Lazy Saturday Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

icedragonTitle: The Ice Dragon
Author: George RR Martin
Series: N/A
Format: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Details: December 4th 2014 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): Children’s; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads 

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From ancient times the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child — and the ice dragon who loved her — could save her world from utter destruction. 

Review

This is a beautifully illustrated book (Luis Royo) from the Game of Thrones author. It’s a charming, short tale suitable for children and adults alike. I enjoyed it a lot.

Protagonist Adara was both adorable and strong and I loved that she was a sort of Winter princess, and the only one who can help defeat the dragons destroying the land. Full of rich mythology and folklore, this a much more accessible George RR Martin for those like me who are intimidated about starting the GoT books.

The illustrations are what really make this book special, and I think it would make a lovely gift. Especially for Christmas, with its celebration of Winter. Worth a read for sure.

unicorn rating 4

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

A lot of these are for similar reasons! In no particular order…

Harry Potter 

Yes, yes I know. I was tempted to leave this off the list because of the abuse/ ‘omigodyouhaventreadpotter’ reaction it inevitably invokes. But no, I’ve never read any Harry Potter. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made I just never fancied it, and when the films came out I wasn’t that taken with them either.

I have no idea why as the sort of thing I usually like. Maybe i’m just being contrary, I don’t know. But if I haven’t read them by now, I doubt I ever will. So please don’t bother to try and convince me 😉

Game of Thrones

I wish I’d read these before I started to watch the series, but seeing as I didn’t, I doubt I ever will. The books sound pretty epic, but I think I’d find the overly descriptive style and the length of them annoying. I’ll stick with the show, thanks.

Outlander

I’m not as sure about this one. I do really want to read this series but the size of them puts me off. I haven’t watched the TV program yet, but I might just watch it instead. A cop-out I know.

The rest of The Maze Runner books

I made the mistake of watching the film before I read the book. I really liked the film, much more than I was expecting to, and I didn’t like the book much at all, so I think I’ll stick with the films…assuming they continue…

If I Stay/ Gone Girl

I’ll never read either of these for almost the same reason. I saw the film adaptations first and don’t feel the need to read the books. In the case of If I Stay, I was pleasantly surprised by the film and enjoyed it a lot. With Gone Girl…ack..it had its moments but man it was long, and the twist was obvious. I don’t see the point in reading the book now.

Various Classics

There’s a lot of classics I’ll probably never touch. I avoided most of the required reading at school (such a rebel), because I just found a lot of them dull, with a few exceptions. I’m mainly thinking about the Brontes, Austen, and Dickens here. They are obviously great stories, but the style isn’t for me. If I’m reading for pleasure, I want it to be just that!

That’s all I’ve got this week. I look forward to checking out what made everyone else’s lists later. Feel free to leave a link 🙂

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

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Title: Prince of Thorns
Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: The Broken Empire #1
Edition: Paperback, 399 pages
Publication Details: April 12th 2012 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): Dark Fantasy; ‘Grimdark’
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from a friend!

Goodreads
Purchase

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…
It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him–and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

I had such high hopes for this book. Numerous people have told me that I should give Dark Fantasy, or Grimdark – as all the cool kids are calling it – a go. I like action. I like violence and gore, and I’m a fan of Game of Thrones (although I have yet to embark on the books), so it sounds like a match made in Heaven, but unfortunately Prince of Thorns didn’t quite tick all the boxes for me.

Our protagonist is young Prince Jorg, who’s on a mission of debauchery and revenge along with his own band of loyal, marauding brothers. He has two main goals: The throne, and revenge on Count Renar who killed his mother and brother. Both of these goals lead him back to his father’s castle, where he must face the ghosts of his past.

The way in which I was pitched this book was kind of like imagine Joffrey let loose on a kingdom, and I liked the sound of that. We all love to hate characters like Joffrey, right? But I didn’t quite get that with Jorg.

Having a protagonist who rapes and murders for a hobby is always going to be tricky, and a bit of a risk. It’s not even that I always feel like I need to relate to the protagonist, but I need to have some kind of feelings towards them. With Prince of Thorns, it took me too long to find that. I felt like I needed something extra to get myself invested in Jorg’s story. I didn’t even particularly hate him, I just kind of felt sorry for him.

Saying that, I was compelled to keep reading. I liked the flashbacks to Jorg’s earlier life in the castle, and then, once he returned and faced his father, I definitely started getting into the story as I felt I could finally understand him a little. It was here he showed the first signs of fear and vulnerability, and you could finally see him for what he is – a disturbed and scared boy pretending to be a man.

As for the writing and style of this novel, I’m torn. On one hand I loved the epicness of it, but on the other I found it a bit OTT, enough with the metaphors already.

I love the whole medieval-meets-post-apocalyptic world, but at times I found it hard to picture what was going on, probably because it was over-written for my taste, again, the metaphors!

I’m not at all put off by the Grimdark genre though, or by Mark Lawrence. As a debut novel, Prince of Thorns was a ridiculously daring feat, and I look forward to trying his later offerings to compare.

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Prince of Thorns is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #5

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I should have loads to tell you…hmmm…

1. In blog news, I got approved for the Waterstones Affiliate programme, which I was really pleased about. You can get 10% off too so check out my post here.

2. I’m also slowly catching up after being behind on reviews, and ARCs and reading in general. Work life and home life have both been busy which hasn’t left much time for reading and blogging, and the weekend just gone is the only free-ish one I’ll have all this month too. Gah…I’m having lots of fun, but I feel bad when I can’t review ARCs by their release date, don’t you?

3. The weekend before last, I went to Cardiff in Wales for a friend’s Hen party. It was so much fun, and I got to visit a castle, one of my favourite things to do! I was really surprised now nice Cardiff was tbh!

4. This series of Game of Thrones has been so epic, I’m really sad that there’s only two episodes left. TYRIONNNN. I’m totally in love with him. He’s also brilliant in the new X-men which I saw at the weekend. IT’S SO GOOD. I didn’t really rate the last one so I was surprised how awesome it was.

5. I also finally got round to seeing the film adaptation of Vampire Academy. Oh seriously, just no. It was terrible. TERRIBLE. I’d say my disappointment was on par with the Twilight films. THAT BAD. Worse than Divergent. THAT BAD. I mean seriously, look what they did to hot Dimitri:

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6. Another reason why I’ve fallen behind in life is because of the French Open. SO happy for Rafa, who won yesterday! Yayyyyy!

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Yes, I love tennis, and you’ll have to put up with a lot more of me talking about it when Wimbledon starts… other than Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year!!! I just hope Nadal’s knees hold up! Eeeek.

7. I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally want to go on holiday this summer. A cheap but cheerful holiday in Spain or something where I can just lie on a beach, read, drink sangria and eat Tapas for a week. But I have no money. 😥 Anyone want to take me on holiday?

8. Rose plant update: In my last Bookish post I talked about a plant I’d bought. I’m not sure how to look after plants, or anything, so I thought I’d try and see how long I can keep it alive. 3 weeks on and it looks pretty good.

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Woooo. I like how when the rose petals start to die, they go purple. Pretty. Maybe I’m ready for a pet??

9. Lastly, I’m waiting for The Great British Bake Off to start…seriously, why isn’t it on yet!!! It’s not summer until I can laugh at someone’s soggy bottom.

Bookish (and not to bookish) Thoughts #3

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

1. Easter Funtimes: Did everyone have a good Easter? I did! I drank too much, ate too much, watched a lot films and generally just lazed about. I really enjoy not being at work.

2. Locke: On Friday I went to the cinema to see Locke. It is basically Tom Hardy driving a car, talking on the phone and being angry and sad for about 90 minutes. Hot! It’s not the kind of film you’d watch more than once, but I enjoyed it. Obviously! Also, I NEED this in my life:
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3. Books Bound in Human Skin: How creepy/cool is this guardian article? The macabre art of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a bit of a mouthful, also, a good pretentious band name.

4. Search Terms Advice Column: I found some really awesome new blogs last week and this one had me stitches. I’ve posted about hilarious search terms before but Captain Awkward takes it one step further.

5. Fancy Dress: So I went to a friend’s baby shower last weekend, which was Disney themed. It was a lot of fun, but the idea of having to get a costume together was a bit of an annoyance. I used to love fancy dress, and would go all out. For an 80s birthday party one year I dressed as a giant rubix cube. I couldn’t pee all night, and people kept leaving drinks on me (winning!). So I don’t really know where my new-found hatred of fancy dress has come from. Has it happened? Am I old and grumpy now?

6. OMG GoT! I try not to give away any spoilers about anything so all I can say is episode 2 of Game of Thrones…SRSLY O.M.G!

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #2

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

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1. Divergent

At some point this week I will be watching Divergent. I can’t wait to be able to rant about it! Last Saturday I walked through Leicester square and they had it all set up for the UK Premiere the following day, and I must admit seeing all the faction flags was pretty exciting.

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I did have a chuckle at all the kids who were already queuing up (overnight!) to get a good view of the red carpet. I had to text Di about it, apologies for the ‘freaks’ comment…all in jest I assure you (I was secretly really jealous, obvs)!

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And while we’re on the subject, the awesome Di has an amazing rant some thoughts on Insurgent which I’ll hopefully steal off her for a guest post. Watch this space.

2. We like Graves

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This is turning into a bit of a Dianne Tanner special, but this weekend just gone, Di and I had a lovely time wandering round Nunhead Cemetery, taking photos, looking for Narnia, and generally enjoying the spring-time sun.

Check out her photography blog, Icefloe which will feature much better Nunhead photos than these at some point.

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3. Crazy Golf is best with Dinosaurs

I had a work outing on friday to Jurassic Golf which is so much fun, despite them playing the Jurassic Park Theme Tune ON REPEAT. I’ve been humming it all weekend. Also, I didn’t lose for once, and my team came in second place (OK so there were only 3 teams). I also bet on the Grand National and came 2nd with Balthazar King. I’m waiting for my dad to let me know how much I won…maybe even a whole five pounds!

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4. ❤ Patrick Ness' Twilight Tweet-Along!

Patrick Ness had me in creases last week as he read Twilight and tweeted about it. I like that his tweets were hilarious, but not derogatory or patronising. He made it clear that any book that has been that successful deserves respect.

Here were some of my favourites:

Seriously, they are all gold! Go and read them all and behold the joy!

5. Fail

Regular readers or Goodreads followers may have noticed that I started Marcus Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood. I was really intrigued to see what his first adult book would be like but I had so any ARC deadlines at that time and I fell behind. I did start it, but I only read about 5 pages and really couldn’t get into to it. Plus, I was desperate to get to Vampire Academy 2 which had just arrived in the post. So when A Love Like Blood was archived in NetGalley just a few days after the release date I decided to just scrap it. :s Hopefully, I’ll give it another go sometime!

6. Game of Thrones

GoT!!! That is all!!!

7. M’s the word

The ‘m’ on my laptop keyboard is buggered I have to hold it down and show it soe love before the M actually works, see! MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Danit. So if you see soe missing mmmmm’s, please fill in the blanks. Why thanks.

Have a good week everyone.