FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of George R. R. Martin

Author of the truly epic 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' series, Martin lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Average Review Score: 4.8 out of 5

A Game Of Thrones
The first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Using the word 'epic' to describe fantasy stories is all too common (I often do it myself), by with this series, Martin writes books that earn the phrase is every possible sense.  Somehow, he manages to cram every nuance of medieval politics and warfare into the books, as well as creating genuine and believable characters.  And on top of that he maintains the air of magical mystery that is an important factor in epic fantasy.  This first book sets the bar for this series and, indeed, all contemporary fantasy series'.  The story begins based around the noble Stark family, who maintain the old codes of honour, duty and allegiance to the old gods.  Soon, however, the Stark's contented lifestyle is broken when they are drawn into the court intrigues of the larger realm.  The book continues to diversify as each member of the Stark family is forced along a different path, towards very different destinies.  The most remarkable quality of Martin's work is that nothing is sacred and nothing is certain.  People who need a conclusively happy ending, look elsewhere.
5 out of 5
A Clash Of Kings
A Song of Ice and Fire book two.  The troubled realm of the first book is torn apart by civil war, creating a whole new set of dangers for the scattered Starks.  But Martin continues to show the depth of his storytelling by beginning to tell the stories of the Stark's enemies, who are no less convinced of their own righteousness.  I really enjoyed the idea that, following the turmoil of the first book, leaders all across the nation declare themselves King.  The story of Danaerys Stormborn, true heir to the throne, on the other side of the world begins to become more interesting too.  Also, Dany's story features the birth of her three dragons, who bring magic back into the world.  This book's greatest triumph, however, is the development of Tyrion Lannister.  A dwarf (but not in the Gimli sense), he confronts mistrust and prejudice at every turn and yet, as the King's Hand, he shows himself to be more of a man than any of his peers.  Tyrion's tale reaches it's height in the wonderous evocative climatic battle, in which he leads his people to victory.  As before, however, Martin avoids happy endings, and Tyrion finds that no matter how heroic he is, it will earn him no gratitude or respect.
5 out of 5
A Storm Of Swords: One - Steel And Snow
The third book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series was divided into two parts for it's paperback release, of which this is the first.  The realm is somewhat quieter, following the devastating battle at King's Landing.  However, the civil war does continue and across the realm of Westeros Martin's diverse cast of characters continue to further their schemes.  This book begins to hint at the true threat to come as large portions of it focuses on the Night's Watch, ranging in the wilds beyond the great Wall in the north.  Bran Stark also begins to come into his own as a character as he sets out to discover his destiny as a wild magician.  Although considerably slower paced that the previous book, this one loses none of Martin's talent for telling the stories of real people in realistic situations.  At only one point was this harsh realism uncomfortable and that is when Martin reminds us that Sansa Stark, increasingly the object of unwanted sexual attention, is still only thirteen.  However, I think it's entirely likely that Martin planned for the reminder to have just that effect.
5 out of 5
A Storm Of Swords: Two - Blood And Gold
The second paperback part of the third novel of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Here Martin continues the tales of the now familiar characters but goes to considerable effort to turn all of our expectations and preconceptions on their heads.  The line between hero and villain becomes more blurred than ever as even tried and tested scumbags like Jaime Lannister prove they are capable of acts of great moral courage.  In fact, Jaime's emotional journey in this book is one of it's best elements, almost equalling Martin's work on Tyrion's character in book two.  As well as continuing the individual stories, the author put the series' larger ideas into effect here as we see the consequences of the return of magic to the world begin to become clear.  However, the most interesting larger story thread is set a the Wall, where the Night's Watch discover that the Wildling invasion that almost destroys them is really an evacuation in the face of a far more dire threat.  I can't wait for the next volume.  Although, obviously, I'll have to.  Because it's not out yet, you see.  Yes, well...
5 out of 5
A Feast For Crows
The Song of Ice and Fire finally reaches book four.  First I'll relay the tale of what happened to this book when Martin was writing it... Working hard at continuing the story he'd begun, Martin wrote reams and reams, until it was decided that the book would be far too long and should therefore be split into two books.  This had been done successfully with the paperback release of Book 3, but this time a different approach was taken; the author divided the main characters in half and chose to tell the entire story of one half in this book and the entire story of the other half in the forthcoming 'A Dance With Dragons'.  I'm quite happy to grant that this is a clever way of dealing with the issue, but not far into this book you'll realise that all the really interesting characters (Tyrion, Jon Snow, Danaerys etc) have been saved for the next one.  Call me cynical, but I can't help but think that saving the best characters for next time is a deliberate ploy to keep readers buying.  The irony is that no one who's read this far will be able to stop anyway, so it's just screwing over the fans.  As you may have guessed, I strongly hold this issue against the book.  My one other major gripe is that this book has no climax to speak of.  Most of the characters are left hanging in the middle of their stories and there isn't even a memorable set-piece (like the battles in the previous books) by which to mark where this book is in the overall saga.  Martin's talent as a writer manages to redeem much of these failings.  He creates characters who are very real in their neuroses, emotions and desires, as well as confronting a great many larger issues about war, religion, patriotism and honour.  Overall good, particularly if you're a fan of the lesser characters like Cersei, Jaime, Brienne and Sam, but you won't be able to escape the feeling that this is a gap-filler novel.
4 out of 5

If you liked Martin:
It's hard to think of anything of comparable style to Martin's work, but I imagine you would probably enjoy Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar books or Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy.

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