A song of Pain and Ire
Reading with Rachel
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 18:09
Ever since exiting high school, I’ve struggled to find a series of books I can really get into. I’m a bit too old to have any interest in what my local Barnes and Noble dubbed the “Teen Paranormal Romance” genre, which mostly consists of “Twilight” knock offs that feature werewolves, angels, aliens and more to prove that while it’s not actually “Twilight,” it’s enough like it that tween readers everywhere should definitely buy it!
On the other hand, it seems like other fiction books geared toward an older audience consist of authors like Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks, who turn out book after book in an assembly line fashion that, while the characters and general circumstances change with each novel, are basically the same book repackaged for a mere $14.99.
That’s why it was with great skepticism that I first picked up George R.R. Martin’s first installment of his A Song of Ice and Fire series, “A Game of Thrones.” After being repeatedly assured by a friend that it was epic, commanding and emotionally devastating, I took a deep breath and dove headfirst into the 835-page novel.
My friend was absolutely right on all counts. The book starts off with a bang, introducing a type of character called “white walkers,” which made me suspicious that my friend had tricked me into reading a zombie novel and the next six hours of my life would be spent reading about the impending doom of the zombie apocalypse (not to be negative toward zombie novels, but they seem to be everywhere lately and there are only so many readers can handle at once).
Anyway, the book quickly moves away from the white walkers and turns the readers’ attention toward the fictional kingdom of Westeros and the power struggles that take place within and outside of the kingdom.
This is where things get a bit confusing. The narrator changes with every chapter, switching between various members of noble families, such as the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens. While the writing style effectively captures the viewpoints of each family and the challenges posed in different parts of Martin’s universe, it always seems that just when I got into the plot line and narration, the chapter ended and it switched to someone else.
Although the point of view was constantly switching, I did manage to get attached to several of the characters (and maintain a serious level of disdain for others). It is a challenge trying to figure out who the main character is, and I was extremely proud of myself for supposedly figuring it out…until he summarily died toward the end.