‘A Game of Thrones’ – George R.R. Martin | Book Review

A Game of Thrones is by far the boldest book that I’ve chanced to read. It is also the best book I’ve read when it comes to the usage of detail.

The motivation to read the book (or the knowledge of its existence) came from the noise the viewers of the TV series made. I was severely warned that it was brutal, bloody, and disgusting at places. Fortunately, I wanted to take a break from the casual novels I read.

The problem any new reader would face reading this book is its familiarity among people, thanks to its blockbuster TV adaptation.
People let out spoilers as easy as death in Game of Thrones.

‘Eddard, Hand of the King *******(random number of stars to confuse reader),’ was the first spoiler I heard. That pretty much kills the reading, I thought. People also started suggesting that I watch it on TV and not ‘waste’ time reading it.

It’s best to read the book in the dark, I’d say!

On what is so good about the book, I’d say it’s the boldness. I don’t mean the incest, the gore, or the killing. It’s the boldness GRRM shows when he kills important characters.
How many writers have the guts, or the strength, to part with their characters?
LOTR, for example, made heroism seem like a walk in the part, at least comparatively.
Just fight, fight, and you win at last! You won’t die, I guarantee! ?
That’s where GRRM has outrun a plenty of other writers. He is brave enough to lose some characters for the sake of his story.

I absolutely loved how GRRM skipped through scenes as fast as he could. To think this little detailing, and the fast pace the book moves at, had made the book 800 odd pages long, I wonder what would have come of the book had Tolkien got the same seed (gardening seed of GRRM). He’d probably have written twenty mighty volumes of Game of Thrones, rich with family details, reaching the hundredth father of every lineage, describing every handful of sand on the planet, not to mention the pedantic detail on the position of the sun, stars, and the moon every two paragraphs. I haven’t even mentioned the songs. Thank the Gods it’s only GRRM!

However, the GRRM universe isn’t a feminist’s paradise, nor a place for the weak hearted. Child marriage, marriages of convenience, and inhumane treatment of women (people, in general) are everywhere to be found.

Summing it up, I’d say ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was Tolkien trying to portray the land of his imagination amidst a turmoil, whereas ‘A Game of Thrones’ is George RR Martin trying to portray the turmoil amidst his land’.

The Fault In Our Stars (#TFIOS) | John Green – Book Rev… Nah! Recommendation

I’ll show you a sample of what the book is:

I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.

I read this and laughed. Seconds later, it struck me that I shouldn’t have laughed there. Had anyone told me that they had cancer and were about to die, would I laugh?

That’s what the book is about. It is kind of a Catch-22 (which also happens to be the second last book that I read). You find things said in the book funny but realise that they are jokes on things that you’d never laugh at (You laugh anyway).

‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is a mockery of the hypocrisy of people, the way cancer (read disease) is seen in society, a parody of death, and an adoration of love.

For a story, imagine two different people, differing in a lot of aspects including their gender, chancing to meet each other. Spice this up by imagining that they look really good, are funny, and have intelligent cosmic interpretations.

Now imagine they’re sick i.e. star-cross them.

Your imagination might have dimmed a bit. John Green’s doesn’t.

Green sidelines the defects, the deadlines, and the baggage that the characters carry towards oblivion. Instead, he chooses to portray the common people in them.

Hazel Grace carries an oxygen cart with her for the entire time. Augustus Waters has one leg of his own and a prosthetic. Isaac has lost his eyes to cancer.

Yes, they do worry. They have ups and downs. They have more ups in their roller coasters than downs into normalcy. But, they choose to endure, live a life out of the very small amount of time that’s left with them (Average humans too, in cosmic timescales, have a negligible amount of time at their disposal, but these guys might have even less).

The book took a hundred pages (out of its 316 in the edition that I read it in) to set me up for the story. I was reluctant to proceed further. It was heartbreaking coming to know that these two utterly adorable people are probably going down a winding path. I also hated tragedies, anticipating this book would end up being one. I have enough of troubles myself and didn’t want to take the extra time to worry about fictional characters all my life (‘A Walk to Remember’  afterthought).

But the book is worth it. It is worth all the tears that you shed, and all its dull moments. At the end, you take something home. It radically changes the view you’d ever have of sick people. They won’t seem that sick anymore. I bet you wouldn’t watch them with sympathy, but with understanding. That’s why the book is worth giving a read.

Another Snippet from the book:

“What’d I  do to her?” he asked, defensive.

“You know, going blind and everything”

“But that’s not my fault,” Isaac said.

“I’m not saying it was your fault. I’m saying it wasn’t nice

That’s an exchange between two main characters, Isaac and Hazel.

Characters don’t care about pointing someone’s physical flaws as it is no big deal when we make fun of people without such flaws. We might think it’s okay to make fun of a scar our friend has, but would we joke about a person’s leg lost fighting cancer? No! We sympathise for them,pity them. But John Green says, “What’s this fuss about cancer? It’s just another flaw in another normal guy. Don’t make the flaw win the championship. It isn’t that worthy to be given a damn!”

I’ll have to admit that this book is not a literary masterpiece that you’d read for your degree. I won’t promise that this is an utterly realistic output. I’d promise that it works where it needs to: humor, wit, emotion, and trauma.

Finally, I must say that this young adult book is for everyone. Especially for people who are, or think they are, handsome, rich, blessed or healthy.

I don’t want you to miss this at all, but if you aren’t the book reading kind, but don’t mind going to the theatre, below is the trailer of the book’s movie adaptation:

Featured image courtesy of http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/collections/397847363

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien | Fantasy

J.R.R Tolkien, Author of Lord of the Rings

J.R.R Tolkien

Reviewing the work of a legend, who single-handedly uplifted the fantasy genre into mainstream status, and his magnum opus would not be the right thing to do. So, I’ve decided not to review it but write down an extract of the experience I had reading the book. By this way, you might come to know of my taste and also enjoy the fact that it is ‘spoiler-free’.

The Sunday Times famously said thus: “The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them.”

Some months ago, I belonged to the second category of this classification. The huge following that this book has gained over the half-a-century after its publication made me buy an edition which also included ‘The Hobbit’.

The Hobbit:

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Wanting to go chronologically, I started with ‘The Hobbit’. I did toil reading it, mainly due to Tolkien’s style of  writing, particularly his penchant for pedantry.

However, I went ahead and started with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ since it was said to be more serious and  mature.

You can find my review of ‘The Hobbit’  —–> here on my blog.

The Lord of the Rings:

The Fellowship of the Ring:

LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, being the first Volume of LOTR

The beginning chapters of the first Volume of LOTR, ‘The Fellowship of The Ring’ (remember, LOTR is a single book in three volumes and not a trilogy as most people believe), felt surprisingly engaging. But, by the time I was halfway through the book, I had taken much more time than I’d taken for any other book – two weeks. I did not want to go further at all. Since I’ve never stopped a book midway and because of the belief I had in LOTR’s following, I continued. By the end, the book had gained sufficient momentum and I started liking it. There was, however, this one tragic incident, for the Fellowship, which as I had expected, did not turn tragic later. The company’s choice of words gave away the twist. I specifically liked the ending of the book, which came as something completely unexpected. That was what I’d later go on to realise as a typical Tolkien ‘blue-bolt’, which one simply does not expect due to the preformed notion that Tolkien doesn’t bring anything into the story more dramatic than the waxing of the moon or the blowing of the Middle-Earth wind.

And then, I wrote a review  of the book —–> here on my blog

The Two Towers:

The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, second Volume of LOTR

Then I made the biggest mistake of my ‘reading career’ (This, I had assumed halfway through). I picked ‘The Two Towers’.

For an unbiased reader, going by goodreads.com, this books is a bit better than the first one (2% better approx). I couldn’t but take weeks and weeks reading it. The book takes a serious and much grimmer turn to bring in the mood for battle. I could see a few hundred pages passing my eyes without even the slightest bit of comprehension. By the time Book 3 (first book of ‘The Two Towers’) was over, LOTR was gaining momentum on me once again.

There was a sole bright spot in this Volume (for me) which was when Gimli says, ‘Where on ‘Middle-Earth’ is this place?’. Well, that might not impress every reader but it did impress me. That reminded me of the entire canvas of Tolkien’s narration and the depth to which he had imbibed the story (some places make me wonder if he actually went there or something). The ending again was just fantastic, again ablue-bolt. This was when I realised that all those seemingly meaningless things that took place all the while in the beginning, actually, had some motivation and substance.

The Return of the King:

I did not know even then that this book would go on to become one of my all-time favourites. The phrase, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ can be modified to suit LOTR as ‘Don’t judge a three-Volume book by its first two Volumes’. ‘The Return of The King’ literally changed every bad thought I had on the book and its storytelling. It was the pinnacle of Tolkien’s characterisation, heroism, fantasy and unpredictability.

There was this mind-blowing part in this Volume, where a Hobbit gets saved from the brink of death and the first thing that he says is, ‘I’m hungry. What time of the day is it?’started laughing there. Every word that a Hobbit utters happens to match Tolkien’s description and our mental idea of Hobbits, or any other Middle-Earth species for that matter. People might have found a few Hobbits, a couple of Elves and a dozen Dwarfs had Tolkien’s research-and-reference material for the book been checked. I mean… that is where he stands, that’s what defines him: The originality, the novelty in characterisation that a whole lot of writers can only dream of achieving.

The Return of the King: LOTR

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, third Volume: LOTR

There was also another impressive moment where Gandalf faces something terrifying and Tolkien narrates the morning crowing of a cock matching the sound of blazing horns. Another Goosebumps moment.

The actual end of the book comes half a hundred pages after the reader guesses the story is over and it is just the homecoming remaining. Tolkien also makes the climax point to the rise of Men in Middle-Earth (i.e. Earth of some thousand years ago).

The ending might sound predictable, unpredictable, out of the world, catastrophic or nonsense depending upon the reader’s taste and anticipation. I certainly did not think it was out of the world or bad either.

A few days after reading it, today, I wish something had gone terribly wrong, costing a few more important lives here and there. That thought, however, did not cross my mind when I was reading, which was possibly due to the tense and troubled setting that the story was in.

Depends whether you agree to this question: All’s well that ends well?

The names, the family history and the languages are discussed after the end of the story which I gladly skipped. However I did find a timeline of events that extends beyond the end of the story and explains how the Fellowship actually left Middle-Earth, which you shouldn’t miss. The Appendices of the book can give you an edge if you wish to become an authority in one of the numerous fan clubs that this book has all over the virtual and physical world.

Summing it up, I’d say:

An experience of a lifetime awaits you!

Just get yourself your bottles, a few days’ time and some food to sustain the most epic of battles!

*big pause*

One Book to rule them all!”

—————————- The end of this post ————————

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkien | Book Review

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

                   I remember starting this blog only to write book reviews. This was primarily because, the more I reviewed, the more I’d have actually read. It was my own way of motivating myself into reading and not while away my leisure time on Facebook. However, WordPress proved too versatile and diverse and I couldn’t just stick to book reviews. I wrote all that came to my mind and all that DailyPost posted. Now, I think I should get back to the foundations of my blog by reviewing ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring‘.

Plot (No Major Spoilers):

                   Bilbo Baggins, the timid Middle-Earth hobbit, passes his ring to Frodo, his adopted son, who has to journey far and wide to prevent the war that threatens to break out. He is accompanied by his house-help, the loyal Samwise Gamgee (Sam for most part of the book). Later, Peregrin Took, a.k.a Pippin, and Meriadoc Brandybuck, Merry for short, join him in his dangerous road to Mt.Doom. The four rush for Bree, where Gandalf had asked them to come for counsel. There, they add to their company Strider (Aragorn), the Gondor king-in-exile. They ought to reach Rivendell as soon as possible to decide where they will go thence. Evil follows the company and, most importantly, the One-ring all throughout their deadly journey. In Rivendell, the nine-strong Fellowship is formed with Frodo as the ring-bearer. The council decides that the best way to see the Dark Lord Sauron off is to destroy the One-Ring at Mount Doom even though the task could be the most perilous one that anyone’d have ever taken. At the very end (of the book), Frodo is given two choices by the Fellowship, either to go with them to Minas Tirith to fight the Dark Lord with an army or to get to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. Frodo improvises one option and takes it, despite the danger he foresees.

Why you should definitely read this book:

  • It is on every ‘Top 100 books’ list on the planet
  • The writing, though too descriptive for beginners like me, might please every literature loving reader
  • Tolkien, with his revolutionary storytelling, keeps surprising with unexpected turns in the tale
  • The creativity of Tolkien that extends to drawing, poetry and map charting is worth having a look on
  • You’ll have plenty to quote after you’ve done with this book

What I loved :

It was unlike anything that I’ve ever read. Tolkien’s text lets us visualise the whole landscape, the mind of the characters and the tension that runs all throughout Middle-Earth. The characterisation is something that inspired me. I’d want to write some character traits the next time I try writing a short story or something. The timidity of the Hobbits, the bravery of Men and the Elfs and the wisdom of Gandalf show us the diversity of the Middle Earth species and Tolkien’s imaginative prowess.

What I did not love :

  • The detail. Why does Tolkien have to mention the shape of the moon, the length of the shadows and the hunger of the company again and again and again and again ?
  • The poetry didn’t impress me much and pulled me out of the story each time it appeared. Except for the poems on Aragorn and the Rings at the beginning, nothing was fantastic or even good. [Note: ‘The Fall of Arthur’  by J.R.R Tolkien and his son Christopher Tolkien has been voted the ‘Best Poetry book of 2013’ at goodreads.com more than 30 years after Tolkien’s death. Remember, Opinions vary! ]
  • This book is not what you should read when you’re travelling and isn’t your bedtime book either. It takes a lonely environment, a backpack of eatables and a full day’s leave to read it with the focus that this magnum opus deserves

On ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001 Movie)’ by Peter Jackson:

The story of the movie is quite different and the development is faster than the book (Though the running time is 3 hours and 20 minutes). It was a very visually appealing and pleasing movie with a matching cast. However, I felt the improvisations were bad as they seemed to mock at my anticipation.

[Note: The movie is considered one of the best movies ever made and has won a plethora of awards including the Oscars. Opinions vary, again!]

Your views are encouraged. You can choose to agree or disagree with my opinions. I’d be glad to know what you thought of the book.

Please suggest me a good book if you have the time!

Good day!

Check out my other books reviews:

‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo – A Must Read

‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R Tolkien – A Good Read