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A Game of Thrones
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I find that to my tastes this novel is so concerned with creating an 'epic fantasy series' that it forgets itself and the reason people buy books.
A world has been created and yet we learn very little of that world and it's history - only tasters throughout its 864 pages. Not enough.
The most interesting characters are Tyrion, Daenerys and Viserys and that leaves many others, whose motives beyond being power hungry and wanting to remain political survivors are never filled out enough. It makes engaging with the characters difficult, and this is corroborated by the fact that many, many reviews state that the reader could not track most of the characters. Characters are recognisable by their words and their actions, these are driven by their 'wants and needs', put differently these become their motives.
That is what this book lacks - clarity, and therefore I find that I was pulled out of the fantasy, out of the story, in order to deal with the realities of tracking who is who.
The historical context is never fully realised. There is a rich world history in Mr Martin's head it seems, but little of it on the pages. It takes the HBO website for the TV series to fill in all the blanks. The HBO rendering of the novel is excellent not least because it is is driven by a very well edited screenplay and script.
In terms of battles, the largest engagement occurs between the armies of Stark and Lannister. While the ruse was good, the book fails to cover this enough. It covers the before and after - just like in the HBO series, a point of note for those expecting the battle to be shown.
In summary, this book delivers intrigue, AKA the 'Game' in the title. No doubt what Martin intended, but I think it delivers little more than that when focussed upon anyone but the surviving Targaryens' and Tyrion Lannister. Indeed for all his wealth and therefore power Tywin Lannister manages only a cameo role.
If you want battles, wit, politics, characters who live and breathe on the page, read James Barclay 'Cry of the Newborn'. If you want blood, rage, heroics and for my money one of the best Fantasy characters ever conceived (Glotka) read Abercrombie 'The blade Itself'.
Where was the fire? This left me feeling unfulfilled and approaching hypothermia.
Halo: The Fall of Reach
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Well, should you..??
Yes you should. An excellent read, well written and the best of the Halo series of books. Eric Nylund has realised the Halo world perfectly and his sense of pace and drama are excellent.
A great bit of Sci-Fi. Fast paced and required reading for both Halo and Sci-Fi fans. If on the other hand you like your Sci-Fi as weighty as that of Iain Banks, then probably best if you don't buy it, it could prove to be a clash of tastes.
The Tale Of Despereaux
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This is a great movie for kids and adults and we can all learn from this tale. The animation is beautifully rendered and the use of narration is very engaging and helps the younger among us to relate to the message and or reinforce it for those who have already understood. This film is not a Disney/ Dreamworks film and as such we are spared the rudeness apparent in Shrek, and the crassness of some other titles. If you have little ones that you read to then this film is for you.
A charming story of bravery, triumph over adversity, the hurt others can cause and also the hurt that we can call..And also how we can all make a difference.
Dare to be different...buy Despereaux!
Patti Smith - CD
28 New from
As a collection of cover versions by an artist I had never heard this would be a gamble. However...
I caught Patti Smith on Jools Holland and she and her band where excellent. My wife then bought me this album as a father's day present from my two boys.
Outstanding choice. Each track has enough of the original's greatness but Patti and the band are sublime.
A must album, even though you may have never heard her, you will know some of the tracks. Get this you won't regret it as the vocals alone help me remeber how good it can be.