Posts Tagged ‘George RR Martin’

The Dangerous Women anthology contains following stories:
– Introduction by Gardner Dozois
– “Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie – A Red Country story
– “My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
– “Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
– “The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
– “Bombshells” by Jim Butcher – A Harry Dresden story
– “Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
– “Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
– “Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
– “I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block
– “Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson – A Cosmere story
– “A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman
– “The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman – A Magicians story
– “Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
– “City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
– “Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon – An Outlander story
– “Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon
– “Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling – An Emberverse story
– “Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes
– “Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
– “Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector – A Wild Cards story
– “The Princess and the Queen” by George R.R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire story

Published by Harper Voyager

Supplied by Harper Collins

Reviewed by Steve

While Gardner Duzois and George R.R. Martin are better known for fantasy/science fiction anthologies and writing respectively, they have collaborated here as editors of a collection that purports to be about dangerous women. The range of fiction collected is very broad – historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, crime, and fantasy/science fiction. Most of the authors I had heard of, but there were one or two new faces and they didn’t disappoint.

I could discern no obvious pattern in the ordering of the stories, which may have been intentional. Historical fiction camped by science fantasy and crime fiction. Which meant I had to at least sample the style if I wanted to do a good job of reviewing. As well as the volume’s introduction, each author and story was introduced. A good idea as I doubt any but the most vociferous reader would know all of the authors and their genres.

As with all anthologies, there were some stories I felt didn’t jibe, primarily from the historical authors – when writing about medieval royalty, historical reality has to be contended with. That said, historical fiction, and Carrie Vaughn’s Raisa Stepanova could loosely be claimed as such, also produced a couple of winners in the above Vaughn piece and Diana Gabaldon’s Virgins. Jim Butcher’s Bombshells was an excellent piece of urban fantasy, and also gives hope to every Harry Dresdon fan alive (and maybe one or two of the dead, it is fantasy, you know). And while George R.R. Martin is frustrating all by not finishing the A Song of Fire and Ice saga, he is at least still alive and whets our appetite with the final tale in the volume, a prequel in that universe.

I enjoyed the anthology

The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister

They say I’m half a man.  What does that make the lot of you?

Full of pithy quotes from Tyrion broken into sections – such as ‘On Being A Dwarf’ and ‘The Human Condition’ – this book is a selection of short quotes we’ve heard him utter.  Tyrion is the dwarf with a brain the size of a planet and a heart of (tarnished) gold in the saga A Song of Ice and Fire.  The illustrations by Jonty Clark are cleverly drawn and catch the image of the Imp for every section.

It’s a great little book to carry around to give you a chuckle.  Now excuse me, I’m off to re-watch my Game of Throne dvds.

HarperVoyager

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

xtuf voyagingNow, we all know that George R.R. Martin has made himself a bestseller with the “Song of Ice and Fire”, the series of fantasy bricks that spawned the TV series “Game of Thrones”. I’m not a big fan of fantasy bricks, and I failed to get anywhere with the “Song of Ice and Fire”, but one of the consequences of getting to be a big name author is that publishers will re-print an author’s earlier books, and in the case of “Tuf Voyaging” this is a very good thing!

First, it’s an excellent read, a well-constructed fix-up of a series of short stories first published in the 70’s and 80’s – but not at all dated. Second, it’s proper SF, something I’m not seeing nearly enough of. Third, it’s a novel with an environmental message that really needs saying again – primarily that humans must control population growth before we destroy both our environment and each other.

This told with a dark sardonic humour and a cool central character that loves cats. What more could you ask for? I’m fairly certainly I’ve read this book before, years ago, but it’s as fresh today; it certainly bears re-reading and I heartily recommend it.

Gollancz

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

a dance with dragonsThe 998th Lord Commander of the Night Watch, Jon Snow has enemies within as well as outside the wall.  He’s made some decisions that are not popular.  Stannis has left the Wall to declare war on the North and claim it.

The North is still teaming with suspicion with distrust and making nice with enemies.  The Fry’s still have weddings, despite them hosting the Red Wedding.  Bolton’s son is preparing to marry Arya

Cersei gets her trial and punishment from the High Septon and I now feel sorry for her.  Her uncle Kevan returns to look after Tommen, who is being influenced by the Tyrell’s.  After turning his back on Cersei, Jamie is involved in brokering peace on terms rewarding Lannister allies.  Tyrion ends up as a slave in a marketplace near Daenerys.

Dorne sends its Crown Prince to find and marry Daenerys as part of an alliance agreed to years ago.  Dany is busy fighting a war though and about to marry to bring peace to her city.  Her dragons are not happy with being caged.

Briane now as another quest despite being hanged in the last book.  Or was she?  No, he can’t be dead!  Will he stay dead?  I have a theory how ColdHands is but need to wait to see.  I want to know how the task Davos was given turns out, despite Davos being officially dead.

This book was 1117 pages but not long enough.  Mr Martin, please finish The Winds of Winter.  I need to know!

HarperVoyager

Supplied by Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

a feast of crowsThe Night Watch has won the battle but is still fighting the war against the Others.   Nothing is said about Jon but we follow Samwell Tarly on a quest, with a mother, a baby, and a 103 yr old blind man.

The country of Dorne was pulled into the plotting for the Iron Throne, with the Martell family plotting for vengeance for their dead.  They have Myrcella as a hostage and according to Dornish law; she inherits the Iron Throne now Joffrey is dead.

Lord Tywin was slain by his son Tyrion, who is fleeing his sister’s wrath.  His brother Jamie shows more honesty and honour than in previous books and he’s more likeable.  Cersei and her schemes are shown in more detail and she’s currently in a silent war over Tommen, the 7yr old boy king, with his wife Margery, whose father is a Lannister ally.

Briane was on a quest to find Sansa, who’s hiding in the Eyrie with Petyr.  Some of his plotting is finally revealed, though I think he’s got a few more schemes up his sleeve.  Arya has left the country and is hiding in Pentos pretending to be someone different.  The war for the North has ended but new rivalries have risen.

I was constantly surprised in this book – she came back from the dead, he was banished, she was killed, who IS he? I was happy that Cersei’s manipulations are finally exposed and she gets what she deserves.  An interesting read, lots of action and unravelling of secrets.  You learn more of the story of the series.

HarperVoyager

Supplied by Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

storm of swords 2The Night Watch is still fighting the Wildlings, who were shown the Wall’s weaknesses by Jon Snow.  Returned to his brothers, Jon is now Lord Commander of the Night Watch and leads his men in defending the Wall from attacks.

Lady Catelyn finally leaves her sons side and lets him concentrate on fighting a war.  Robb has deeply offended one of their allies though, breaking a pact to marry a daughter of theirs in return for support for his war.  Arya has been found by the Hound, who keeps her safe to ransom back to her mother.  Arya still wants him dead for killing her friend though, but bides her time.  Sansa finds an unexpected ally at court, though she still longs for a knight in shining armour to come to her rescue.

Freed by his father’s men, Jamie now rescues Brienne from death in a bear pit and is occupied with furthering Lannister interests.  Joffrey wed his bride and all of Cersei’s schemes seem to be falling into place.  For a short time.  Ha!  Stannis is still gathering support for his bid to reclaim the throne and ignores his advisors.

Daenerys prepares to fight for her city’s survival against the Yunakai forces.  She battles friendly enemies inside the city as well as the foes outside.  Meanwhile the dragons grow.

I did not see the Red Wedding coming and was shocked at the betrayal.  Something was confirmed that I always suspected but I was surprised at the instigator behind it – though it’s obvious now.  Treachery, betrayal, and cold-bloodness feature strongly in this story.  Good characters do bad thing (Stannis), bad characters do good things (the Hound), and characters who do bad things make you like them (Jamie).  You definitely need to read the previous books in order to grasp who is who but book 3 (both parts) is a must read, weighing in at 607 pages.

HarperVoyager

Supplied for Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

storm of swords 1The Night Watch is fighting the Wildlings while its men plot against their brothers.  The Others give them a ferocious battle, which only a few survive.  Jon Snow spends time among the Wildlings, fighting his former brothers after having renounced the vows he made to the Night Watch.

Brianne of Tarth has been tasked by Lady Caitlyn to rescue and release Jamie Lannister, so he will then release her daughters, held hostage by the court.  She doesn’t know that Arya escaped and has fled to find her and Robb, while Sansa ends up forced to wed.  Bran and Rickon have fled the ruins of Winterfell, separated to keep them safe.

Daenerys Targaryan fights a few battles while trying to find a safe place for her children and three dragons.  Stannis is greatly influenced by the Red Priestess and honours her god by giving sacrifices to the flames.

Lots of action, intrigue and adventure, with alliances made and broken and loyalties bought.  The characters are growing and you understand more of their motivations.  Book 3 is split into two books, this is the first and a manageable 623 pages and easy to hold.
HarperVoyager

Supplied for Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

a clash of kings 2The same three stories continue to interweave, with new characters being introduced and the threads growing to include new places/situations. There’s a lot of action happening with lots of battles, fighting, and political manuverings. You need to pay close attention when you read this book as there are so many characters it’s easy to lose track of who’s who and what’s happening.

Beyond the Wall an army is assembling, of Wildlings, shapechangers, giants, and other scary creatures.  Led by Mance Ryder they plan to break through the Wall and conquer the Seven Kingdoms. The Night Watcch are the only things standing between them and the kingdom.

Robb Stark has been crowned King of the North and fights the various armies fighting for Joffrey Baratheon.  Lady Catelyn has joined him, providing advice at the command centre of Robb’s armies.  Arya has disappeared from King’s Landing on the day Ned was executed, joining the latest intake of recruits for the Night Watch.  Sansa is held hostage in the palace, still engaged to Joffrey, the one who ordered her father beheaded.  Theon Greyjoy is the former ward of Ned Stark, trusted as an envoy by Robb.

Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of the Regent Queen, has been made the Hand and chief councillor to the young King Joffrey.  He plots, schemes, punishes traitors, all while avoiding Cersei’s manipulations – she wants him dead.  He also has the best line when leading a charge against Stannis’s men – “What brave men…let’s go kill them”.  Robert’s two brothers, Stannis and Renly, both claim the throne as their own.  Davos is the Onion Knight, a former smuggler loyal to Stannis.

Daenerys Targaryn is the daughter of the king Robert overthrew and is moving slowly to build an army to reclaim her rightful throne.  She has three dragons that are slowly maturing and is learning who to trust and how to outwit those that just want something from her.

I recommend reading TGOT before this, to get the background of the story.  More scheming and a lot of action makes the plot move fast.  I thought it was funny that Robb was fighting a war with his mummy.  We weren’t told where his teddy bear was.  The violence against women was a bit to much, don’t read if you’ve got no paitience for that sort of carry on.  Being 913 pages in paperback form, I found it awkward to hold a book this big, maybe an e book would be easier?

I think a drinking game should be made from the SOIAF series.  Every time a woman is raped, assaulted or violence used against her, a shot should be consumed.

HarperVoyager

Supplied for Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

a game of thronesThe men of the Night Watch guard the giant wall of ice that keeps the kingdom below safe from wildling raiders, outlaws, and scarier things.  They have learnt of the return of the Others, unseen for thousands of years.  The Others are dead men come to life, who can’t be killed by sword or dagger.

The Starks of Winterfell are one of the northern-most families of the kingdom and Lord Eddard Stark is the Warden of the North.  He’s summoned by King Robert, a close friend, to become The Hand Of The King, the second in charge of the throne.  Ned reluctantly travels to King’s Landing to take up the office of the Hand, taking his daughters, Sansa and Arya, to experience life at court.  His sons – Robb, Brandon, and Rickon – remain at Winterfell with their mother, Lady Catelyn.  Jon Snow, Ned’s bastard son, travels to the Wall to join the men of the Night Watch.

Daenerys is the daughter of the mad king who was overthrown when Robert came to power.  Raised in exile along with her brother, they’ve spent years trying to find the support to raise an army to reclaim the throne.  Her brother trades Dany in marriage to a Dothraki khal to get a 50 000 strong army of Dothraki warriors.  Dany gets three petrified dragon’s eggs.

These are the three interconnected storylines that form TGOT.  They are woven together very neatly, with each chapter being told from the perspective of a different character.  I thought Ned was an idiot for warning Cersei he was going to tell – how could he think she’d meekly slink away.  Sansa was a drip, thinking life was like a romantic tale.  By the end she showed some strength, even if it wasn’t sticking a knife in Joffrey’s ribs.  Other characters, like Joffrey and Cersei, need a discreet execution and some others, like Lysa Arryn, need a good smack.  There was a lot of violence, especially toward women, and young girls being considered as adults sexually, which was disturbing.

The book is 790  pages, and very little of that is spent on battles or scenery, or even a resolution to the plot. Instead it’s densely packed with the thoughts, feelings, schemes, and observations of the characters, and you’re unlikely to avoid getting very emotionally entangled to at least one of them. The combination of this with the brutal setting makes you genuinely cheer whenever a sympathetic character finally accomplishes something positive, or groan with dread when another character makes a tragic mistake.  It’s a big book to hold in paperback form and you may find it easier in an e book version.

The tv series was very faithful to the book (and had Sean Bean) and I look forward to the next season (sadly Sean-less).

HarperVoyager

Supplied for Broderick Wells

Reviewed by Jan

Fevre Dream

George RR Martin

Gollancz

Supplied by Hatchette

It is 1875 and Joshua York is a vampire – part of a race that existed long before humans existed and who need to drink fresh blood once a month.  After discovering a harmless way to do this, Joshua wants to become bloodmaster (leader of this society), gather his people and lead them out of hiding to live peacefully with humans.  His main obstacle in this is the current bloodmaster, Damon Julian, ancient, insane, and seriously depraved.

Abner Marsh is a broke Mississippi steamboat owner.  To turn his luck around and regain his business, he accepts an offer of partnership from Joshua York.  He wants the new steamboat, the Fevre Dream to use as a cover when travelling in search of his kind.  Abner knows Joshua is a bit ‘off’ but his love for the river helps suppress his misgivings.

There was a lot of boring (to me) detail about boats and I lost interest.  The story seemed slow-paced and to drag with all the flashbacks.  There wasn’t enough romance for me and it was too much in the horror genre, which is not appealing to me.  If you want light, fluffy, mindless entertainment, this is not the book for you.  If you like historical horror boat vampire stories, try this.