I just finished reading ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R.R. Martin, the first book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. I discovered the series of books once HBO starting making a series of shows of it and it was a type/genre of show that I normally like. I also learned that a friend I knew from college was a big fan of the series and had good things to say about it.
The basic setting for the book is like a medieval/feudal system, with lords and a king and all that you would expect. Throughout the course of the book you follow several noble families and the events surrounding them. The broad over arching story I have heard compared to several times is that of the War of the Roses in England during medieval times. The story is not just a straight medieval adventure, it has a bit of magic and fantasy elements but they are not an over bearing influence, just enough to make the story a bit different and give it a little flair.
Martin manages to handle a large group of characters well and is able to interconnect the different stories with one another eventually once he set things up. Part of how Martin manages those characters is that in each chapter he switches between characters and rotates the chapters among a handful of them, and we see the world through their eyes in each chapter. One Being Lord Edward Stark pictured below. Normally at the end of most chapters I don’t want to leave the character I have been dealing with and start in on the new one. To Martin’s credit I normally end up just getting as interested in the next chapter as I was in the last.
The book is a good mixture of adventure, political intrigue, back stabbing, a bit of war and fighting, and good character growth as the book goes along with the historical/medieval setting I mentioned above. All of those things for me add up to a compelling story and one while it is a larger book, kept me wrapped up and wanting to keep reading until I finished it, which is what a truly good book should do.
In the end if you like a mix of adventure, some fantasy, history and political intrigue you likely will enjoy this book. It is a longer book than I normally read but the story kept me engaged and wanting to read more. Now off to read the next book in the series ‘A Clash of Kings’
Here is the official book description behind the cut.
The New York Times has an interesting article up on the growing discussion/battle between physical books and e-books on devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad. The quotes below show one case of this tension, and the growing numbers of e-book device readers in some form.
Auriane and Sebastien de Halleux are at sharp odds over “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but not about the plot. The problem is that she prefers the book version, while he reads it on his iPad. And in this literary dispute, the couple says, it’s ne’er the twain shall meet.
“She talks about the smell of the paper and the feeling of holding it in your hands,” said Mr. de Halleux, 32, who says he thinks the substance is the same regardless of medium. He added, sounding mildly piqued, “She uses the word ‘real.’ ”
By the end of this year, 10.3 million people are expected to own e-readers in the United States, buying about 100 million e-books, the market research company Forrester predicts. This is up from 3.7 million e-readers and 30 million e-books sold last year.
Personally for me it has taken me a long time to come around to reading books on my iPad or more generally reading books on an electronic device. Since I have gotten the iPad earlier this year I have read parts of books on the device. I have not read a whole book on it quite yet, but that is because of me losing focus on a book and starting and stopping. I am not sure if I really will for the foresable future ever give up on physical books, but I certainly think I likely will split where I buy my books between digital and physical books from now on. In the end I think digital will keep growing but I think for a long time at the very least that there will be a place still for physical books. From the article and what I have written it is easy to see that in this one area it makes for an interesting discussion on the advancement of technology into this realm of book publishing and reading.
The latest books I have read or am in the process of reading this summer (loose definition since I know technically today the 21st is first day of summer) have been Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis and the book Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth, which just came out this last May.
While Moneyball has been out since 2002, I just got around to reading it and I am glad I did. If you are unfamiliar with the book Moneyball, the basic premise to me is how Oakland Athletics under general manager Billy Bean came to have a low budget winning teams while putting a much greater reliance on numbers and statistics when evaluating players instead of decades old traditional ways of doing it. Besides the statistical part and sections on scouting etc, there are some good sections that just describe some of the players from the A’s organization. Lewis gives you a real picture of baseball and what it is really like, from how the baseball draft was run to the art of making deals at the trading deadline and many things in between. So if you enjoy baseball and have not read this book I would say certainly pick it up.
What I am currently reading is Blood Oath, and what the book is about I will leave to the description I got from the book-
The ultimate secret. The ultimate agent. The President’s vampire.
Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he’s partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.
While I have not finished Blood Oath yet, I am just a few chapters into it, but so far the book is quite enjoyable. So far it is a good page turned and more a fluffy action type of a book that still has a good story or at least enough of a story to keep you interested. This type of book with a mix of action, and a bit of science fiction or fantasy is a good match for me and one of the genre’s of books that I do enjoy. Wile it has a promising start will just have to read the rest of the book to see how good the book is overall. I will try to post again on what I thought of the overall book once I finish reading it.