liri: Reading a fantasy novel (reading)
I went looking for discussions as soon as I finished the book, so:

Ending spoilers, speculation, details from the Dunk and Egg stories and stuff I didn't catch on my own. )
Now to go find the next episode of Tiger & Bunny, which has yet to disappoint me, or spend entire chapters talking about feces, vomit, whores and blood. 
liri: A kitten sleeping peacefully (sleepy)
And now the book has started bringing the delicious, delicious OMGWTF. )

All this was written last night.  Today, in order to get our experience of Carmageddon, the husband and I took mass transit down to Little Tokyo.  I read on the subway (didn't want to risk motion sickness on the bus portion of our journey) and then we had The Best Ramen in LA, visited the art and design exhibit in the area, failed ONCE AGAIN to find Ooku volume 6 aaaargh, bought creampuffs and Vocaloid CDs, and went home. 
liri: Reading a fantasy novel (reading)
Today a windstorm knocked the power out after I'd just gotten through about an hour's worth of plot on my slow replay of Suikoden II (I'm trying to do two at once, one at a leisurely pace and the other with an eye on the time so I can actually see all the ClydeClive [can you tell I was replaying FF6 before?]/Elza scenes) so I gave up and finished reading A Feast For Crows.

Spoilers for all of this book )

I had comments about some theories/speculation I'd encountered, but I think I'll wait till I can make them coherent.
liri: Reading a fantasy novel (reading)
NOW I have A Feast for Crows. The angst is gone! No doubt to return with a soul-crushing vengeance in the last third or so of the book, but for right now I'm angst-free. About 150 pages in, will say nothing for now. Spoil me and I will kill you slowly and painfully, then bring you back to life with the power of R'can'tpronouncethename and kill you some more.

Oh, wait, I have to comment on the change of cover designs; it's making me want to sell off my earlier paperbacks and get new copies, since I dislike covers with even remotely realistic-looking humans on them anyway (or, you know, unrealistic-looking real humans, like Fabio and his "beef throw cushion" chest, as it was described in Microserfs. I liked that book, paleolithic technology and all, could you tell?) and I like for my books to match.
liri: Reading a fantasy novel (reading)
I never did post in detail about the George R. R. Martin books. (I can't use the name A Song of Ice and Fire - it just sounds so very very very like something that I would pass over in the bookstore... as a matter of fact I did pass over his books for quite some time. I have this standing rule that if a fantasy book has the word "dragon" in the title I will skip it, and I think about it for some time if it has the word "sword," "song," or "mist" unless I have good reason to trust the writer. "It's a long series" is another point against reading material; "it will be long and it's not finished yet" is like a triple word score. This has spared me a great deal of suffering, even if it may also have exempted me from some good books or at least delayed my enjoyment of them.)

Anyway... the non-spoiler bits:

GO READ THESE BOOKS NOW. All shall love them and despair. Really, the despairing part should be emphasized upfront. Holy crap these things are depressing.

Given how little understanding of the concept of "unreliable narrator" you tend to find even among intelligent, educated people who are avid readers, I can't help but marvel at the fanbase these books have picked up; maybe the number of POV characters makes it easier for people to see from all sides. Or maybe lots of old readers quit in disgust for all the new ones who join.

He can't make me like every character, but he can make me like some I never expected to.

At one point, maybe a quarter of the way into the first book, I nearly gave up in disgust; he'd just pulled a plot twist that to me smacked of the shameless use of shock value to emphasize the evil of your villains. I kept reading, though, and as a matter of fact one of the elements that read most as shock value was a vital ingredient enabling other plot threads, and another element that read as shock value would be another plot element, one that undercut any number of genre cliches. It's not that he doesn't also sometimes use those genre conventions - argh, I'm having to be so vague - but he uses them to a somewhat different end than do some other writers.

Obviously this should be the first thing I address behind the cut tag. One last thing, though - if you think you might EVER read these books, and you definitely should, don't even glance beyond the cut tag. These books are noteworthy for truly and completely shocking plot twists - you do not want them ruined.

On cliches, sex and shock value. Spoilers for the whole series, just to be safe, but most are about the first book. )

On history and narrative expectations. Even more spoilers, pretty severe ones this time. )

Other reading reactions, misc opinions, and speculation. Very specific spoilers here; you can't say you haven't been warned. )

Good Lord. I don't think I've ever written a post this long, including the one where I ranted about the the OVA That Shall Be Nameless and Also Invisible. Um, the spoiler-free version is that these are damn good books, frequently horribly painful but always excellent, standing on hallowed Best Thing Ever ground with Twelve Kingdoms and the complete works of Diana Wynne Jones. Read them.

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September 2013

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