Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Monkey Book Review

I don't usually read fantasy novels. They're just not my cup of tea. I don't give two shits about dark taverns in made up lands that are run by busty wenches who dabble in the black arts and sleep with legions of elves, trolls, and other mythical hairy small woodland creatures. Novels about human royals stripped of their rank and class being forced to go on harrowing quests to slay the evil wizard and to retrieve the underwear of befuddlement and chests containing untold amounts of gold, silver, and Thracian cock rings don't appeal to me anymore. However, many people I respect have been raving about the HBO adaption of A Game of Thrones, so I felt like I should read the novel before it came out on DVD.

It took me a little over a month to read this massive almost 700 page novel but it was time well spent. The action is fast and furious, the characters don't sit around moping and scratching their asses while pondering life's inequities. They go and do. And boy, do they do and do and do. The story never lags, it moves along fast, well as fast as an almost 700 page novel can move.

For those of you unfamiliar with this book, it's about the scramble for power and glory in a quasi medieval very much like Europe land called Westeros where winters last 10 years or so and summer can be 7 or 8 years long. The main families that are clashing are the Lannisters, the Barthenons, and the Starks. The Lannisters are wealthy and powerful and from the south and the Starks are powerful and respected and from the north. Other families vie for power and influence and the Byzantine intrigue at times puts ol' Byzantium to shame. Alliances come and go almost as quickly as the wind blows.

I'm not doing the story justice with my oversimplified break down of it, it's really very very good and Martin is a very good story teller. He's not the greatest of writers and at times his prose is a bit clunky, but what matters here is he knows how to tell a gripping well paced story.

I liked this novel very much and I look forward to the next book in the series and if you like epic stories about villains and heroes in an age before electricity, then you'll like this massive novel too. I'm now all set for the mini series to come out on DVD, in fact, I'm now eagerly awaiting it.


Lockwood said...

I've been reading Martin since the 70's -he's a very diverse author and started in sci fi- and this series since the 1t book came out. I was very skeptical that a film version could do the book justice. While, yes, there are some minor side stories that get left out, I was awed by the HBO production. You're in for a treat!

Professor Chaos said...

The underwear of befuddlement? Ha! Brilliant!

Lazarus Lupin said...

It's hard to grab the feel of a novel in the size review you gave, but you did it by jove. You'll love the HBO version.

Lazarus Lupin