Game of Thrones by GRRM

Hey-o, bibliophiles!

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I LOVE Game of Thrones everything! I’ve read what’s currently published of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series by GRRM and have watched all the seasons of GoT so far as well! Having just finished Season 6, I was itching to stay entralled in the GoT world. SO….I decided to re-read the series. Well, this time I’ll be listening to it!

A couple of days ago, I finished listening to Game of Thrones, the first novel, the book that started it all! Even knowing the story line already, there were beautiful, small details that I forgot about. I love re-exploring the world and feeling out the differences between the written series and the viewing of the series.

For anyone unfamiliar with the series, here’s a quick summary of the first novel from Amazon:

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

I’d like to throw out there that I’m not a hard-core fantasy reader. Sure, I enjoy world-building and in-depth character development like that in The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but it’s not a genre I venture into willy-nilly. I have to know that what I’m getting myself into is worth it and this series is WORTH IT. Love, sex, betrayal, war, magic, dragons. I MEAN COME ON! OH, and lots of wine! It’s suggested you drink wine while reading about others drinking wine. It makes it all the better!

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I encourage you all to give it a try and don’t worry, there’s no need to contain your excitement if you find you enjoy it. We’re all friends here!

Until next time, bibliophiles….

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Hola bibliophiles!

I recently finished up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, which is the first book in The Mortal Instruments series. This was a bit of a different experience for me. This was the first time that I’ve ever given a book a second chance. When I originally read City of Bones a few years ago, I didn’t really like it much and there were some parts I actively disliked. However, this series has such hyped fans! I felt like I was missing out on something! So I thought, “Why not? Why not give it another shot, no judgment, and just read it through with an open mind?

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Let’s start out with a little synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Okay, now to the nitty gritty. First off, let me tell you what I didn’t like the first time around. I had felt like the author, Clare (not to be confused with the character Clary), in trying to build the Shadowhunter world was trying to be complex and sophisticated, but that it just wasn’t fully fleshed out. I also felt that she had spent time weaving in the “rules” of the world, but then would break them the second the main cast needed a little help. Those were my two biggest complaints. The writing is also pretty young and a bit cliché, but it’s young adult, so that’s just a hazard of reading this genre.

This time around, I mentally prepared myself to just explore the world without tallying up every type of creature/character type and looking for mistakes. I sort of compared it to reading The Lord of the Rings. When I originally tried reading LoTR, I nearly gave up because there were so many complex family lines and everyone was “blank, son of blank, son of blank”, which was hard for me to follow. The way I eventually overcame that was to realize and accept that I didn’t need to remember all of the “son of” bits. I just let that part flow freely through my mind, helping to create a sense of wonderment in the story, but without stressing about it. That strategy is what helped me with City of Bones as well. I didn’t try to keep a detailed list of all the character traits and what each “race” could do or not do, or all the rules of the Clave, or every member of the Circle, etc. That helped me to enjoy the story immensely more.

Something that I specifically love about the novel: the underlying themes of toleration and acceptance in young people. I ADORE that Clare wrote in a young, gay character (Alec). And it’s not done in a preachy way, but rather it’s just part of who he is. He does struggle with his sexuality and he’s “in the closet” currently, but I appreciate that we’re including these themes more in young adult literature. I also connected with the theme of racism. Although it’s not in terms of black vs. white vs. minorities, there’s an echo of it in the Nephilism vs. Downworlders. I think it’s great to address these kinds of issues, whether it’s the main point of the book or not. There were definitely some flashes of brilliance.

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I have to say I’m honestly glad that I gave this book another chance. I know everyone is pretty divided on this series; either they love it or they hate it. I think most people who usually enjoy young adult fantasy novels would enjoy City of Bones, especially if they know ahead of time what they’re going into. If that sounds okay to you, happy reading! I’m going to move forward with the series and read the next novel: City of Ashes. I’m also almost finished listening to Paris: A Novel so keep an eye for that post soon!

Until next time bibliophiles…