June 27, 2012

The Best Book I Read in June

A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this....
Me: So I'm reading A Storm of Swords [the third book in the Game of Thrones series] and It. Is. Crazy.
Justin: I know, right? I told you to read that months ago, silly wife.  
Me: Yeah, well, this book is INSANE. There are characters dying left and right. Nobody is safe! Nobody! 
And then, Justin said something that warrants proper illustration: 




INDEED!

My husband speaks the truth!

So, yes, the best book I read in June was A Storm of Swords by George "Honeybadger" Martin. I can sum up this weighty novel in a handful of words:
Craziness. Death. Badassery. Oh no, he didn't! MOAR death. Wow.
Usually, I have a hard time getting into adult fantasy novels but this one totally sucked me in. Everywhere I went, I tried to sneak in a few more pages of the book: checking out at the grocery store, waiting for a movie to start, reading way past my bedtime. How did Martin craft such a great book?!

First, the constant shift in POV. Each chapter of this series is narrated by a different character, so the plot is always shifting, keeping you on your toes. Plus, if you find a particular storyline boring, no worries! In a few pages, you'll switch to someone's else perspective.

Second, George R.R. Martin has NO FEAR as a writer. He wants to tell a great story first and foremost so he's not afraid to make his characters suffer or introduce crazy plot twists. Or, you know, kill off major people. As a reader, this keeps you teetering at the edge of your seat, unsure what Honeybadger George will do next.

And third, the characters. Oh, Martin is superb at characterization! Every character is expertly crafted, expertly honed. Sansa, for instance, starts off in Book 1 as a spoiled, semi-bratty girl but she has developed into one of my favorite characters.

Can we talk about the Lannisters too? Cunning, ruthless, even incestuous. But somehow Martin manages to make us feel for them, which is crazy because I don't want to feel anything but disgust for Cersei and Jaime. They're awful creatures! But then Martin shows us Cersei's fierce love for her children and Jaime's experiences as a young knight and...lo and behold...maybe I do feel bad for them. (Just a little.)

Anyway, I am now reading the fourth book in the series and liking it a lot so far. Here's to hoping it's as good as the third!

So what are you reading now? Any recommendations? And be sure to check YA Highway for our "Best Book in June" blog posts! 

14 comments:

  1. I'm currently reading EVE AND ADAM by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant. Thank you BEA for the advanced copy!

    Hi Caroline I'm stopping by through Road Trip Wed at YAHighway. I read and really enjoyed George RR Martin's first book, Game of Thrones but I had trouble with it so I haven't picked up the rest of the series. Worth it?

    I also posted RTW - 3 books!! I couldn't decide what I liked best. LOL!

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    1. Hi Rachel! *Waves*

      Thanks so much for stopping by! And I'm so envious that you got to go to BEA--I've heard it is so much fun!

      Can I tell you a little secret? I actually skipped the first two Game of Thrones books! Blasphemy, right? Haha.

      But I love the show so I figured I could skip the first book but then I couldn't quite get into the second novel of the series. So I started reading the third book and it totally sucked me in! If you wanted to give it another try, maybe just watch the show and read the third book?

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  2. My husband has read the series, and he keeps insisting that I should read it. I'm totally hooked on the show, so he's probably right. I guess I'm just concerned about the commitment level (those things are massive!) when there are so many other books I want to read. I suppose it won't take long to read them if I end up devouring them, right? :)

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    1. Hi Jaime!

      I loooove the show too! It's great to meet another fan of the series!

      Haha, I felt the same way you did before I started reading the books. I mean, that's HOURS of my time dedicated to each novel! But I'm glad I've gotten into the series because Martin does such a great job with characterization and plotting. Hopefully, my own books will be better because of his example!

      That's pretty cheesy, isn't it? Haha.

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  3. I finished the first season of HBO's take on Game of Thrones; curious about the books, but I'm also a hard sell on adult fantasy. I love when a book can take an awful character and make the reader sympathize with them.

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    1. I'd give the books a try if you could get them from the library! I had a hard time getting into the second novel but I simply couldn't put down the third.

      And yay for the show! It's probably my favorite TV program right now. :)

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  4. My roommate is crazy for these books! I haven't read any of them (yet), but it takes some serious guts to just start killing EVERYONE. Definitely admire that.

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    1. Yeah, I love the fearlessness George R.R. Martin has in killing off big characters! It definitely keeps the books fresh because you know that no one is safe. I don't think the books are for everyone (they can be pretty dense) but I'm a fan!

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  5. I need to read these still, but I'm all over the show. I'm actually super curious about Sansa because I keep hearing that she becomes an amazing character, but I just don't like her that much on the show. Haha.

    And I totally agree with Justin about GRRM, and I haven't even read the books. But I've heard about his honeybadger ways, and I mean, the show is a pretty good indication of that too. :P

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    1. Oh, yaaay! Why haven't we talked about our deep love of Game of Thrones before? I LOVE the show! It made me look forward to Sunday night.

      Sansa has really grown on me! I kind of hated her during the first season but I just felt so bad for her in Season 2 and in Book 3. Granted, I still prefer Arya when it comes to the Stark sisters (because Arya is awesome!) but Sansa has a great character arc in the series.

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    2. Lol, yes! My sister and I would get all excited every Sunday night to watch (though we're still into Sunday nights because True Blood is back on, hah).

      Yeah, I kinda hated Sansa during S1 but mostly felt bad for her in S2 because I mean, Joffrey. -__-' I feel bad for anyone who has to be around him. But yes, I'm curious to see how she changes and grows. I just think this story would be more interesting (and maybe less frustrating?) in the book format - because in the show, all you get is Sansa's external reactions and behaviors, but I feel like in the books, you'd get her internal life - her thoughts and rationalizations.

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  6. I have A GAME OF THRONES sitting on my desk awaiting my attention. I got it because I'm curious. Martin is hailed by some as the modern master of fantasy--like the new Tolkien or something. Anyway, I want to see what all the fuss is about. And no, I'm not going to watch the TV series without having read the book. Sorry, I'm just like that.

    After your review of Book 3, Caroline--and, btw, you did an EXCELLENT job of selling the third book in a series without giving away any spoilers about any of the other books--I'm hoping Book 1 is as good. I'd like to think I'll read the rest afterward. :)

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  7. I've had Game of Thrones sitting on my shelf for a couple months now. I should probably move it to the top of the pile, shouldn't I?

    I really want to start watching the show because I hear a lot of people talking about it but, like Colin, I can't start without reading the book first.

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  8. I Love those books! Such a wonderful, sweeping story and so addictive! I've just started FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS which I am loving.

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