Review: A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This second book, that I’m way behind the curve in reading, brought me more of what I’d come to (pleasantly) expect while reading the first. I don’t even feel ashamed of being inspired to read it by catching a few episodes of the HBO program first.

The medieval-inspired world is raw, and I think I understand what Martin’s going for, there, but I am growing a little tired of the “rape happens” attitude. People have sex. It’s important to humanity. Uncouth, differently trained types take it as their battlefield, or nobility due. Over it, now. Aside from that, I do like the realism that dominates the landscape and throws the hints of otherworldliness into perspective.

The cast of characters is large enough and the point-of-view moves around enough that there’s plenty to like and no harm if you draw away from certain characters. I can see where people might get put off by it, but I rather like it. Following certain characters gives a breadth of story without getting too impersonal. I do hope, though, that some characters (Brienne, for example) get to be POV characters sometime in the future.

I know, as a woman, I’m supposed to be rooting for Arya and I don’t even mind that I’m being set up to identify with this character. She’s the one for people who like plucky girls. Catelyn’s the one for women to admire and sympathize with as an adult. Sansa’s… well I’m not even sure. I digress, though. In spite of knowing I’m “supposed to,” I do like Arya and think about the little threads and mysteries of her small, hidden part of the war most often.

John Snow’s upcoming storyline appeals to me. I always did like “Mother Night” and other deep cover type stories. There’s a frustration in knowing the truth, but watching a character grow through perseverance (or going native, it can work!) is fun– if you like the character, and I do.

I have to say two, petty, things: Good thing Daenerys has the prophecy to keep me interested until she gets interesting again in her own right. Won’t SOMEONE get Ice back to the Starks? It’s getting on my nerves, or maybe it’s just that I’m tired of people thinking about how Eddard used it and was different and blah blah. For a person that does her own share of repetition, I see it too much in everyone else.

I’m looking forward to the library fronting me the next book.

View all my reviews

Review: The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril
The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yeah. I read a lot of YA books. I’ve been picking up “A Series of Unfortunate Events” off and on for years. They’re short, cute, and have the best little sharp sense of humor and the “hidden” story of Mr. Snicket, our humble narrator, himself [Aside: I always imagined a Lemony Snicket as a sort of lemon drop/black licorice candy or a licorice schnapps/lemonade drink]. I feel like a voyeur or detective reading the books and looking to piece together the Snicket story.

Sadly, though, it’s about time for the series to end, I felt while reading this book. It was the only one that dragged for me and started feeling truly ridiculous and unfortunate. On second thought, in the “darkest before the dawn” sense of these books, it’s fitting to be dragged on by this entry, so… mission accomplished? I salute the author, anyway.

While there have been recurring characters in other entries of the series, this one is unique in having all the characters who are currently alive recur in one way or another. I don’t think anything is forgotten, and I loved that, although I did find it a little ridiculous, even for the world that has been set up.

I know it’s a series of unfortunate events, but I realize, reading this, that I kind of have been hoping for an ultimately happy ending. Poor kids.

View all my reviews

Review: Naked Heat

Naked Heat
Naked Heat by Richard Castle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you like “Castle” you’ll like this. It’s obviously drawn from the same place, as it should be to maintain that meta-type verisimilitude they have going for them. This one took a while to draw me in, because the novelty of the first one has worn off, and while it’s kind of cute that Richard Castle’s only an adequate writer that doesn’t make for a grabber of a read. I wasn’t into it until I’d gotten far enough in to have theories that I wanted to check.

The aforementioned meta-level had me wondering how much of the Rook/Heat relationship is played out as wish fulfillment against the show. That’s something to think about, and I needed it. It’s a real wonder that these things don’t come up more in the show. Maybe I’m just too multimedia for them.

View all my reviews

Review: The Killing Dance

The Killing Dance
The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here we start making “monster” politics and sexual tension the focus of things, rather than the sideline to an adequate “Woman kicking butt” paranormal crime series. I know it came first, but here it starts feeling more like Southern Vampire than Midwestern Vampire Executioner. The inexplicably universally wanted Anita Blake (Short, scarred, arrogant, bitchy… what’s not to love?), makes what she feels is her choice between her to primary beaux (Jean Claude, because she can’t handle the bloody doings of the weres… hello, blinded by cheesy pirate outfit, party of one!). It’s also the one where they all make their big sexual triumvirate.

Maybe it was because I got this primarily through audiobook, but the repeated phrases Hamilton fancies (usually in descriptions of outfits and trees and comparative physical strength and messes) and the drawn out “sex” scenes really made themselves felt in my mind, here. She’s consistent, at least.

I guess I can say that I’ve know of others who have mistaken sex for a great revelation about their relationships,so… on purpose or not, Anita is sort of real in her sudden “HOLY CRAP! It’s me and Jean-Claude FOREVER!” feelings, and sudden lack of regard for the abruptly (seems like to make her heroine a “sympathetic” cheater) “jealous and insane” Richard. Her doubts are momentary at best, and after being so disgusted, she seems awfully ready to be seduced.

Anita bulldozes her way through this book accepting accolades as her due (Lupa of the werewolf pack? Sure! –She’s human, though… DOESN’T MATTER!), and barely doing any mystery solving at all. I hope it gets better from here.

View all my reviews