|Winter is Coming [Goodreads]|
Just like Steph, this is obviously way out of my comfort zone, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it (and appreciated the TV show even more for it).
I did watch the TV show before reading the book, because let's be honest, I don't think I could commit myself to a 800+ page book if I knew I wouldn't enjoy it and based on my tv-viewing of the series, obviously i was into it, so I was hoping to get the same effect with the book. And well, I did feel just as excited.
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. 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, and his enemies are 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 also the kingdom itself. A heroic fantasy of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and evildoers who come together in a time of grim omens. [Goodreads]I'm not the fastest reader on earth, so I've only made a dent on book two and it took me forever with this one but I totally enjoyed it. I loved how the many point of views gave me different glimpses of life in the Kingdom and beyond it and how they all were affected by the many scheming ways. It felt like everyone was in on a scheme at some point in the book.
Obviously my love for the Starks of Winterfell is the first thing I need to comment on. From Ned to Catelyn, to the bastard and the kids, I loved them all, in their own way. I wish we'd seen more of Jon/Arya or Ned with his kids in general but this book isn't afraid to raise the stakes and totally shatter your expectations. Come on, I didn't think they'd really kill Ned off right? It's amazing how the Starks family history is so deeply entrenched in the history of the Kingdoms. From Liana being engaged to Robert to how Catelyn was betrothed to Ned's older brother and how things worked out for them.
I absolutely love the children, Jon, Robb, Sansa (at times), Arya, Bran and Rickon and how despite being separated, they all still tried their hardest to make their dad proud of them. I really hope their direwolves get reunited with their masters just because those things are pretty nifty when it comes to saving their lives.
I'm really interested with life on the Wall and hope that Uncle Benjen returns safely (though I doubt it). I feel so bad for Jon as he tries his bet to prove himself worthy, only to fall short of his expectations. Still, I'm crossing my fingers that it all works out for him in the end, especially with friends like Sam who at least are looking out for him. And hey, it looks like Arya's sort of on her way there.
Obviously, I'm not too happy with the Barathenon/Lannister kids or rather the offspring of Jamie and Cersei. It just sickens me how they did this but it's not like they ddin't breed in the family before. Somehow reading about Jamie and Cersei just makes me sick. On the other hand, I absolutely adore Tyrion if only because he's the smartest Lannister kid there is. Jamie and Cersei need to start heeding his calls. ANd yes, I hate Jeoffrey. How can I not?
And finally, it warms my heart to know that Dany has grown up to be a fine young khaleesi. It's such a character arc for her to go from her brother's payment for an army to making Khal Drogo fall for her and respect her to gaining the Dothraki's respect (if only for a bit), she really came into her own and proved she is the real dragon. I'm really interested to see where they take her in the next book because she's grown so much already (despite being so young) in this book.
Over-all, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how unlike it is from anything I've read and yet I'm raring to get to the next book. Thanks Mr. Martin for sort of converting me and widening my reading tastes. Even if the TV show is a fantastic compression, there's still so much that goes on in the books that you miss out on -- and I'm sure I missed out on as well. Who are your favorite characters? What are your favorite parts? I need to belatedly fangirl with someone.
Even More Page Turner:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
One Day by David Nicholls