Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Iron Throne is still under siege. Of the two Baratheon brothers, only Stannis still draws breath as Renly's throat was slashed by a mysterious shadow. But attempts at an all our war (by land and sea) on Kings Landing are stymied by new Lannister alliances emerge, even while Robb Stark, the king of the north can't be stopped by any foe, Lannister or not, Meanwhile, the ice wall of the north is under attack by the ruthless wildlings who live beyond the wall. and Dany (of the dragons), attempts to build (or buy) an army to take back her rightful throne.

Although I'm intrigued by this epic fantasy series, I recognize this is book three in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series and seven are planned. Sometimes the description get's a little long in the tooth and for one would like to know what's about to happen, not take twenty pages to describe a campfire (okay that's an exaggeration, but you get the point).  Despite this, this edition is worth the details to get to the action and why I rated it a five.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love epic stories like this and this didn't disappoint. As always Martin draws you into the characters whether they're the good guys or the villains (and there are plenty of both). With Robert's Lannister's death, and Eddard Stark losing his head, the seven kingdoms are in turmoil of the most bloody and vicious kind. Every one is either vies for the throne, survival or both: Cersei Lannister, the queen mother of the incestuous boy king Joffrey, Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf with his sharp wit and dull sword, Eddard's daughters, Sansa captured by the hated Lannisters and Arya running from all with her trusty sword Needle, Daenerys Targaryen, the widowed dragon queen (only because she is raising three newly hatched dragons), not to mention Robert's brothers, Stannis and Renly.  In all, they, and several others who grace this fantasy story, leave the reader with the smell of blood and human decay in their nostrils.

This, the second in the "A Song of Ice and Fire," series, baits me up to read volume three.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love epic drama and "A Song of Ice and Fire" does not disappoint. This fantasy novel, sadly did not come to my attention until 2011 when the HBO series premiered.

The plot (I should say "plots" as there are so many intertwined) is so compelling, the characters larger-than-life (how's that for cliché) and Martin's artful way of describing the setting places the reader right in the middle of the action (better duck or that sword will have your head). It's truly a total sensory read with characters you love (and hold your breath that they'll survive) and those you hate (and can't get enough of).

It might be easier to just follow the action on the TV series, but the read is worth the investment. There is so much more than on the screen, I've committed to get ahead of HBO and read the next offerings in advance. Although this is my first post about "A Game of Thrones," I just finished book four, "A Feast for Crows."

No, it's not for everyone (especially those who faint at the sight of blood), but, if you want a good read, you'll find it here.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: The Mephisto Club

The Mephisto Club The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, it’s a work of fiction, but I love it when a novel tweaks your preconceptions. And “The Mephisto Club” did just that.

Maura and Jane are simmering in a seething cauldron of evil. Well, simmering might not be the precise word, it’s more like the devil’s pot is boiling and they’re tangled up inside with a knot of slithering, poisonous vipers.

The book begins at a fairly routine murder scene but a rapid descent into Hell’s pit of death and mayhem keeps the reader engaged and guessing. Is the “Club” purely the researchers of the dark underworld of evil they claim to be, the victim, or the murderer?

Is the evil one really “like a prowling lion looking for someone to devour” or is the teaching that evil radiates out from a fallen angel simply a myth to give mankind someone to blame for his own malicious nature? With believable precision, Tess takes us into ancient manuscripts, both biblical and apocryphal, to lay out the basis for the book. It forced me to pull out my own Bible to see if she was on track and was shocked to see she was.

Maura and Jane, by now in the series, have taken on strong and authentic personalities, and this book does not disappoint or fail to build on previous offerings. The settings are graphically painted so the reader will feel both the frigid chill of the New England winter (where are my gloves and scarf) and the frozen terror of the malevolent scenes of death (I had to keep looking over my shoulder).

Mystery, body parts, pools of blood, and a heavy dose of what sounds like the flutter of bat wings, makes this a great read.

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