons, witches, vampires and of course, the werewolves. However, it is a more realistic world in a sense that all these supernatural "races" are rare and also that none of them is demigod-powerful (as opposed to the creatures of the Mercedes Thompson series, for instance).
The story is decent, fairly interesting, but again, nothing groundbreaking. The book does have its moments, but still, I expected more. Elena takes her captivity very well, we don't see her struggling too much, as if she believes to be indestructible.
The characters are simply shallow. We have our share of dumb people, then we have the evil people, there are the tranquil, sometimes naive white witches, and so on. Basically all new characters can be easily categorized as either one of these stereotypes, and they really don't do anything that would defy their major traits. There is really no controversy, no depth to any one of them. Even the characters from Bitten - Elena, Clay and Jeremy - remain absolutely the same, we don't get to know them more, and there's certainly no character development.
That's pretty much everything there is to it. Overall, Stolen is a light, entertaining read - just make sure you don't expect too much of it after the excellent first book. I'll give the third book, Dime Store Magic, a try later - I have to admit, I've lost my interest in this world for now....more
Holy cow, I have read this book in less than 24 hours. I have virtually devoured it: I just couldn't stop reading it! This one is an absolute page-turnHoly cow, I have read this book in less than 24 hours. I have virtually devoured it: I just couldn't stop reading it! This one is an absolute page-turner, the author managed to keep my attention all the way through, and even after the last page - luckily, I already have the next book of the series.
The story is fairly interesting, although much of the book is focusing on world-building: in this, it is apparent that this is the opening book of a series. There's really not too much I could comment on about the story: it's simply exciting.
The world is pretty much the ordinary urban fantasy world, nothing too fancy there. The existence of the supernatural is sort-of an open secret: most people are not aware of it, but also there's no supernatural "authority" that would enforce secrecy.
The single defining feature of the book is Kitty's (the main character, a werewolf) "coming of age": she starts off as completely submissive, relying on his pack (on his Alpha) for protection - but going through the story, she learns to trust herself and stand on her own feet. This development is very well pictured, although there's no extra emphasis put on it - but the reader will notice, reading between the lines. The view of the other characters also change as Kitty changes (the book is written from Kitty's perspective): we learn that not everybody is what they seem.
The conclusion has struck me off-guard. There was no preparation for that, it hit just like it would have in real life. It's very cruel to just leave the story after that event - it's not a cliffhanger, but rather feels like getting thrown off the cliff, and then left flying. I'm so glad, again, that I have the next book already.
Overall, a very entertaining read - I'm very interested in the next book! There's so much potential in this series, in spite of the unoriginal world. Nonetheless, it doesn't deserve more than 4 stars, mainly because the world has virtually nothing uniqueness (or newness) in it....more
That was a good one. An excellent sequel to Kitty and the Midnight Hour! I always get a little worried when reading sequeActual rating: 4.25/5.0 stars
That was a good one. An excellent sequel to Kitty and the Midnight Hour! I always get a little worried when reading sequels, because they are usually not as good as the first books of their series, but I found it not to be the case here. In fact, I have enjoyed this book more than the first one!
The world is opening up quite well: we were just scratching the surface in the first book, but now we see that there is a lot more to it than we initially realized.
The plot primarily revolves around the supernatural beings (werewolves and vampires mainly) getting publicity - a process first started by Kitty herself, in her show The Midnight Hour (see the first book). Immediately power struggles arise as people all want to use this for their purposes - for some, it's wealth or fame; for others, it's purely power. And Kitty finds herself right in the middle of it. The story was quite good, there were quite some unexpected turn of events and it also has its share of exciting moments. There are also what I would call 'episodes' - stories within the story, that were only marginally related to the main plot.
There were a lot of new characters, which is great, although we only really get to know a few of them well, which is just as right. There is also a sort of romantic trail, but it's mostly neglected, which is just as well. There are way too many all-romantic books in this genre than it's healthy.
My biggest problem with the book was that I missed the werewolf packs. We get to see some of the pack dynamics in the first book, but it's really something that would deserve some more attention in my view. Wolfs are supposed to live in packs, by their nature - and werewolves are much like wolfs. Or, at least, they are supposed to be. This is purely personal preference, so I don't count it in my rating.
Overall, it's a fun, entertaining read, a definite page-turner. It would be a sin not to read it if you have already read the first book. Looking forward to the rest of the series!...more
This was not an easy book to read. The world of George R. R. Martin was never a light, cheery place, and it hasn't changed in this book either: it's aThis was not an easy book to read. The world of George R. R. Martin was never a light, cheery place, and it hasn't changed in this book either: it's an unforgiving, dark place, much like what we tend to call 'reality'.
The story is so complex that I have trouble remembering all the threads the plot runs on. Reading the Song of Ice and Fire novels, I can't help but wonder: how the hell does one invent a world so full of detail and build a story compared to which the Lord of the Rings is a mere bedtime story?
My favorite plotlines were that of Arya and Jon, especially the world Arya stepped into - I find it fascinating. Jon's fate is much harder in comparison, and he has to make difficult decisions, surrounded by enemies and with no friends in sight. My favorite quote from his chapters: "Kill the boy and let the man be born."(view spoiler)[The last chapter with Jon's perspective ended with his death, or at least it appeared so. Is he really dead? I can't believe it! Melisandre would have surely foreseen such thing. God, he is one of my favorite characters. Argh, George R. R. Martin, you're a cruel man... (hide spoiler)]
Even with these, the book wasn't as good as the earlier books of the series. They were similarly brutal, yes, but with a much more engaging plot. I suspect a major reason for my feeling so is that most of the "good guys" (the Starks) are dead, or otherwise not present (or rarely present) in the book. I find that reading from a character's perspective who you dislike does not have a positive effect on the reading experience.
Generally my impression is that the book is full of characters who should be executed on the spot by all rights, and there are very "good" few characters left. (By "good" I mean: not a cruel beast, or a dumb idiot [or both], but someone you can associate with.) I don't mean that the book should be all happy and flowers and pink and stuff, but that much darkness (however realistic it may be) is just too much.
Nonetheless, I have enjoyed the book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one. I seriously hope that George R. R. Martin will be able to finish this series; and I also wouldn't mind if the waiting time for the next book would decrease from the standard 5 years...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book, this series, is simply monumental. The world is huge, and shown in extreme detail, and we also get to see it from many different points ofThis book, this series, is simply monumental. The world is huge, and shown in extreme detail, and we also get to see it from many different points of view (through the eyes of the characters).
The world much resembles the Middle Ages, similarly to a lot of other fantasy worlds out there, but there is a significant difference: magic, in all its forms, is extremely rare, and is mostly believed to be a mere legend. This was very unusual for me, as reading the Song of Fire and Ice series is a lot more like reading historical books than it's common in the fantasy genre.
There are a huge number of characters, and the story runs on multiple threads, which can make it difficult to understand what's going on and why. But also it gives depth to both the story and the world, as even the main characters are often enemies to one another, so we get to see both sides of a conflict. Another great achievement of George R. R. Martin regarding the characters is how real they are. The book is written entirely in third-person perspective, so we only know some of the thoughts of the characters, but even so their speech and actions make up absolutely believable, 100% realistic characters. Sometimes they do surprising things, but it all fits very well into their personality, which also changes over the course of the series. The children grow up, the adults slowly go old.
Numerous characters, even main characters, die in these books. There are no miracles, unbelievable strokes of luck, or just indestructible characters, as it happens in other books (especially within the fantasy genre). We see terrible, sometimes straight evil, things happen, as they do in real life. The world completely changes during the series. Kings raise and they fall, and the peaceful order turns into the chaotic nightmare of war.
The most troubling thing for me was the conclusion of the books - or the lack thereof. The series represent one, single, united story, so the end of the books is just a cut-off. While this is what makes this work so monumental, so deep and so real, it also means that the readers have to wait years for the next part to come out. I really really really hope that George R. R. Martin will finish the series (as in, write a proper conclusion), because I would absolutely hate to have it left off.
Overall: an amazing, amazing book (series), compulsory reading for all hardcore readers, even if they otherwise don't like fantasy books. Very well done!...more