Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Clash of Kings, Feedback, and Diviner Mini-reviews


A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R.  R. Martin 
                                                                                         Released: November 16th 1998         
Pages: 761
Publisher: Bantam Books                 
Source: Library


This is a huge and complex book.  It has countless tangled plotlines to weave through and try to sort out.  And yet when you try and untangle them, you find that they have grown even more tangled.  This is what I love about A Song of Ice and Fire so far.  I'm not even close to the end, and the tension is already high. 

And the characters are just as complex.  I still have the same set of favorites as I did in the last book--Bran, Arya, Tyrion, Jon Snow.  In the first book, I wasn't a fan of  Daenerys, but now I'm starting to like her more.  And then the author had to go and make me think someone I liked was dead, when they really weren't.  I'm still a bit angry about that.  The author should be receiving my angry letter any day now.  But this character lived, so I guess it's all good.  For now.

Another thing I like about this series is that no one is cast as "the villain".  There are characters that have more good in them than others, yes.  There are characters I want to win, and characters I want to lose.  But there is no designated villain (the only exception to this might be Joffrey.  Nobody likes Joffrey.).  It makes everyone seem more human, more layered. 

Overall, I enjoyed this (though it did take me a while to slog through).  I'll be reading the sequel!

Feedback (Variant #2) by Robsion Wells

Released:October 2nd 2012         
Pages: 356
Publisher: HarperTeen               
Source: Library

This book really disappointed me.  I loved Variant, but this book just didn't do the same thing.  Variant had some cool action and conflict, a sense of intensity, and a cool twist at the end.  Feedback, not so much. 

I spent much of the book trying to figure out what on earth was going on.  Some things didn't add up, and some just didn't make sense.  Also, there was a lot of name-dropping all over the place.  There were many characters to keep track of, and because of this, I felt that none were fully developed.  Benson suddenly became passive and hardly did anything all.

And then...that ending.  What did I just read?  What just happened?  The ending was bizarre (and trust me, I have a very high tolerance for weird in books).  Is there going to be a third book?  It seems that there should be, to explain that weird little twist, but I've heard nothing of it.  If the series ends here, it is not a satisfying ending. 

I just wish this book didn't disappoint me so much.


Diviner (Dragons of Starlight #3) by Bryan Davis

Released: August 23rd 2011        
Pages: 427
Publisher: Zonderkidz                  
Source: received as a gift

This series has a lot going for it.  It's got a really cool setting that's an interesting blend of science fiction and high fantasy.  It has an exciting (albeit sometimes confusing) plotline.  It has a wonderful message. It has dragons!  Yay for dragons!

And yet, the more of this series I read, the more some things start to bother me.  The main thing is how righteous and noble all of the characters are.  Yes, they are wonderful heroes, and all-around "good guys".  They are too much "good", and too little "guys".  What I mean is this: the protagonists pretty much always see the right path and take it.  They readily sacrifice themselves for the good of others.  They are utterly dedicated to the eradication of evil.  But they are too much all of this.  They aren't relatable.  It's not a bad thing to have internal doubts about sacrificing your life your someone.  It's human.  These people (with the notable exception of Koren at one point) never have second thoughts, never make mistakes.  And this gives them so much less depth than they could have.

I'm fascinated by the relationship between Magnar and Arxad.  There's some history there of brother/brother conflict.  Some Thor/Loki type conflict, almost.  And yet the way the interact now kind of reflects this, and kind of doesn't.  I'd love for the next book to delve deeper into this relations.

I guess my mini-reviews became more 2/3 reviews.  Oh well.  I enjoyed Diviner, but I had my issues with it.  It's more of a 3.5 star read, but I round up.



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